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Is carbon offsetting really a sustainable net-zero solution?

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on Sustainability or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: Carbon offsetting, a strategy for achieving sustainability goals, involves companies buying carbon credits to fund projects that compensate for their own carbon emissions
• This approach is increasingly scrutinized for its effectiveness and potential role in greenwashing.

🔭 The context: There are three main types of offsetting projects: carbon removal, avoidance, and reduction  
• Despite over 25,000 carbon projects, critics argue that the impact of carbon credits is minor compared to the global need for emission reduction.

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: The debate centers on whether carbon offsetting truly contributes to environmental sustainability or merely allows companies to continue harmful emissions under a guise of green initiatives  
• Recent developments, like Carbon Trust's decision to stop awarding 'carbon neutral' labels based solely on offsetting, reflect growing skepticism

⏭️ What's next: The future of carbon offsetting in net-zero strategies is uncertain. Companies are being urged to focus on direct emission reductions and transparent, effective offsetting practices
• The shift by companies like Alphabet and JetBlue towards more direct sustainability measures indicates a potential change in how businesses approach carbon neutrality.

💬 One quote: “Becoming a leader in carbon offsets seems like a natural step forward [for Alphabet]. I think our proposal was a wake up call for Alphabet," said Green Century Funds Shareholder Advocate, Andrea Ranger

📈 One stat: A report found that buyers of carbon credits were 1.8 times more likely to be pursuing decarbonization goals, suggesting a correlation between offsetting and proactive emission reduction efforts

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