CARBON OFFSETS

Carbon offsetting is a means of counteracting the unavoidable emissions we create in our everyday lives.

Offsets are generated from projects that either prevent, reduce, or remove greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere. One offset is equal to one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) prevented, reduced or removed.

We plant trees to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Find out more below.

Our offsets

At Carbon Positive Australia, we capture carbon by planting native vegetation on degraded farmland. This is part of a range of nature-based solutions to combat climate change.

Every carbon offset you purchase helps us plant more trees and shrubs that, over time, will restore the natural landscape and biodiversity of our amazing continent. 

Trees remove or ‘sequester’ carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it into organic carbon as they grow – storing it in their trunks, stems, leaves and roots. Approximately half the dry weight of a tree’s biomass is carbon. 

The amount of carbon sequestered per hectare depends on tree growth, which depends on the species and planting density. In high rainfall zones with good soil, it may take 3-5 trees over 25 years to sequester 1 tonne of CO2e. In lower rainfall zones with poorer soil, it could take as many as 15 trees!

Our planting sites adhere to methodologies developed by the Australian Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF). Several of our projects are also registered with the ERF. To measure carbon uptake at relevant planting sites we use the Full Carbon Accounting Model (FullCAM) which was developed by CSIRO and approved by the Australian Department of Environment.

To ensure offsets are not double-counted, we maintain an internal register (or ‘pool’) of offsets – allocating and retiring each offset as it is sold. 

After planting, our projects are regularly monitored by external consultants to measure survival and growth rates, ensuring original sequestration estimates are accurate. We can provide planting and monitoring reports from all our projects on request.

For each planting project, we also enter into a legal agreement with the landholder(s) to ensure the trees are protected for at least 25 years and that the rights to count the carbon are secured.

For more information, check out our FAQs.

Crediting activities

There are over 14,500 carbon offset projects registered around the world which have generated almost 4 billion tCO2eto date. Carbon projects are typically categorised into the following 12 ‘activities’:

Agriculture

Activities associated with agriculture and on-farm management, including livestock activity.

Carbon Capture Storage

Activities associated with carbon capture and storage in electricity generation and industrial processes.

Energy Efficiency

Domestic or industrial activities that reduce emissions through reduced energy consumption.

Forestry

Activities associated with afforestation, reforestation, and improved forestry management.

Fuel Switch

Switching from fossil fuel-based power and/or heat, to lower emissions intensity fuels.

Fugitive Emissions

Activities addressing industrial emissions such as avoided methane leaks from oilfields and mining.

Industrial Gases

Activities which destroy high Global Warming Potential (GWP) gases before they are emitted.

Manufacturing

Activities associated with lowering the emissions intensity of material creation (e.g. cement, construction, metal).

Other Land Use

All land use management activities other than forestry and agriculture (e.g. wetlands, blue carbon, savannah burning).

Renewable Energy

Activities associated with renewable energy including sustainable biomass.

Transport

Activities reducing emissions associated with transport and mobility.

Waste

Activities associated with landfill gas and wastewater treatment including waste management and handling.

Carbon Offsetting FAQs

A carbon offset (or ‘carbon credit’) represents the prevention, reduction, or removal of 1 tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) from the atmosphere. Offsetting carbon allows us to compensate for the unavoidable carbon emissions generated in everyday life.

Carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) is a metric measure used to compare the emissions from various greenhouse gases on the basis of their global warming potential. This is done by converting amounts of other gases to the amount of carbon dioxide with the equivalent global warming potential. For example, the global warming potential for methane is 28. This means that the emission of 1 metric tonne of methane is equivalent to 28 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Carbon offsets are generated from projects that either prevent, reduce, or remove greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere. There are many types of carbon project activities including reforestation, renewable energy, fuel switch and energy efficiency. Reforestation is one of the only carbon project activities which REMOVES carbon from the atmosphere.

We generate offsets by planting native vegetation on degraded farmland. Trees and shrubs remove or ‘sequester’ carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it into organic carbon as they grow. Reforestation is one of many nature-based solutions to combat climate change and comes with a host of ‘co-benefits’ such as creating habitat for native fauna, increasing biodiversity, and improving soil quality.

Everyone! Individuals, families, organisations, and governments alike can offset their carbon emissions.

To offset your emissions, you first need to measure your total emissions for a given time period – this is known as your ‘carbon footprint’. Our free online Carbon Calculator will help you with this.

The next step is to make changes where possible to reduce your emissions. This is often easier than you think and can be as simple as catching public transport more or making sure all the lights are off when you leave the house.

Unfortunately, some emissions are unavoidable. For those emissions you cannot reduce, you can offset.

When you offset with us you are funding the planting of native trees which remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

As an individual, family, or household the easiest way to calculate your carbon footprint is to use our free online Carbon Calculator. Your carbon footprint includes emissions from different aspects of your life including travel, energy use, diet, and water consumption for a given historic period. Organisations often have additional emissions sources. For assistance calculating your organisation’s carbon footprint get in contact with us.

Less than you think! One offset costs $18, therefore the average Australian household could offset their entire yearly emissions for less than $300. Remember, you can always offset a portion of your footprint, or offset over a period of time – some action is better than none.

Carbon neutrality is a state that occurs when net greenhouse gas emissions are equal to zero. In other words, you offset as much as you emit.

Becoming carbon positive means making a new set of choices that will deliver a cooler climate and deliver environmental co-benefits. It means going beyond carbon neutrality by making additional ‘positive’ contributions to the environment. This may be in the form of offsetting more than you emit, switching to 100% renewable energy, and/or protecting our old-growth forests and rivers. You can learn more about becoming carbon positive here.

Where possible, our planting sites adhere to methodologies developed by the Australian Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF). Several of our projects are also registered with the ERF (some projects are registered under Carbon Neutral Charitable Fund and some under Carbon Positive Australia).

To measure the carbon uptake from our planting sites we use the Full Carbon Accounting Model (FullCAM) and/or on-ground measurements. FullCAM is a calculation engine developed by the CSIRO and approved by the Australian Department of Environment to measure carbon uptake for the generation of Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs). On-ground measurement of carbon is based on detailed growth models using allometric equations to reflect the amount of carbon stored in the forest. Carbon Positive Australia has contributed field measurement data from our plantings as part of an on-going CSIRO project to update FullCAM.

Verified offsets are those for which the underlying carbon project has been validated and verified by an accredited third party. Unverified offsets are issued by the carbon project developer using relevant methodologies but are not independently verified.

The majority of our offsets are unverified. However, where possible we register our projects with the Australian Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) and undertake external monitoring in line with methodologies under the ERF scheme. If you specifically require verified offsets, contact us at admin@carbonpositiveaustralia.org.au or on 1300 857 970, as these are not available on our website.

In most cases, individuals and organisations purchasing offsets for voluntary purposes can purchase unverified offsets. Organisations purchasing offsets for compliance purposes must purchase verified offsets (the specific type of offset will be determined by the relevant legislation or agreement). If you are unsure or have further questions, contact our team.

Voluntary offsetting occurs when individuals, households, organisations and/or governments offset their emissions voluntarily (i.e., there is no legal requirement to do so). The alternative to this is offsetting for compliance purposes. Some organisations and governments must account for and offset their emissions by law. This is regulated by mandatory national, regional, or international carbon reduction regimes.

To become carbon neutral, you must measure your emissions for a specific time period and offset this amount by purchasing carbon offsets. You are then, technically, carbon neutral. 

 In Australia, you can also opt to be certified as Carbon Neutral under the Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard. To be certified by Climate Active organisations must:

  • Calculate their emissions;
  • Develop and implement an emissions reduction strategy;
  • Purchase offsets;
  • Arrange independent validation; and
  • Publish a public summary of their carbon neutral claim.

For more information on becoming carbon neutral (or even better, carbon positive!) contact us at admin@carbonpositiveaustralia.org.au or on 1300 857 970.