Op-Ed: Here’s how companies can strong-arm their suppliers into cutting carbon emissions
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In recent years, as the world has experienced unprecedented climate-change-related crises–including the world’s worst drought in decades–nearly every company has been asked to help with climate change, often with the help of a government mandate or law.
But how does the market for carbon reduction work? How can a market be built without the need for government regulation or legislation? And, how far can a company get by merely buying carbon offsets, or not buying at all?
Many companies are now experimenting with building or buying carbon-reducing offsets, and there are some pretty straightforward guidelines to follow. But not everyone is on the same page. Here’s how companies can set up successful carbon reduction programs that reduce their climate liabilities.
What is “offsets?”
The idea of offsetting emissions is not new. Historically, the biggest companies with the biggest carbon footprints were, by far, the government. Companies were required to reduce the impact of products on the environment, so they could sell their products at a profit. But, with modern legislation in the United States, that’s not true anymore.
Some companies have been able to find government-mandated offsets to offset their purchases. For example, many companies are voluntarily offsetting greenhouse gas emissions and buying carbon credits that are now being purchased by the government. Other companies are buying offsets from renewable energy providers that want to reduce their carbon footprints.
But what defines a “green” brand new carbon offset?
Before the “climate crisis,” the definition of a “green” brand new carbon offset was as close to as possible a true carbon reduction: reducing greenhouse gas emissions or buying carbon credits from third parties that reduce GHG emissions. While that’s still true, the definition of a “green” new carbon offset has radically changed.
Today, there are several types of carbon offsets that companies can buy off the shelf. They are called carbon offsets, but they don’t have to be “green.” They also don’t have to be sold through a reputable online broker. That’s because many companies are now experimenting with getting