A Guide to Carbon Offsetting for Businesses: Navigating the Pathway to Net Zero

As the urgency to combat climate change intensifies, businesses are increasingly focusing on carbon offsetting and specifically the purchase of carbon removals as a strategy to achieve their Net Zero targets. While thorough decarbonisation efforts should be prioritised, businesses need to engage with carbon offset providers as early as possible to not only lock in supply but also aid in scaling carbon offset solutions so that they can meet future demand.

In this blog post, we provide guidance on quality carbon removals, emphasising the importance of robust decarbonisation programmes, evaluating project quality, and acting today. This often involves the forward purchase of unverified credits, so a robust quantification approach and credible scientific backing are crucial when assessing which CDR project types to support. So, what to look for?

1. Prioritise decarbonisation

All organisations should prioritise comprehensive decarbonisation programmes. Following the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) guidance will ensure your business follows a robust and credible pathway towards reducing operational and supply chain emissions. 

2. Engage with Carbon Removals

To secure supply in a market with limited availability, it’s crucial to engage with this market sector as soon as possible rather than waiting until your business needs the credits. Make this a ‘today problem’ – there’s precious little supply in the market and this is unlikely to change in the short term.

3. Assessing Project Quality

When considering carbon removal projects, evaluate their quality and integrity with the following factors:

   a. Durability

Opt for projects such as enhanced rock weathering that offer long-term carbon removal (100,000+ years) with minimal risk of reversibility. This will ensure that the emissions removal achieved will be permanent.

   b. Scientific Backing

Is your preferred carbon removal project underpinned by peer-reviewed science? If not there is a risk your project will not deliver the climate action benefits you are paying for. 

   c. Verifiability

Although the credits may not be verified at the time of purchase, ensure the project type has a quantification approach supported by one of the mainstream voluntary carbon standards (a so-called methodology). Preferably, select projects that conform to ISO 14064 guidelines or ICROA-backed methodologies or both!

   d. Co-benefits

Consider whether the project delivers additional non-carbon-related benefits, such as biodiversity conservation or community development. The verification of these co-benefits can be done using metrics such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

4. Accuracy of Claims

It’s often the case that credits are purchased pre-verification, but associated claims MUST be accurate. Only once the credits are delivered (ex-post) can they be used to address in-year residuals. Adhering to best practice guidance from organisations like the Voluntary Carbon Market Integrity Initiative (VCMI) can help your business navigate this successfully.

5. Budget for Quality

When budgeting for carbon removals, be aware that quality comes at a cost. It’s helpful to allocate a budget ranging from $100 to $200 per tonne of CO₂ – and sometimes higher for early-stage project types. A portfolio approach can also help diversify investments and support a range of high-quality projects.

6. Support projects that can scale

When purchasing credits for carbon removal choose projects that have clear pathways to scale. By 2050 we need to be removing 10bn tonnes of CO₂ from the atmosphere EVERY year. There are only a few project types ready to deliver at this level – enhanced rock weathering is one of them. 

All organisations will need to purchase carbon removals in order to reach Net Zero. Early engagement with the carbon removals market, with a focus on project quality, durability, scientific backing, verifiability and added co-benefits are all vital considerations. By following these guidelines and budgeting accordingly, your business can make meaningful contributions to the fight against climate change while ensuring credibility and impact in its carbon removal efforts.


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Simon Manley

Head of Carbon

Specialising in carbon removal standards and methodologies, Simon ensures UNDO's projects generate verifiable, high-integrity carbon removal credits. His expertise is crucial in navigating the fast-evolving carbon removal sector, aligning UNDO's efforts with the global mission to mitigate climate change.