Should buyers move toward removals, rather than avoidance?

Buyers recognize that carbon removal is increasingly necessary to avoid the worst effects of the climate crisis. At the same time, reducing emissions flowing into the atmosphere in the first place remains at the heart of climate action. Guidance such as the Oxford Offsetting Principles offers a blended approach that takes into account the current scale of carbon removal technologies while still supporting work to prevent as many emissions as possible from entering our atmosphere.

Carbon removals can, sometimes, be easier to quantify and track than projects that avoid or reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But carbon removal credits also tend to be more costly than those from projects that reduce or avoid emissions, and many removal technologies have yet to reach commercial scale. Meanwhile, some of the most common emission reduction project types, such as forest conservation, have come under intense media scrutiny for overstating their climate benefits.

Buyers have to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each project type and make tough decisions about how to allocate finite dollars toward their sustainability goals — or decide whether they’re even chasing the right goals. Seeking independent, expert guidance on building a carbon credit strategy won’t make those decisions easier, but it can provide assurance that your strategy is evidence-based.