The Vancouver 2010 Olympics will be the first carbon-neutral event of its kind. This is all thanks to Offsetters, a leading BC supplier of high-quality carbon offsets, and its arrangement with the BC Cleantech CEO Alliance. Under the multi-million-dollar sponsorship agreement, up to 300,000 tonnes worth of carbon offsets will be provided to the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC). This sponsorship makes the 2010 Winter Games the first in Olympics in history to have an Official Supplier of Carbon Offsets.

To provide the projects, Offsetters is working with local clean technology companies, including Nexterra, Sempa Power, Lignol Innovations, Ballard Power and Powertech — all members of the BC Clean Tech CEO Alliance. The project portfolio will comprise projects that focus on energy efficiency or the production of renewable energy. So far, the proposed offset projects include fuel cell technology in transit buses, energy-efficiency systems, as well as biomass gasification and hydrogen fuelling stations to reduce industrial use of gasoline and electricity. The projects and technologies from these clean technology companies will play a pivotal role in bringing this undertaking to fruition.

Overall, these projects will offset a minimum of 110,000 tonnes of direct carbon emissions related to the Olympic Games. This emissions estimate includes all aspects of staging the Games in Vancouver and Whistler, including transportation, energy consumption, venue construction and the cross-country torch relay. VANOC and Offsetters also aim to offset an additional 190,000 tonnes of indirect carbon emissions through collaboration with Games partners, sponsors and participants.

All projects included in the project portfolio will be high-quality offsets consistent with standards applied by the new BC-based Pacific Carbon Trust. The Pacific Carbon Trust was created to provide carbon offsets to the BC government, to achieve its goal of carbon neutrality by 2010. The result of these policies is that there is now a market for carbon for BC-based projects, which is providing an additional revenue stream for BC clean technology projects. In the next TLQ, we’ll discuss the role and benefits of the Pacific Carbon Trust.