1. What is carbon offsetting?
Offsetting is the mechanism through which organisations can take responsibility for carbon emissions generated by their business activities, that are difficult or impossible to avoid. It operates like a seesaw, with our carbon emissions balanced by equivalent emissions reductions delivered by projects in the developing world. We are monitoring and calculating the emissions associated with all the stays booked through our platform, which includes our guests’ flights and also the household emissions during the stays themselves. Once we have the total carbon footprint, we then work with ClimateCare to fund projects around the globe to compensate for this with an equivalent amount of emissions reductions. This balances the global carbon emissions and provides a key source of finance for these projects, which are improving lives alongside cutting carbon.
2. How does offsetting help reduce the threat of climate change?
As one of the most serious threats facing global society, we all need to make every effort to reduce our carbon footprint as much as we can, and we should offset the emissions we can’t reduce.
Offsetting tackles climate change by:
(i) making real reductions in amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere that would not have happened otherwise;
(ii) providing funds for renewable technologies and energy efficient solutions; and,
(iii) raising awareness of the impact that our lifestyles have on the climate, encouraging us to do more to reduce our carbon footprint.
3. How is Smarter offsetting emissions?
We work with our expert partner ClimateCare, to choose robust, high-quality projects that deliver emission reductions alongside sustainable development impacts. Many of these projects are currently in the developing world. This is because until January 2021, the Kyoto Protocol dictated the locations of carbon reduction projects. This has now changed, giving scope for us to support projects in a wider range of locations in future.
4. How is your offset programme verified to meet industry standards?
Our projects follow the same robust process of design, monitoring and independent verification set down by the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). They also meet a recognised international standard for emission reductions. ClimateCare develops projects to comply with the CDM, Gold Standard and Verified Carbon Standard. Their work has played an important role in the development of the voluntary carbon market and their project principles have widely influenced the debate about what counts as a valid carbon offset. ClimateCare continually campaigns for high standards in the industry.
5. What will the money be used for?
The money spent to offset emissions from stays booked through Smarter will support a portfolio of projects around the world that cut global carbon emissions. These projects include, among others, Gyapa clean cookstoves in Ghana and wind farms in India.
The Gyapa stove project, for example, makes and sells locally-produced efficient cookstoves which cut emissions, reduce exposure to toxic fumes and decrease fuel bills. The funding from carbon credits supports multiple facets of the project’s operation and expansion, and has recently been used for marketing, quality control and building a new manufacturing facility.
All the projects are certified to the highest possible standards within the carbon market to ensure that the emissions reductions are real and verified.
6. How can we be sure that your projects are making the CO2 reductions?
Our projects follow the same robust process of design, monitoring and independent verification set down by the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism. This means that carbon reductions are measured against a baseline and independently verified by an international standard for emission reductions.
7. What impact do the projects you support have on local communities?
All of the projects we support consult with local stakeholders before the project is implemented and get feedback from local communities about how the project is impacting them on an ongoing basis. In the great majority of projects, local communities are instrumental in running the project. In addition, ClimateCare is an award-winning project developer and ensures that high standards for project implementation are maintained on the ground. They monitor all of the projects they work with, to make sure that the project is benefiting local communities.
8. Can you tell us more about your partner ClimateCare?
ClimateCare is the UK’s leading carbon offset provider. A Profit with Purpose B Corp, it works with forward- thinking organisations like ours, to help turn climate responsibilities into positive outcomes for people and the environment, ClimateCare delivers high impact, Climate+Care programmes to tackle poverty, improve health, and protect the environment, and have more than 20 years’ experience as a leader in the global carbon markets and climate change sector. ClimateCare also advises on a range of climate change mitigation and adaptation subjects, from large scale implementation to national climate change policies.