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Blog > Should Your Ontario Business Purchase Carbon Offsets?

Should Your Ontario Business Purchase Carbon Offsets?

November 13, 2020 by VCT Group

Governments, businesses, and individuals can buy and trade carbon offsets as an easy way to meet emission reduction targets. Similarly, they can pay third party energy producers to “inject” the same amount of renewable energy into the power grid that they consume from traditional power. However, these practices fail to address the root of the problem, and ultimately increase costs.  

Carbon offsetting is a way to “cancel out” emissions. They allow emitters to fund greenhouse gas reduction efforts and projects through the efforts of 3rd parties. 

Carbon offsets are generated by:

  • Planting trees or other natural air purifying efforts
  • Emission capturing projects, such as trapping methane from landfills before it reaches the atmosphere
  • Clean energy development projects

If a business produces 1 tonne of carbon, they can pay a 3rd party or carbon offset provider to plant the equivalent number of trees to offset that 1 tonne of carbon. This takes credit for the offset action and attempts to “cancel out” the carbon created.

Some 3rd party green energy generators offer services that produce the same amount of renewable energy into the grid that your business consumes from traditional power sources. These allow you to maintain your relationship with your energy provider, and the 3rd party sends you a separate invoice for the cost of the energy offsets.

However, these strategies fail to address the root of the problem, being that 1 tonne of carbon was still emitted into the atmosphere. Further, the offset or energy matching expenses increase the cost to the business. 

While we advocate for having a price on carbon, there is a superior way to handle this.  Installing a solar PV system to produce your own energy can often lower your energy costs at the same time as reducing your emissions to meet reduction targets. There is no need to increase your costs and play catch up with carbon offset purchasing.  Investing in a solar PV system can also add value to your property, and be an attractive feature that becomes a visible expression of your values. 

Contact VCT Group today to discuss how we can help your Ontario business reach your emission reduction targets and reduce your energy costs.