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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.

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.

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).

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. Check out this short video below to learn more.


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8 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

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