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Carbon offsetting and certificates. How do they work?
by Powershop on
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We get asked a lot of questions about carbon offsetting, what we support and how we go about this process. You asked, so let’s get stuck in!
Powershop has been offsetting 100% of the carbon associated with our customers’ electricity usage for almost three years. And we’ve been accredited under the government NCOS standard as a carbon neutral business since 2014. Let us step you through why we choose to offset, and the process around it.
Renewable energy and your home
No matter where you buy your electricity from, it all comes from the same central pool called the National Electricity Market (NEM). The energy grid is made up of energy from a variety of sources, including renewable generation (solar, wind, hydro) and coal-fired power.
Why carbon offset?
Although our parent company (Meridian Energy) only supplies energy generated from renewable sources to the NEM, we can’t control what’s actually delivered to our customers’ home or business. We made the decision to carbon offset, so our customers can feel ok about the electricity and gas they use at home.
So what is carbon offsetting?
Carbon offsetting is a process that involves a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide (or other greenhouse gases) in order to compensate for, or to offset, an emission already made elsewhere. Essentially, we purchase ‘carbon credits’ to offset or counteract the carbon created by your energy usage.
About carbon certificates
At Powershop, our carbon offsetting process involves the purchase of Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCU) and Certified Emission Reduction (CER) certificates. These are not physical certificates, but are a digital currency traded on the market – much like money.
According to the Clean Energy Regulator website: “a CER is a tradable unit representing one tonne of carbon dioxide-equivalent (tCO2-e) of emissions abatement or sequestration”. An “ACCU issued represents one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2-e) stored or avoided.”
Our Carbon Certificates
We employ a rigorous selection process when it comes to purchasing our certificates to ensure that they are accredited under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Clean Development Mechanism project verified under the Kyoto Protocol. That’s a mouthful!
Basically, it means we care about what projects we buy certificates from to ensure that they are verified programs which contribute to lowering carbon emissions around the world. We’re not just buying any certificate – it has to meet accredited guidelines.
We select a mixture of both local, national and international projects, including Forests Alive’s Verified Emission Reduction Credits (an Australian based forestry project).
We do not purchase any certificates from projects which support palm oil, and incorporate other parameters around environmental protection which guide the certificates we purchase.
How can I learn more?
Transparency is incredibly important to us at Powershop, and further information on our certificates can be found on our Carbon Neutral PDS page.