Carbon offsets

Carbon offsets pay for projects that reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Are they all equal?
 
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  • Updated:16 Sep 2008
 

02.Ratings

Carbon offset offers
Retailer (in order of Carbon Offset Watch ranking)
Accreditation scheme*
Price ($ per tonne of carbon)*
Main offset types*
Project locations*
Organisation type*
Outstanding
Climate Friendly
climatefriendly.com
CDM, GS, VCS, GreenPower, VER+
$40 (GS), $25 (VCS)
RE
Australia, China, India, New Zealand, Turkey
For profit
Cleaner Climate
cleanerclimate.com.au
CDM, VCS (B)
$25
EE, M, RE
China, India
For profit
Climate Positive (A)
climatepositive.org
GF, GGAS, VCS, RECs
$25
M, RE
Australia, China
Not for profit
Southern Metropolitan Regional Council (A)
smrc.com.au
GF
NA
M
Australia
Local government authority
Carbon Reduction Institute
noco2.com.au
GF, VER+
$18
EE, RE
Various including Australia, New Zealand
For profit
Good
Fieldforce Services
fieldforce.net.au
GGAS, GF
$8.75 to $20
EE
Australia
For profit
Neco
neco.com.au
GF, GGAS, RECs
$15 to $19
EE, F, RE
Various including Australia
For profit
Coolplanet
coolplanet.com.au
GGAS, GF, CDM, VER+, RECs
$14 to $20
EE, M, RE
Various including Australia, Brazil, North America, Russia
For profit
Australian CO2 Exchange trading as Ark Climate
arkclimate.com.au
GGAS, RECs, VCS
$9 to $52
F, RE
Various including Australia
For profit
Carbon Planet (A) (B) (C) (D)
carbonplanet.com.au
GGAS, GS, GF, RECs, VER+
$25
EE, RE, F
Various including Australia, New Zealand
For profit
Green Pass Australia
greenpass.com.au
GGAS
$15 to $20
M
Australia
For profit
Low Energy Supplies and Services (LESS) (A)
lowenergy.com.au
GGAS, GF
$6 to $20
EE
Australia
For profit
Greenpig
greenpig.com.au
GGAS, GF (C)
$18
M
Australia
For profit
AGL Energy
agl.com.au
GGAS, GF
$9 to $11.50
M
Australia
For profit
Enviro Friendly Products (A)
enviro-friendly.com
GGAS
$19.95
EE, F
Australia
For profit
Origin Energy Limited (A)
originenergy.com.au
GS, RECs, VCS, VER+, Origin accredited offsets (verified by a third party)
$9 to $25
EE, F, M, RE
Various including Australia
For profit
Landcare CarbonSMART
carbonsmart.com.au
GGAS
$25
F
Various including Australia
Not for profit
Adequate
CO2 Australia
co2australia.com.au
GGAS, GF
$16
F
Australia
For profit
Cozero
cozero.com.au
CDM, VCS (D)
$15.95
RE
China
For profit
Global Carbon Exchange (A)
globalcarbonexchange.com
CDM, GGAS, GF, VCS
$25 (E)
EE, F, RE
Australia and various developing countries
For profit

Source: Rankings by Carbon Offset Watch based on offsets available in the six months to April 2008.

* Other information, including the accreditation schemes, was confirmed with the retailers by CHOICE in August/September 2008, and may be different to the information used for Carbon Offset Watch rankings. Prices fluctuate and often depend on the volume and type of offsets bought. CHOICE asked retailers to confirm their prices in late August 2008. NA means a price was not available.

Table notes

  • (A) These companies achieved the same score as the company immediately above them in the table.
  • (B) The company can supply Gold Standard, but says it's usually too expensive for voluntary offsets.
  • (C) VERs are available upon request, including offsets from EE, M and RE.
  • (D) The company also sells GreenPower, we only give the price for other carbon offsets.
  • (E) Minimum purchase is five tonnes.

Using the table

Outstanding Scored well in most categories and sold a high proportion of offsets that are accredited against high scoring standards, such as the Clean Development Mechanism, Gold Standard, VCS and Greenhouse Friendly. These retailers also sold a high proportion of offsets from projects that change or prevent the underlying activities that cause GHGs, such as energy efficiency, renewable energy and diverting waste from landfill. There’s a very high likelihood that purchased offsets will deliver real additional greenhouse gas reductions (assuming the changes we want to national regulations are made).

Good Scored well in most categories, but in the assessment period sold a proportion of offsets that are accredited under lower scoring schemes and standards (GGAS and MRET). High likelihood that purchased offsets will deliver real additional greenhouse gas reductions.

Adequate Retailers in this category scored well in most categories, but during the assessment period sold a high proportion of offsets that are accredited under lower scoring standards such as GGAS and MRET, and/or sold a high proportion of offsets that don’t prevent the underlying activities that cause GHG emissions. For example, tree-planting offsets.

Accredition schemes

  • CDM Clean Development Mechanism.
  • GS Gold Standard.
  • VCS Voluntary Carbon Standard.
  • GGAS Greenhouse Gas Abatement Scheme.
  • GF Greenhouse Friendly.
  • VER+ Verified Emission Reductions.
  • RECs Renewable energy certificates.

Offset types

  • EE Energy efficiency, including demand-side abatement.
  • F Forestry.
  • M Methane capture.
  • RE Renewable energy.
 

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