Frequently Asked Questions
The ‘Greenhouse Effect’ is a term that describes the natural temperature regulation mechanism of the planet. The greenhouse effect is caused by a layer of gases (including CO2, methane, water vapour) in the earth’s atmosphere that absorbs heat which helps the planet maintain its temperature.
CO2 is a gas made up of 1 Carbon atom and 2 Oxygen atoms. It is released into the atmosphere whenever fossil fuels (such as petrol, coal, gas) are burned for energy. Society’s dependence on fossil fuels over the past century has caused high levels of CO2 emissions to become trapped in the earth’s atmosphere. This enhances the greenhouse effect and causes more heat absorption in the atmosphere, which in turn causes temperature increases on earth. This phenomenon is referred to as Global Warming, or Climate Change, and has serious consequences for the planet.
Carbon offsetting is a mechanism whereby individuals pay a third party to reduce the same amount of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere that they have added to it. Carbon offsetting is achieved through the creation of carbon credits from tree plantations, which absorb the amount of carbon emitted; buying energy from renewable sources that don’t emit CO2, and energy efficiency projects that reduce energy usage and hence the emissions associated with energy usage.
A product’s weight does not tell the full story behind the CO2 it emits. There are two factors that influence this, which are the product’s embodied emissions and the CO2 equivalent of the product. The embodied emissions refer to the emissions generated throughout the extraction, manufacture, packaging and transport of the product, which all add to the product’s overall emissions. A product’s total greenhouse gas emissions are given a CO2 equivalent rating weight which expresses the global warming potential of the product. This rating includes the emissions of other more polluting gases such as methane and fluorocarbons emitted during the product’s life cycle, whose greenhouse impacts are scaled in terms of the same impacts generated by an equivalent amount of CO2. For example, methane has 21 times the global warming potential of an equal amount of CO2. To further complicate things, when a product is burned, it consumes oxygen from the atmosphere which then further adds to the “weight” of CO2 that is finally emitted.
By studying the emissions generated from the extraction of raw materials, manufacturing, packaging, transport, usage and disposal, we are able to determine a product’s emissions lifecycle. Many major product manufacturers conduct their own studies, as emission production is tied to energy usage, which is an expense. So by conducting life cycle assessments, manufacturers are able to identify ways in which to save money. These figures are not always disclosed to the public.
Climate change, or global warming, is caused by human activities, and so the responsibility to counter it falls with us. By buying energy from renewable sources, increasing energy efficiency and offsetting unavoidable emissions, you can negate your CO2 emissions and your impacts toward climate change.
The NoCO2 certification program allows your business to distinguish itself from businesses which are not acting towards climate change. Therefore, joining the NoCO2 program will add value to your business by attracting consumers who are concerned about their impacts on climate change and who want to do something about them.
We have structured our operations to provide high levels of guarantee of service. Our carbon offsets are sourced through energy efficiency and renewable energy projects which guarantee an actual reduction, or replacement of fossil fuel energy. We use life cycle emission factors and assessments to ensure that we do not under-compensate for emissions in circumstances that are variable. This allows us to assert that the best is being done for the environment at all times.
We choose projects that reduce fossil-fuel energy production, or that have run-on environmental benefits for society. For example, we are interested in salt-bush plantation projects for their ability to sequester carbon and lower the water table in salinity affected areas. We are also interested in harvesting polluting algae from rivers and processing this into bio-diesel and bio-digested energy, thus creating multi-tiered benefits for the environment.
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Carbon Neutral Products are products whose emissions are offset prior to their purchase. This means that the global warming impacts of the product are negated. Click here for more information on Carbon Neutral Products.
For all Make It Carbon Neutral Products, customers are given the choice at point of sale to pay a little additional sum to offset the product’s emissions. Click here for more information on Make It Carbon Neutral Products.
Our carbon calculators contain emission factors for a number of products. You can use these calculators to quantify your emissions and the amount of credits that you need to purchase. You can calculate and offset your impact here.
Carbon offsetting is one way to reduce your impacts on the environment, but there are many others. For more information on how to lower your environmental impacts, visit our tips for business and individuals pages.