What is Carbon Offsetting?
What is Carbon Offsetting?
‘A carbon offset or credit is a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases applied to compensate for or to offset an emission made elsewhere’
Watch our animation all about the Surfboard Carbon Calculator and where your money goes;
When surfboards are made Greenhouses gases are released into the atmosphere from burning fossils fuel to create power to shape them and to fuel the transport for each part of the surfboard. To undo these emissions you can purchase carbon credits to offset the emissions created. The amount of greenhouse gases are calculated in a unit called Carbon Dioxide equivalent or CO2e, which means all the greenhouse gases are converted to carbon dioxide, using something called the global warming potential of each gas, e.g. 1kg of methane is 25 x more polluting than 1 kg of Carbon Dioxide over 100 years so 1kg of methane = 25Kg CO2e.
Once the amount of environmental damage is known in CO2e projects can be funded to undo that amount of damage. Projects vary from absorbing greenhouse gases, making a process more carbon efficient or eliminating the release of greenhouse gases in the first place. Examples of projects that create carbon credits are;
- Investing in renewable energy projects – building solar panel or wind farms to create carbon free power.
- Reforestation or Avoided deforestation – trees like all plants absorb CO2 to live, by planting more trees or buying land that is about to be sold for logging can reduce the amount of devastation deforestation creates and ensure CO2 is continued to be absorbed.
- Making a process more efficient – e.g. subsidising energy efficient light bulbs, by making them cheaper more people will switch technologies and save energy therefore greenhouse gases.
- Giving energy efficient stoves to some of the poorest communities which need half as much fuel to create the same amount of heat, saving them time and money, but also improves their indoor and ambient air quality.
- Using greenhouse gases as a resource rather than releasing them – e.g. using methane from landfill sites as a form of alternative heat energy.
There are strict rules around creating carbon offsets to ensure the quality of the credits and to ensure they are produced with a positive effect both environmentally and locally to where the project is based. One of the rules within carbon offset creation is ‘additionality’. This means the saving of greenhouse gases has to be above and beyond any targets already set by Kyoto or national government, i.e. a project that would not be feasible without the funding created by you, the purchaser. This means a lot of carbon offset projects are based in the developing world, as they have lower Kyoto targets, so not only are you creating environmental, but social benefits to developing nations. Projects such as renewable energy power plants in the countries such as India or conservation in the Brazilian Rainforest, really do help the local population as well as the environment.
Why Carbon Offset?
Carbon offsetting is a very useful retrospective tool to reduce the environmental impact of most things, e.g. flights and surfboards are no different. The absorption of greenhouse gases is nothing but a good thing, carbon offsetting it not just a conscience cure, but a proactive step towards reducing emissions. In many instances the carbon footprint of a product can only be reduced so far and it’s best to offset the remaining emissions than to do nothing. There currently is no accepted high performance, low carbon, and recyclable eco-surfboard, so until that day Carbon offsetting is the only way of making a ‘green’ surfboard and high performance in our eyes. Many people suggest wooden surfboards, going back to surfing’s roots, but a wooden surfboard is not carbon neutral simply because it natural. The environmental benefits of wooden surfboards depend on where the wood is sourced, how it is grown and how much manufacturing is needed to produce the finished surfboard. And if we all surfed wooden the resource depletion of wood would be far higher.
Carbon offsetting isn’t the final solution, but it’s a bridge to it. Until the ultimate cost effective green recyclable performance surfboard or snowboard can be made, here is a chance for surfers to further protect the Oceans and Earth we depend on, even the Pros are getting involved!
We work directly and indirectly with many worldwide projects, spreading the help where it is needed most from the smallest tree in South America or Stove in Central Africa, to the largest of High tech Low Carbon renewable energy power stations in countries such as India and Russia.