An activity, process, organisation, event, building or precinct is carbon neutral when its net greenhouse gas emissions (emissions) are equal to zero. To become carbon neutral, entities must calculate their emissions, reduce these emissions as much as possible, and then purchase and cancel carbon offsets or carbon credits equivalent to the remaining emissions. This process results in emissions being offset and leads to net zero emissions or being carbon neutral.
Benefits of offsetting
Many carbon offset projects deliver a range of positive outcomes in addition to emission reductions. By purchasing offset units, organisations can support social, environmental or economic outcomes.
Environmental co-benefits include supporting the maintenance of habitat for native animal and plant species, avoiding clearing of vegetation and re-establishing vegetation on previously cleared areas.
Social co-benefits include employment for local people through managing the project, reduced social welfare, and providing health and educational improvements.
Economic co-benefits arise from the income generated from the sale of offset credits. This income is delivered to the communities in which the project is located through employment and community support.
Offset units eligible under the National Carbon Offset Standard
The National Carbon Offset Standard provides a list of eligible offset units that have been assessed as meeting the Standard’s offsets integrity principles. These principles are designed to ensure that eligible offset units represent genuine and credible emission reductions.
The list of eligible offset units is at Appendix A to the National Carbon Offset Standard.
Australia’s Carbon Marketplace
The Department of the Environment and Energy supported the Carbon Market Institute to develop Australia’s Carbon Marketplace. Australia’s Carbon Marketplace assists businesses in navigating the voluntary carbon market, fostering connections between businesses operating in the carbon reduction space and providing valuable information to individuals and organisations wishing to learn more about offsetting and carbon neutrality. Australia’s Carbon Marketplace includes a list of offsets projects and a directory of carbon market professionals including offset brokers and traders.