Supporting climate projects with carbon offsetting

A busi­ness model that’s no longer needed

A carbon-neutral society is a vision of the future that’s still some way off. That’s why myclimate’s voluntary carbon offsetting service will be in high demand for a good while yet.

‘Our work stri­ves to make part of our busi­ness model obso­lete,’ says Stephen Neff, Mana­ging Direc­tor of mycli­mate. He’s talking about volun­t­ary carbon offset­ting. ‘It would be great if a combi­na­tion of beha­viou­ral chan­ges, tech­ni­cal inno­va­tion and manda­tory carbon offset­ting meant that this area was no longer needed.’ The charity mycli­mate has been invol­ved in the fight against climate change since 2002. In addi­tion to its preven­ta­tive work, it is prima­rily known for its volun­t­ary carbon offset­ting services. As a climate protec­tion orga­ni­sa­tion, mycli­mate is funded via climate-dama­ging acti­vi­ties under­ta­ken by its donors. But Stephen Neff does not want to see the charity’s work as selling indul­gen­ces. ‘We offer climate protec­tion measu­res. It’s not about consci­ence alone: it’s a ques­tion of causa­tion,’ he says. If you cause carbon emis­si­ons to be released, you should at least offset them – and people paid out 17 million Swiss francs for this in 2018. 

Flight emis­si­ons tops the list of all carbon offset­ting measures

‘Of course, the ideal scena­rio would be if we didn’t emit any CO2 at all,’ says Stephen Neff. ‘But offset­ting is still the next best option.’ To do so, mycli­mate funds projects such as retur­ning the upland moor in the canton of Glarus’ Schwän­dital to its natu­ral state, or redu­cing the amount of wood burned by provi­ding more effi­ci­ent cookers in Rwanda. 2018 was the first year that myclimate’s projects offset more than a million tonnes of CO2 emis­si­ons, and this figure will grow substan­ti­ally in 2019*. At the start, this kind of demand would have swam­ped mycli­mate: there weren’t enough projects available. They’ve now been estab­lished, meaning that mycli­mate can respond effec­tively to increased demand. This is also neces­sary, given current discus­sions about the climate. ‘The topics of climate change and climate protec­tion have finally taken hold in the public conscious­ness,’ says Stephen Neff. All kinds of things can be offset: driving a car, your house­hold, or your own carbon foot­print. Flying is by far and away the acti­vity most frequently offset by private indi­vi­du­als, although this service is most commonly used by companies.

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