History of carbon offsetting

The idea that we could effectively cancel out our own greenhouse gas emissions by paying for projects that reduce greenhouse gasses overall was first born in the early years of climate change discussion and has had a rocky journey to effectiveness. 

Carbon offsetting ran into problems in its early days as many carbon offsetting programs - though well intentioned – came up short or proved themselves unreliable as the voluntary offset market is largely unregulated.

However, carbon offsetting has advanced in the years since its earliest stumbles and today there are a number of leading carbon offset vendors that have been validated and verified for their effectiveness and transparency by reputable third party organizations. Today, carbon offsetting is a viable way to help combat climate change for travellers, as long as you do your due diligence.

Carbon offset programs

If you’re looking to offset your carbon footprint for an upcoming or previous travel experience, The TreadRight Foundation recommends the following organizations:

Conservation International Carbon Fund: Conservation International’s Carbon Fund invests in sustainable landscapes that help combat climate change by reducing deforestation and conserving critical ecosystem services — the services we need to grow and prosper as a society. These include food and timber, as well as clean water, livable climates, recreation and renewable forms of energy.

myclimate: myclimate is a partner for effective climate protection – both locally and globally. The Swiss Non-Profit Organisation wants to shape the future together with its partners through consultation, education and climate protection projects. myclimate pursues this as a science-based and business-orientated non-profit organisation.

The Nature Conservancy:  Contributions to The Nature Conservancy’s carbon offset program help fund forest conservation, improved forest management or reforestation projects that produce measurable climate benefits. Projects in this program help reduce or slow climate change and protect habitats and the natural services they provide.

Rainforest Concern – Forest CreditsForest Credits is an initiative of Rainforest Concern set up to enable individuals and businesses to acknowledge and address their impact on the environment by using the unique power of forests to lock up carbon while also delivering biodiversity and local community benefits.