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Powershop & carbon offsetting: What, How & Why

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Powershop & carbon offsetting: What, How & Why
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Powershop has been offsetting 100% of the carbon associated with the production of our customers’ electricity for almost three years.

We sometimes get queries around our decision to go 100% carbon neutral and how it works, so we thought we’d take a little time to explain how carbon offsetting works and why we do it.

Why we offset

No matter which energy retailer you buy your electricity from, it all comes from the same central pool because all energy retailers in Australia buy their electricity from the National Electricity Market (NEM). Although our parent company (Meridian Energy) only puts energy generated from renewable sources into the NEM, in the end we can’t control which electrons are actually delivered to our customers’ home or business. So, we made the decision to offset 100% of the carbon emissions associated with our customer’s electricity use to help customers reduce their carbon footprint.

Image explaining Powershop's carbon offset process
*We commit to using Certified Emission Reduction certificates. These certify that emissions have been reduced by a Clean Development Mechanism project project verified under the Kyoto Protocol.
What we offset

Carbon offsetting is a process that involves a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide (or greenhouse gases) in order to compensate for, or to offset, an emission already made elsewhere. To do this, we purchase Certified Emission Reduction (CER) certificates from sustainability projects around the world. These projects are developed under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Clean Development Mechanism and they generate CERs that we can then purchase from carbon offsetting markets. We purchase enough CERs to cover the carbon generated for our customers’ energy use and to cover the carbon emitted as a result of our business’ everyday activities (travel, power usage, etc).

How we offset

We employ a rigorous selection process when it comes to purchasing our certificates and the CERs that we purchase are accredited under the UNFCCC Clean Development Mechanism. CERs can be from projects such as energy efficiency projects, those that involve the destruction of industrial pollutants or agricultural by-products and projects involving the destruction of landfill methane. In addition to purchasing these CERs, we also purchase voluntary credits from Australian carbon offsetting projects. We specifically make sure we don’t purchase anything associated with palm oil production.

Although we know these schemes aren’t a perfect solution, they are a way to have a positive impact on the environment and begin addressing the issues that we as a planet are facing today.

Head to our Carbon offsetting and certificates blog for more information or check out this short video below to learn more.


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22 comments on "Powershop & carbon offsetting: What, How & Why"
  1. Nicholas Dow, August 2, 2018:

    Any idea what the price per ton of CO2 is for your credits? How does it relate to a realistic price on Carbon pollution needed to reduce emissions fast enough to meet Paris goals?

    • Powershop, August 3, 2018:

      Hey Nicholas,

      The cost of carbon reduction certificates varies between projects and fluctuates with the market. In terms of our contribution towards meeting the Paris goals, our renewable electricity generation company Meridian Energy produces electricity from wind farms and hydro, plus all the electricity and gas Powershop sell and all of the emissions associated with our office, air travel etc. is all offset through carbon reduction certificates. The purchase and surrender of these certificates helps fund carbon reduction projects all over the world, whether that be helping a developing country build a biomass power plant or helping protect Tasmanian native forest.

      Cheers,
      Powershop

  2. Mary-Lin, August 7, 2018:

    Great thinking powershop. Thanks for keeping us informed, and knowing customers are hopefully having a positive impact on change to carbon neutral = no pollution = healing of the planet = also equals = new economy for the people

  3. Lava Kohaupt, October 25, 2018:

    This all sounds great but I am just wondering if helping developing nations to develop bio mass power plants includes the production and burning of wood pellets. I know that this method is officially declared being carbon neutral. However there is sufficient scientific evidence that it not only kills our forests, it is also producing a lot of pollution in the production of the pellets as well producing carbon when burning.

    • Powershop, November 15, 2018:

      Hey Lava, thanks for reaching out. Powershop buy Certified Emission Reduction certificates from sustainability projects around the world. We carefully consider the underlying source of the emissions reductions certificates when offsetting 100% of the carbon emissions for all our customers energy use. Our certified emission reduction certificates ensures that emissions have been reduced by a Clean Development Mechanism project verified under the Kyoto Protocol. Feel free to get in touch if you want to chat further. Thanks

  4. Jared Kells, November 2, 2018:

    I’m confused, what’s the difference between carbon neutral and buying a green power pack and paying more in the app?

    • Lauren Kane, November 8, 2018:

      Great question Jared. GreenPower is a government accredited program that allows Australians to displace their standard electricity usage with certified renewable energy, which is added to the grid on their behalf. There’s heaps of info here on GreenPower: https://www.powershop.com.au/blog/greenpower-everything-you-need-to-know/ but essentially, GreenPower is a scheme supported by the Government that consumers pay a premium for. At Powershop we’ve decided to be 100% carbon neutral and not charge our customers for it, so that no matter what, we’re doing better by the environment without our customers having to pay extra. We also offer GreenPower options so that customers can choose to support renewable projects on top of simply being a Powershop customer. Hope that makes sense! Happy to get in touch if you want to chat further. Cheers, Lauren

  5. Bernie Dixon, January 5, 2019:

    You say that what you pay for carbon reduction fluctuates. So approximately what percentage of our bill goes towards this cost? In fact, I believe that the whole planet warming by excess carbon emissions is a massive hoax generated so as those who have can have more. We hear doom and gloom from those (scientists?) who are making a motser out of this – why would they say anything (like it is all a repeated cycle of the planet’s weather over hundred of years). I didn’t realize that Powershop paid for these certificates on all electricity sold, just on “green power” – which is the customers own choice. You are not giving me a choice, your answer to my question will determine my decision. However, since I changed to Powershop, I have been quite happy with your service and your prices, so I’m going to have to weigh up my options.

  6. Dougal, March 6, 2019:

    Can you point me to where I can see the carbon certificates that have been purchased by Powershop or Meridian?

    • Powershop, April 2, 2019:

      Hey there, we use a mixture of both international and Australian carbon certificates from a range of different sources. We don’t have a list of all these available, but you can find a bit more info here.
      Hope that helps!

  7. Dougal, March 12, 2019:

    Can you display your Certified Emission Reduction certificates? It would be more convincing to see evidence of these.

    • Powershop, April 2, 2019:

      Hi again, see the above reply for an answer here.

  8. Shaun Gardner, May 24, 2019:

    I’d actually like to see the certificates too. I become very suspicious when a direct question is asked and a political style evasive answer is given with a link to an equally vague webpage.

    I applaud your endeavour to Carbon offset. I am actually a happy Powershop customer.

    I have a need for reassurance.
    Would you be willing to be fully transparent around which CER’s you have purchased and what they fund?

    Kind Regards,

    • Powershop, May 27, 2019:

      Hey Shaun, glad to hear from another happy Powershop customer. We use a mixture of both local, national and international projects, including Forests Alive’s Verified Emission Reduction Credits, all of which are accredited under the UNFCCC Clean Development Mechanism. We make sure we do not to purchase any certificates from projects which support palm oil, and have other parameters around environmental protection.

  9. Russell, July 18, 2019:

    Dear Bernie,
    If you’re not willing to believe the multitude of respected scientists in the world then that is your choice (unfortunately), Just don’t push your views on others.

  10. Paul, August 20, 2019:

    Can you please povide a specific list of the projects you have been CER certificates from?

    A number of commenters seem to be interested in this information but there has not been any clear answers posted from Powershop.

  11. Ms Rea L Roborgh, November 28, 2019:

    Hi i have just purchased Powershop. And I’m watching you evade all the comments questions. No concrete solid answers. No lists ..no Carbon offset certificates. ..you must have these…no price for such CO2 per tonne …I’m wondering when you’re going to answer a question upfront and specifically. You answer as carefully as a politician. I’m very sincere in believing in climate chsnge as urgent. I want to see your answers.
    Also do you fund a scheme to help customers put solar on their roofs? That would be very positive especially in Queensland.
    Thank you Rea

  12. Warwick Pearse, January 29, 2020:

    Hi Bernie.
    I know what the scientists say is distressing because the predictions are scary. But it is true that carbon emissions are the causing global warming. The people who are leading the campaign to deny that climate change is caused by greenhouse gas emissions usually have a vested interest in coal or political donations from the coal industry. Unfortunately they are adopting the same PR and media tactics as the tobacco industry or the asbestos industry when they denied the science and said that asbestos or tobacco did not cause cancer.

  13. tom, February 21, 2020:

    I thought all power used would be generated by renewables via Meridian installing more renewable capacity. Is this not the case? How much is just offsets (mostly greenwashing) and how much is renewables?

    • Powershop, July 2, 2020:

      Hey Tom – all energy generated by Meridian Energy (which is 100% renewable) enters the electricity grid and mixes with other electricity from non-renewable sources. This means there is no way of ensuring that Meridians renewable energy gets to your powerpoint because of how the grid works and the ‘mixing’ of electricity that occurs. This is why we also carbon offset all of our customer’s usage at no extra cost to them. Another way of supporting renewables is by purchasing GreenPower, which means that for the amount of electricity you use, that same amount of electricity is added to the grid from renewable sources. The more people who purchase GreenPower the more the demand for renewables will increase. We hope this helps!

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