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Carbon credits can boost economic development and conservation



New research has valued the benefits of carbon offsetting at $664 (£403) per tonne, judging the positive impacts on communities where carbon reduction projects take place. As a result, researchers say businesses have an opportunity to use the voluntary carbon market in their sustainability strategies.

The research – Unlocking the hidden value of carbon offsetting – was carried out by the Imperial College London in partnership with the International Carbon Reduction and Offsetting Alliance (ICROA).

The researchers noted that the amount of carbon reduced by such projects has been rigorously measured for many years, but the other impacts and value of carbon offsetting programmes beyond reducing emissions had previously been ignored.

For each tonne of carbon, the research finds that other benefits, such as poverty alleviation, infrastructure development and nature conservation, are worth $664 (£403). This means that businesses that are voluntarily cutting their emissions are having a bigger impact on society than previously thought.

The environment benefits the most, accounting for $609 (£370), followed by $56 (£34) coming from skills and jobs and $52 (£31) from fuel savings. The remaining $3 (£1.82) is categorised as economic benefit.

Business taking proactive action to cut their emissions also benefit because it enhances their brand image, improves engagement with employees and makes them stand out in the market, the study adds.

Sophy Greenhalgh, ICROA programme director, said, “The voluntary carbon market is a smart opportunity for businesses to consider as part of their sustainability strategies.

“This research demonstrates offset programmes deliver numerous business objectives, such as employee engagement and resource efficiency savings, and make a positive contribution to local communities in addition to reducing emissions.”

Photo: Emilian Robert Vicol via flickr 

Further reading:

Don’t be fooled; voluntary carbon credits are not investments

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