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Powershop & carbon offsetting: What, How & Why
by Powershop on
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.
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.