10 Best Carbon Avoidance Offsets (Complete 2024 List)

10 Best Carbon Avoidance Offsets (Complete 2024 List)

By
Grace Smoot

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Carbon avoidance practices are a proactive way of preventing carbon dioxide (CO2) from entering our atmosphere. Partnered with carbon offsets, carbon avoidance could play a crucial role in mitigating climate change. So, we had to ask: what are the best carbon avoidance offsets?

The best carbon avoidance offsets are offered by Terrapass, Native Energy, Carbonfund, and Ecologi which offer REDD+, waste management, energy efficiency, and certain types of agricultural offsets. In addition, REDD.plus, CoreZero, and Del Agua specialize in specific types of avoidance offsets.

Keep reading to learn more about the best carbon offsets for carbon avoidance, how these carbon offset projects work, what their respective offsetting costs are, and what your best way would be to offset your carbon emissions. At the end of the article, we’ll also share with you what the biggest carbon offsetting limitations are and why reducing your carbon footprint is more effective than offsetting it.

Here’s What All the Best Carbon Avoidance Offsets Have in Common

Carbon offsets are reductions in carbon emissions that are used to compensate for carbon emissions occurring elsewhere. They are measured in tons of CO2 equivalents and are bought and sold through international brokers, online retailers, and trading platforms on what is known as the global carbon offset market.

Carbon offset: a way for a company or person to reduce the level of carbon dioxide for which they are responsible by paying money to a company that works to reduce the total amount produced in the world, for example by planting trees”

Oxford Dictionary

Carbon avoidance is the prevention of future carbon emissions via particular carbon offsets or via direct carbon reduction measures. It is one form of carbon reduction

Avoidance: not doing something; preventing something from existing or happening”

Oxford Dictionary

Carbon offsets that are commonly classified as carbon avoidance measures include:

Purchasing carbon avoidance offsets funds carbon emission reduction projects that prevent CO2 from entering the atmosphere. It is a proactive, rather than a reactive, way of dealing with carbon emissions. 

These Are the 10 Best Carbon Avoidance Offsets in 2024

Below are our favorite carbon avoidance offsets (you can click on their link to directly jump to their section in this article):

Carbon Avoidance OffsetsQuick Facts
TerrapassAbout: Carbon offset purchases support third-party certified REDD+, waste management, and agricultural projects.
Costs: $16.51-$17.63 per 1,000kg of CO2
Native EnergyAbout: Carbon offset purchases support third-party certified REDD+, waste management, and agricultural projects.
Costs: $18 per 1,000 kg of CO2
CarbonfundAbout: Carbon offset purchases support third-party certified REDD+, waste management, and energy-efficiency projects.
Costs: $16.25-$17.16 per 1,000kg of CO2 for individuals, $390-$1,560 per year for small businesses, determined after initial contact for large businesses 
EcologiAbout: Carbon offset purchases support third-party certified REDD+, waste management, and energy-efficiency projects.
Costs: $6.04 per 1,000 kg of CO2 offset
REDD.plusAbout: Carbon offset purchases support UNFCCC-verified REDD+ projects around the globe. REDD.plus is a central registry and exchange for REDD+ Result Units, a type of carbon credit. 
Costs: $16 per ton of CO2 
CoreZeroAbout: Purchases support waste management projects including food rescue, upcycling, waste-to-energy, and composting.
Costs: Costs are determined after initial contact
DelAguaAbout: Purchases support the Rwandan clean cookstoves energy-efficiency carbon offset project.
Costs: Costs are determined after initial contact
Wildlife WorksAbout: Carbon offset purchases support third-party certified carbon offset projects including The Kasigau Corridor, Mai Ndombe, and Southern Cardamom REDD+ projects in Kenya, Cambodia, and Colombia respectively.
Costs: $20 per ton of CO2
GreenTechAbout: They take plastic (e.g., plastic bottles) and sort, grind, wash, and process it into sustainable recycled flakes to make products (e.g., PET flakes, PET straps, and r-PET granules).
Costs: $40 per 1,000kg of CO2
South PoleAbout: Carbon offset purchases support third-party certified waste management and energy-efficiency projects.
Costs: Costs are determined after initial contact
1

Terrapass: A Variety of Carbon Offsets for Individuals and Businesses

Screenshot of the terrapass front page

Terrapass was founded in 2004 by Dr. Karl Ulrich to reduce as many carbon emissions as possible via the use of education, online tools, carbon offsets, and renewable energy. Today, they provide verified landfill gas capture, farm power, renewable energy, and forestry carbon offsets for individuals and businesses.

“Restore the balance.”

Terrapass

Project overview: Terrapass rotates through its projects, but they have offered a variety of carbon avoidance offsets including:

Carbon offset effectiveness: Terrapass uses the Verified Carbon Standard, Gold Standard, American Carbon Registry, and the Climate Action Reserve to help ensure transparency and quality in the creation, quantification, and verification of their projects.

Carbon offset costs: Individual carbon offsets range from $16.51-$17.63 per 1,000kg of CO2, and business carbon offsets cost approximately $16.99 per 1,000kg of CO2.

How to get your carbon offsets: You can visit their website to learn more about their carbon avoidance offset projects and then purchase your offsets either as an individual or a business

2

Native Energy: Changing the World Through Climate Projects

Screenshot of the Native Energy front page

Native Energy was founded in 2000 by Jeff Bernicke as a platform for organizations to implement projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. 

Today, they offer carbon offsets and renewable energy solutions that provide clients the opportunity to invest and enable the development of new climate projects with direct business benefits.

“Envision your ideal climate solution. Let us build it.”

Native

Carbon offset credit overview: Native Energy supports a range of carbon avoidance projects including

Carbon offset credit effectiveness: Native Energy’s offsets are certified by one of the following leading standards: Gold Standard, Verified Carbon Standard, Climate Action Reserve, American Carbon Registry, Plan Vivo, Climate, or the Community & Biodiversity Alliance.

Carbon offset costs: Carbon offsets cost approximately $18 per ton of CO2.

How to get your Carbon offsets: You can visit their website to learn more and purchase your carbon avoidance offsets.

3

Carbonfund: Energy Efficiency, Forestry, and Renewable Energy Offsets

Screenshot of the Carbonfund front page

Carbonfund was founded in 2003 by Eric Carlson to make it easy for any individual, business, or organization to reduce and offset their climate impact. Today, they have been incorporated into ClimeCo and provide verified energy efficiency, renewable energy, and forestry carbon offsets for individuals and businesses.

“Reduce what you can, offset what you can’t.”

Carbonfund

Carbon offset overview: Carbonfund supports a variety of carbon avoidance offset projects including:

Carbon offset effectiveness: Carbonfund uses the Verified Carbon Standard, Gold Standard, American Carbon Registry, and Climate Action Reserve to help ensure transparency and quality in the creation, quantification, and verification of offset projects.

Carbon offset costs: Individual carbon offsets range from $16.25-$17.16 per 1,000kg of CO2, small business carbon offsets range from $390-$1,560 per year (dependent on the number of employees), and large business carbon offset costs are evaluated after personal contact.

How to get your carbon offsets: You can visit their website to purchase your individual or business carbon avoidance offsets.

4

Ecologi: A Global Carbon Offset Portfolio

Screenshot of the Ecologi subscription page

Ecologi was founded in 2019 by Elliot Coad, Lucy Jack, and Alex Price as an answer to the question “What if I put the money from my morning coffee into climate action”? Today, they have funded over 57 million trees, avoided over 2 million tons of carbon, and continue to enable everyday people to tackle the current climate crisis via reforestation and carbon offsetting projects.

“For less than the cost of a cup of coffee per week, you can become climate positive.”

Ecologi

Project overview: Ecologi supports a range of carbon avoidance projects globally including: 

Carbon offset effectiveness: Ecologis carbon offsetting projects are certified by either the Gold Standard, Verified Carbon Standard, or the Climate, Community, & Biodiversity Standards. And they also have an interactive Google sheet where you can check when, where, and how many trees are planted through their platform. 

Carbon offset costs: It costs approximately $6.04 per 1,000 kg of CO2 offset. Ecologi has a personal offset plan where you choose how many trees get planted (12, 24, or 48) for a price ($10.50, $21, or $42 per month). 

How to get your carbon offsets: You can visit Ecologi’s website to select your personal carbon offset plan and get your carbon avoidance offsets. 

5

REDD.plus: A Central Registry and Exchange for REDD+ Result Units 

Screenshot of the REDD.plus front page

REDD.plus was founded by the Coalition for Rainforest Nations to give individuals and businesses the ability to purchase carbon emissions reductions generated by verified REDD+ projects. Today, they manage the creation of and platform on which REDD+ carbon credits are sold in order to reduce deforestation and prevent further degradation.

“Let’s take action to fight the climate emergency together”

REDD.plus

Project overview: REDD.plus is a project of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations, which consists of over 50 rainforest nations. The basis of REDD.plus is the REDD+ Result Unit (RRU), which is a type of carbon credit. A country’s national government develops a REDD+ strategy, the results of which are independently verified and published on a central hub. Serialized RRUs can then be purchased on the REDD.plus platform or CBL markets. Every RRU purchased saves 2 rainforest trees, and over 90% of your purchase goes back to the countries and local communities that are protecting rainforests around the world. 

Carbon offset effectiveness: A country’s national government issues each RRU to prevent leakage and double-counting, REDD+ results are independently verified and published on the UNFCCC Info Hub, and each RRU is retired once it has been sold

Carbon offset costs: Each RRU costs $16 and offsets 1 ton of CO2 emissions. RRUs are available for purchase as a one-time or monthly purchase. 

How to get your carbon offsets: You can visit the REDD.plus website to purchase your RRUs. 

6

CoreZero: Food Rescue and Upcycling

Screenshot of the CoreZero front page

CoreZero was founded in 2020 by Jean Pierre Azañedo and Ignacio Bordigoni as a way to reduce global waste and methane (CH4) emissions. Today, they monetize food rescue, upcycling, waste-to-energy, and composting projects through carbon credits.

“Unleash the monetary potential of zer0-waste.”

CoreZero

Carbon offset overview: CoreZero generates carbon credits in a few different ways, including via food banks, upcycling, composting, and wastewater treatment plants. They work directly with food banks to rescue food before it can become waste. They also create carbon credits based on the environmental impact of wastewater treatment plants, which can encourage organizations to invest more in the technology. 

Carbon offset effectiveness: CoreZero’s offsets are verified by an independent third party and, depending on the specific offset, are certified by either the Verified Carbon Standard, Gold Standard, American Carbon Registry, or the Global Carbon Council.

Carbon offset costs: Costs are determined after initial contact.

How to get your carbon offsets: You can visit CoreZero’s website and contact a representative to get your carbon offsets.

7

DelAgua: Experts in Carbon Development Projects

Screenshot of the DelAgua front page

DelAgua was founded in 1985 as a water testing company aimed at providing clean water to rural African communities. Today, their water testing kit is used in 150+ countries and they offer carbon credits from a pioneer Rwandan clean cookstoves project. 

“Transforming lives and nature through enterprise”

DelAgua

Carbon offset overview: DelAgua launched the Rwandan clean cookstoves project in partnership with the Government of Rwanda in 2013 to transform the lives and environment of rural African communities. To date, the project has provided over 6 million Rwandans with 1.3 million stoves, free of charge. The stoves use small twigs and branches, which people can collect without cutting down trees, thereby reducing deforestation and using 71% less wood than a traditional fire. It is one of the largest programs of its kind which has helped pull families from poverty and avoid CO2 emissions.

Carbon offset effectiveness: Del Agua’s carbon offset projects are certified by the Verified Carbon Standard. They are also aligned with the Paris Agreement and adhere to multiple UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Carbon offset costs: Costs are determined after initial contact.

How to get your carbon offsets: You can visit DelAgua’s website and contact a representative to get your energy-efficiency carbon offsets.

8

Wildlife Works: A Market-Based Conservation Model

Screenshot of the Wildlife Works front page

Wildlife Works was founded in 1997 by Mike Korchinsky to help communities transition from extraction-based to conservation-based livelihoods. Today, they develop and manage REDD+ projects in Kenya, Cambodia, and Colombia to combat deforestation and create sustainable livelihoods. 

“Biodiversity-driven. Community-centered. Ecosystem-based.”

Wildlife Works

Project overview: Wildlife Works has developed the Kasigau Corridor, Mai Ndombe, and Southern Cardamom REDD+ projects in Kenya, Cambodia, and Colombia, respectively. Altogether, they protect over 2.4 million acres of rainforest and create jobs and other livelihoods other than poaching and deforestation. 

Carbon offset effectiveness: The Kasigau Corridor project is verified by the CCBS at gold level, the Mai Ndombe project is verified by Verra, and the Southern Cardamom project is verified by Verra and the CCBS at gold level. Each of the 3 projects also adheres to multiple UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Carbon offset costs: Carbon offsets cost approximately $20 per ton of CO2.

How to get your carbon offsets: You can visit Wildlife Works’ webpage to view their REDD+ projects and purchase your carbon credits.

9

GreenTech: Plastic Waste Conversion

Screenshot of the GreenTech front page

GreenTech was founded in 2002 as an offshoot of GreenGroup, Europe’s largest integrated recycling park. Today, they recycle over 100,000 tons of plastic per year, helping to reduce CO2 emissions and improve the lives of the communities they serve.

“Responsibility for nature is everyone’s duty”

GreenTech

Carbon offset overview: GreenTech is the first European recycling company to be endorsed by the Gold Standard for their issuance of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recycling carbon credits. They take plastic (e.g., plastic bottles) and sort, grind, wash, and process it into sustainable recycled flakes to make products (e.g., PET flakes, PET straps, and r-PET granules). This results in up to 60% less CO2 emissions compared to manufacturing products from virgin inputs.

Carbon offset effectiveness: GreenTech’s offsets are certified by the Gold Standard and adhere to multiple UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Carbon offset costs: It costs approximately $40 per 1,000kg of CO2 offset.

How to get your carbon offsets: You can visit their website to purchase your waste management carbon offsets.

10

South Pole: Providing the Tools to Achieve a Low-Carbon Reality

Screenshot of the South Pole renewable energy page

South Pole was founded in 2006 by 5 graduate students from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) as a platform to confront climate change. Today, they offer a wide variety of climate solutions including carbon offsets, environmental credits, and renewable energy credits (RECs). 

“From ambition to action”

South Pole

Carbon offset overview: South Pole has a portfolio of over 800 verified carbon offset projects including a variety of carbon avoidance offsets involving:

Carbon offset effectiveness: South Pole’s carbon offset projects are certified by either the Verified Carbon Standard, Gold Standard, American Carbon Registry, or Climate Action Reserve. They are also aligned with the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Carbon offset costs: Costs are determined after initial contact.

How to get your carbon offsets: You can visit South Pole’s website and contact a representative to get your energy-efficiency carbon offsets.

How Effective and Efficient Are Carbon Avoidance Offsets

In terms of effectiveness, carbon avoidance offsets can help reduce deforestation and strengthen our natural carbon sinks, reduce methane emissions and other forms of pollution, bolster energy security, and help transition away from fossil fuels. However, they can lack additionality and they do not reduce your own carbon emissions, which can lead to greenwashing.

In terms of efficiency, carbon avoidance offsets are proactive and relatively cost-effective; however, they can also be difficult to monitor and verify and they are not yet scaled to compensate for our global emissions.

Carbon avoidance offsets are effective at mitigating climate change because:

However, carbon avoidance offsets involving REDD+, waste management, and energy efficiency can also lack additionality due to uncertainty in determining baselines and increasing demand for projects.

Carbon avoidance offsets are efficient at reducing CO2 emissions because:

  • Carbon avoidance offsets cut emissions at their source, making them a proactive way of dealing with emissions.
  • Carbon avoidance offsets involving REDD+, waste management, energy efficiency, and agriculture are some of the most cost-effective methods of carbon emission reduction. 

However, carbon avoidance offsets can also lack efficiency because:

  • The decentralized nature and many different types of energy-efficiency and agricultural carbon avoidance offsets can make standardization and monitoring difficult. 
  • Waste management and agricultural carbon avoidance offsets are not yet scaled to compensate for the billions of tons of greenhouse gasses (GHGs) we emit annually. 

In addition, carbon avoidance offsets do not reduce your own carbon emissions, which can lead to greenwashing. This occurs when emissions are only offset and not reduced from the source, and the consumer is deceived into thinking they are offsetting their emissions but in reality, they are not. This is why we should first reduce our emissions before relying on offsets.

Related: Are you interested in learning more about how effective and efficient carbon avoidance offsets are? Check out the full article here: “How Effective and Efficient Are Carbon Avoidance Offsets? Here Are the Facts

What Are The 6 Pros and 4 Cons of Carbon Avoidance Offsets

Carbon avoidance offsets are a proactive, relatively cost-effective way of dealing with CO2 emissions that can protect existing carbon sinks, bolster energy security, help transition away from fossil fuels, and reduce various forms of pollution. Carbon avoidance offsets also allow us to reduce carbon emissions in ways we wouldn’t be able to accomplish individually.

Carbon avoidance offsets can lack additionality, standardization, and monitoring, and are not yet scaled to compensate for our global waste emissions. They also do not reduce your own carbon emissions, which can lead to greenwashing.

Related: Are you interested in learning more about the pros and cons of carbon avoidance offsets? Check out the full article here: “Carbon Avoidance Offsets: All 6 Pros and 4 Cons Explained

What Are the 6 Pros of Carbon Avoidance Offsets

Carbon avoidance offsets have various pros that make them effective at proactively reducing carbon emissions.

Pros of Carbon Avoidance OffsetsQuick Facts
#1: Carbon avoidance offsets are proactiveCarbon avoidance is a proactive, rather than reactive, way of dealing with emissions. By eliminating emissions at the source, we cut down on fossil fuel (e.g., coal, oil, and natural gas) usage. 
#2: Carbon avoidance offsets can protect existing carbon sinksCarbon avoidance offsets involving REDD+, energy-efficiency, and agriculture protect forest and grassland ecosystems and their ability to act as carbon sinks.
#3: Carbon avoidance offsets can be relatively cost-effectiveREDD+, waste management, energy efficiency, and agricultural carbon offsets are some of the most cost-effective methods of carbon emission reduction.
#4: Carbon avoidance offsets can bolster energy security and help transition away from fossil fuelsWaste management and energy-efficiency projects reduce overall energy demand, which in turn reduces reliance on imports of biomass fuels or fossil fuels. Being able to produce your own energy without relying on other entities increases energy security, and increased energy security fosters energy independence.
#5: Carbon avoidance offsets can reduce methane emissions and other forms of pollutionWaste management and farm power agricultural offsets can reduce CH4 emissions via CH4 capture, combustion, or conversion to energy projects. They can also target land, air, or water pollution, depending on the project.
#6: Carbon avoidance offsets allow us to reduce carbon emissions in ways we wouldn’t be able to accomplish individuallyCarbon avoidance offsets allow us to reduce emissions from activities where sustainable alternatives are not yet widely available. 

What Are the 4 Cons of Carbon Avoidance Offsets

Understanding the drawbacks of carbon avoidance offsets is important when implementing this strategy on a large scale in order to mitigate climate change.

Cons of Carbon Avoidance OffsetsQuick Facts
#1: Carbon avoidance offsets can lack additionalityCarbon avoidance offsets involving REDD+, waste management, and energy efficiency can lack additionality due to uncertainty in determining baselines and increasing demand for projects
#2: Carbon avoidance offsets can lack standardization and monitoringThe decentralized nature and many different types of energy-efficiency and agricultural carbon avoidance offsets can make standardization and monitoring difficult.
#3: Carbon avoidance offsets are not yet scaled to compensate for our global emissions Because waste management and agricultural offsets are only a small subsection of the larger carbon offset market, they are inadequate in terms of offsetting our global emissions.
#4: Carbon avoidance offsets do not reduce your own carbon emissions, which can lead to greenwashingIf emissions are only offset and not reduced from the source, this could lead to greenwashing, when the consumer is deceived into thinking they are offsetting their emissions but in reality, they are not. 

How Can Carbon Avoidance Offsets Help Mitigate Climate Change

Climate change is a severe and long-term consequence of fossil fuel combustion. Carbon avoidance offsets can help mitigate climate change because they cut emissions at their source, which is a proactive way of dealing with carbon emissions. If left untreated, these emissions can remain in our atmosphere for tens of thousands of years and exacerbate the negative effects of climate change.

How is Climate Change Defined

Climate change is arguably the most severe, long-term global impact of fossil fuel combustion. Every year, approximately 33 billion tons (bt) of CO2 are emitted from burning fossil fuels. The carbon found in fossil fuels reacts with oxygen in the air to produce CO2

Climate change: changes in the earth’s weather, including changes in temperature, wind patterns and rainfall, especially the increase in the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere that is caused by the increase of particular gasses, especially carbon dioxide.

Oxford Dictionary

Atmospheric CO2 fuels climate change, which results in global warming. When CO2 and other air pollutants absorb sunlight and solar radiation in the atmosphere, it traps the heat and acts as an insulator for the planet. Since the Industrial Revolution, Earth’s temperature has risen a little more than 1 degree Celsius (C), or 2 degrees Fahrenheit (F). Between 1880-1980 the global temperature rose by 0.07C every 10 years. This rate has more than doubled since 1981, with a current global annual temperature rise of 0.18C, or 0.32F, for every 10 years. 

As outlined in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, we must cut current GHG emissions by 50% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050

How Do Carbon Offsets Generally Help Mitigate Climate Change

Levels of carbon in our atmosphere that cause climate change have increased as a result of human emissions since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in 1750. The global average concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere today registers at over 400 parts per million. Carbon offsets can help prevent these levels from increasing even more.

When you hear the words “carbon offset”, think about the term “compensation”. Essentially, carbon offsets are reductions in GHG emissions that are used to compensate for emissions occurring elsewhere

Carbon offsets that meet key criteria and verified project standards, are additional and permanent, and are part of projects that are carried out until the end of their lifespan have the best chance of reducing carbon emissions and therefore reducing climate change. 

When we offset CO2 we also slow the rate of global temperature rise, which in turn minimizes the effects of climate change. 

How Do Carbon Avoidance Offsets Specifically Help Mitigate Climate Change

Carbon avoidance offsets proactively deal with CO2 emissions. Rather than removing emissions once they have already been emitted, carbon avoidance focuses on approaches that prevent CO2 from being released in the first place.

As outlined in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, we must cut current greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 50% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. Carbon avoidance is important to meet these targets because the more we avoid carbon, the less we emit into our atmosphere. 

Final Thoughts

The best carbon avoidance offsets are offered by Terrapass, Native Energy, Carbonfund, and Ecologi which offer REDD+, waste management, energy efficiency, or certain types of agricultural offsets. In addition, REDD.plus, CoreZero, Del Agua, Wildlife Works, and GreenTech specialize in specific avoidance offsets. South Pole offers a variety of avoidance offsets for individuals and businesses.

Carbon avoidance offsets are a specific type of carbon offset that focuses on preventing carbon emissions from entering our atmosphere. But for all of the good carbon offsets can instigate, they should not be seen as the only solution to climate change. They are effective at reducing CO2 in the short term, but in the long term, they fail to reduce CO2 enough. 

When used in conjunction with direct CO2 reduction measures, carbon offsetting can be much more effective. We should reduce our own carbon footprint as much as possible first, and only then choose the most effective carbon avoidance offsets.

Stay impactful,

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