5. GHG Reductions and Carbon Compensation

5. GHG Reductions and Carbon Compensation

This of course is the moment – after you’ve made your pre-event GHG assessments and worked out what and how you’ll measure your event’s GHGs, you then need to put a plan in place to do something about all those GHGs to get to Carbon Neutrality.

There are several approaches you can take:

  • Take direct action in ‘real time’ during your event’s lifecycle to reduce GHGs from the pre-event predicted ‘business as usual’ status.
  • Taking direct action through internal reinvestment in GHG reducing technologies or techniques, which will achieve ongoing reductions
  • Purchasing carbon offsets (carbon credits) from existing programs.
  • Creating verified carbon reducing projects, which can be specifically aligned to  your event’s GHG inventory

Again we can draw on existing standards and protocols, to direct us on the correct approach.

Event-Based Reductions

Once the boundary of activities and timing is established, and the GHG sources identified, your initial event plan can then be reworked to incorporate actions and decisions which will achieve GHG reductions.

This will actually also fulfill a requirement of PAS 2060 – to produce a Carbon Management Plan.

This process will allow you to actually put costs against your Carbon Neutral intentions – to determine what the likely residual GHG emissions will be, and what the cost per tonne will be to compensate for them, through either carbon offsetting or investing in GHG reducing legacy projects.

Legacy Initiatives

It is acceptable for an event to invest in ongoing projects which have ongoing GHG-saving outcomes, and to have these savings prescribed to the event’s carbon neutrality calculations. These projects would be acceptable to include as carbon compensation if they meet the additionality requirements of verified emissions reductions (see below).

An example would be where an event installs a solar array on a community venue that it uses as an event site. The venue operates all year and makes GHG savings through no longer drawing mains power from the grid, which is using non-renewable power supply. The year-round GHG emissions savings due to this solar array investment, could be attributable to the event’s GHG compensation and neutrality calculations.

Carbon Offsetting

Offsetting works, in simple terms by awarded ‘carbon credits’ to projects which have been certified to be GHG-reducing. For every tonne of GHGs determined to be avoided through the projects, a tonne’s worth of GHG ‘credits’ are sold and purchased by an organisation wishing to offset it’s unavoidable GHG emissions – effectively neutralising them.

A carbon credit represents the removal of one tonne of carbon dioxide, or its greenhouse gas equivalent, from the environment. Carbon offset schemes set a price on the amount it costs to mitigate the harm from emissions. These vary from scheme to scheme according to how the carbon credits are traded. Trading is subject to the influence of supply and demand economics.

Verified Carbon Offset Projects

Verified Emissions Reductions (VERs) are the cornerstone of the voluntary carbon offset market. Verified projects in the voluntary offset market often also have strong sustainable development benefits, improving the quality of life for local communities as well as reducing GHG emissions. These projects have climate, community and biodiversity in mind. They ensure that the economic and social benefits of the GHG emissions reducing projects are transferred back to the communities involved in the projects. There are several verifiers of offset projects which sell their carbon credits to the voluntary market. Examples are

 

Next: Achieving Carbon Neutrality