Where to Find Carbon Offsets and How to Choose the Perfect One

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Carbon removal? From where? Carbon offsets? What on earth is that?

Well, I’m sure you remember learning about your carbon footprint in school. I always found the idea pretty abstract. Ok, I shouldn’t use my car if I can take the bus, and I shouldn’t take 45-minute-long showers, got it.

So years passed and the interwebs gave us access to hundreds of different carbon footprint calculators to let us see exactly what our individual carbon footprints look like with the help of a nice pie chart showing us how we’re spending our carbon budget.

I always considered myself a pretty green person. So imagine the shock when the Global Footprint Network’s calculator told me that if everyone lived the way I do we would need almost two Earths.

What? You’re telling me that I’m not doing enough?

That’s the thing with carbon calculators. They can be misleading in making us think little you and little I are responsible to clean up the mess – you can read more about the controversy about your carbon footprint here.

So let me give you a little disclaimer that applies to both your carbon footprint and carbon offsets:

⚠️ The conversation around carbon removal is controversial because it gives big polluters an excuse to keep polluting “rEsPonSibLy”. To achieve net-zero emissions and get us out of this climate mess we’re in, we (and by “we” I mean especially big corporations and wealthy countries that account for like 80% of global emissions) need to first reduce emissions, and then remove the GHG that we can’t avoid creating. There’s no net-zero without both things, end of story. Thanks for coming to my TED talk.

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Where to buy carbon offsets

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s chat about where to find carbon offsets.

This can be as straightforward as buying a tree or adopting a coral, or it can have a clothing brand or an airline as the middleman. These are a few projects with cool carbon offsetting concepts that I found while doing my research, but there are lots of super cool projects all over the world, and you might be able to even find one at your local level.

If you want to find the perfect carbon removal program by yourself, you should first check out this post where we talked about what to look for in a legit and trustworthy one.

Carbon Offsets to Alleviate Poverty (COTAP) 

What makes it special?

Imagine if you could support a clean planet while you help local farming communities. Awesome, right? With this program, you’ll be helping rural communities in countries of the global south grow and prosper sustainably.

At the moment they have active projects in three countries: India, Uganda, and Nicaragua.

You can calculate your footprint on their website as an individual or as a company (this tool is mostly useful for US residents, though), and after you learn about it you can buy the offset that suits your lifestyle.

You can also choose to have a monthly subscription to offset the amount of CO2 you choose.

Cool feature

You can get a gift certificate, and they also have an option to offset your wedding’s emissions.

Coral Gardeners

What makes it special?

While many offsets focus on planting trees, Coral Gardeners give you the opportunity to adopt a coral or buy a nursery table (tables where they cultivate corals until they’re mature enough to go in the sea). So wholesome.

Of course, trees are extremely important to absorb CO2, but corals – well, the algae they host – are fundamental too.

I love their goal, and how involved they are in the reconstruction of coral reefs. Remember: if we do nothing, coral reefs will be gone by 2050.

Cool feature

In this case, you pay for the number of corals you’re adopting, not for the tons of CO2 you want to offset, and you get to name the corals you adopt. How cool is that?

Oh, and if you ever go to French Polynesia, make sure you pay them a visit. They offer eco-tours where they will teach you everything about corals, and they even let you plant your own.

Carbon Fund

What makes it special?

They give you lots of different options to offset your lifestyle – by how many people there are in your family, how big your house is, which kind of car you own,…. It’s kind of like online shopping.

Also, they have very high-quality standards to assure that your investment is going to end up where you want.

They have many active projects, from investments in energy efficiency to forestry and renewable energy in a few different regions.

Cool feature

They can plant a tree for each dollar you donate – ONE (1) DOLLAR!

where can i buy carbon offsets for tree planting programs

Reformation 

What makes it special?

Reformation is a great carbon-neutral sustainable fashion brand. As eco-conscious as it gets.

You can purchase offsets from their site thanks to their partnership with NativeEnergy, an NGO that coordinates carbon offset projects in the American continent.

Isn’t it awesome that you can compensate your GHG emissions at the checkout while getting your new sustainable outfit?

Cool feature

Reformation also offers you a $100 e-gift card for their site if you switch to clean energy. This is your sign to change your energy supplier.

United Nations

What makes it special?

The UN has sooo many projects to choose from. You can choose the continent and country, the project type, the focus of the project, and a lot more.

Cool feature

Like in the other cases, you can take a test to discover your carbon footprint. In this case, the test is super fast and easy, and I love that it’s suitable for people living anywhere in the world – other organizations are UK or US-based, so the data they use is valid for those countries, whereas here the UN compares your footprint to the average carbon footprint of the country you live in.

Oh! And I love that you can pay using Paypal. It makes saving the world a lot more convenient.


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What do you think?

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