Introduction

The UK Government wants to create a robust, transparent and reliable framework within which carbon offset providers can offer their products to businesses and consumers. Its aim is to assure recognised standards and underpin public and business confidence in offset products.

Every week now, household-name companies are announcing plans to reduce their carbon footprints. The practice of carbon offsetting looks set to enjoy exponential growth, as businesses and their customers become increasingly anxious to reduce their contribution to global warming.

Carbon offsetting is a way of compensating for the carbon emissions that individuals and businesses generate in their everyday actions. It involves the purchase of carbon credits that represent an equivalent carbon saving. That saving is generated by projects that reduce emissions through, for example, the use of renewable energy technology.

At the moment, many of the carbon credits used for offsetting come from unregulated emissions reduction projects that generate Voluntary Emissions Reductions (VERs) a form of credit that is not officially regulated.