Together, Ticking CO2 Off

Offsetting the debate
      Offsetting the debate
There has been much debate about the concept of offsetting. Some believe that offsetting could act as a deterrent to active reduction of emissions. We believe that if offsetting is done through the MERCI approach it could be quite the opposite. The uniqueness of MERCI is that it advocates exercising Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as one of its main elements.
CSR includes sustainable practices and social development. It also prioritises reduction as the first step after calculations of emissions. Most importantly it incorporates offsetting within a full commitment of going carbon neutral. Unlike other service providers we do not say just offset, we ask for a pledge of working toward releasing our carbon debt and becoming 'carbon free'.
The focus of our offsetting activity is our H&H campaign. This carries the concept of additionally meaning that we don’t just buy carbon credits and sell it on as most offset providers do. We generate new projects all the time: Projects that benefit Humans and their Habitats. Therefore offsetting becomes an integral part of the process and will actually act as an incitement to reduction of emissions as it makes business sense to do so.
If a business chooses to pay to offset and not pay appropriate attention to our guidelines and the support we provide for energy reductions, they would suffer a double loss as they would have to pay for both excessive energy usage and excessive offsetting costs. We think there are not many successful businesses that lack this judgment. However if there were such businesses, wouldn’t the environment be better off if they paid to offset?

Below are some of the main points about offsetting as

Pros and cons of carbon offsetting

The pros:

  • Carbon offsets will help reduce your carbon footprint and inject finance into creating more energy efficient projects.

  • Offset projects aimed at preserving and regenerating the rainforest will help to absorb the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, preserve biodiversity, stabilise the world's temperature and weather patterns, reduce soil erosion and create sustainable income to the poor people living in the rainforests.

  • Carbon offsets will also reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the environment by creating more energy from wind, solar, biogas and other clean, alternative forms.

The cons:

  • Some people may feel that it’s okay to pollute if they simply compensate for their actions by buying carbon credits. This could lead to excessive emissions being produced.

  • It may be perceived that global warming will be solved by carbon offsets alone. This is not the case.

  • The industry is not yet fully regulated and therefore can lead to foul play on part of some providers and as such the loss of confidence in the concept of offsetting and the industry as a whole.