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The importance of integrity in the carbon sector


Michael Cooper


March 2023

Carbon Neutral are delighted to report that our keynote project, the Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor featured on last Wednesday’s edition of ABC’s 7.30 Report.

Our inclusion in the episode came about after the state broadcaster sought to include a reforestation offset developer with a long-established reputation of having the highest integrity.

The key takeaways from the broader piece revolved around the perceived failings of the existing Safeguard Mechanism, the veracity of offset purchasers and the acknowledgement that a number of large emitters are simply not doing enough to reduce their emissions. The ABC posited that a number of organisations are relying on, or intend to rely on, carbon offsets to justify their continued burning of fossil fuels.

Carbon Neutral firmly believe that a combination of approaches must be taken to mitigate the climate crisis and that is strongly reflected in our mantra – measure, reduce, offset. We are very deliberate in the order of those three simple words.

Through our Carbon Advisory Department, we assist organisations in measuring their emissions and the demand for carbon footprint assessments, lifecycle assessments and ESG reporting is growing. Over the past two decades we have observed this upward trend in demand, but more so, we recognise the shift in the reasoning for our partners to undertake the measurements.

In the formative years of our business, our partners often expressed their need to ‘be seen to be doing the right thing’, but more recently a change has occurred, and we now frequently hear ‘we must take action’. A subtle but significant change in rhetoric.

In our experience, this philosophy expands across the full gamut of our partners, from small businesses through to the larger organisations with higher emissions.

Once a business or organisation understands their impact, the next step on the journey is explore practical measures to reduce it. A high-quality reduction plan should always allow a business to make significant progress on minimising their greenhouse gas emission intensity, while enabling it to continue to grow and maintain profitability and progress. The final step in the process is then to offset any emissions that are deemed to be unavoidable.

Recent controversies around the validity of global verification bodies and the integrity of some carbon offset projects have created headlines across the world, and in some quarters, created fear and suspicion in the marketplace. However, we at Carbon Neutral feel protected through our unerring focus on a demand for integrity in all that we do – a point satisfyingly highlighted by the 7.30 Report.

In a perfect world, the ABC’s feature would have had the available airtime to expand upon the myriad of co-benefits that are created through carbon removal reforestation projects, such as the Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor.

Although the climate crisis is inarguably one of the greatest challenges facing humankind and the environment, the impacts of biodiversity loss and the need for reforestation to conserve endangered species is of equal importance. The consensus of the scientific community is that these damaging effects will be irreversible even earlier than the much-cited 2030 goal for emissions reductions.

Projects like the internationally Gold Standard accredited Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor are a legitimate part of the solution to this problem, and investing in our annual Plant-A-Tree program is another valid way of making a tangible difference.

The conversation around carbon offsetting will continue and the demand for integrity will not abate, and that is something that we at Carbon Neutral wholeheartedly welcome.

Click here to view the 7.30 Report piece and we encourage you to email contactus@carbonneutral.com.au with your feedback.

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