The rush is on for Australian business, big and small, to go ‘carbon neutral’ but how do you know for sure the money we pass on to a carbon credit agency is spent wisely?
It’s funny, we’ve spent the last week researching Australian business’ need to have a regulator or at least a common standard for verifying carbon credit programs and then what happens, Origin Energy takes the lead by announcing their new Carbon Reduction Scheme.
Under this scheme, Origin acts as an adviser and broker for businesses who want offset their carbon emissions but are not sure yet how to.
Origin’s Managing Director Grant King told ABC’s The World Today:
We’ve been concentrating on that accessibility issue, that is – how can we create a scheme that not only can we access, but all of our customers access.
Already The National Australia Bank, Transurban, AFL, Lend Lease, Insurance Australian Group, STA Travel and Intrepid Travel have signed up with Origin’s scheme.
Origin’s is a good idea because businesses need all the help they can get in such a fast growing and confusing offsets market.
Origin promises to verify business’ carbon credit programs, that is make sure money spent on carbon credits actually goes to projects which will negate their carbon emissions. They do this by acting as a ‘middleman’ passing credits to overseas programs that already ‘check out’.
Unfortunately Origin hasn’t yet announced how exactly it will ‘check out’ or verify carbon credit schemes. We’ll keep you posted when an announcement will be made.
By email, we’ve asked Origin:
From what we understand from reports most carbon offsets will be sourced from abatement activities overseas. So we asked:
AGL however, earlier this week answered our questions when they signed into the legally binding, yes, legally binding Chicago Climate Exchange.
So far in Australia there isn’t a government or private body that properly verifies carbon credit spending so businesses who want to enter a carbon credit program do so blindly.
It’s interesting industry is taking the lead while the Federal Government waits.
To find out more on carbon offsets, check these sites.
Wikipedia’s backgrounder is excellent. Not only does Wikipedia explain the basics but it also fills you in on the many controversies around carbon offsets.
And finally, the UK’s Telegraph tells the sad, but indicative story of how British rock group, Coldplay offset the emissions from recording an album by planting mango trees in Southern India only to find out the trees died two years later because of the region’s bad soil.