Carbon Credits FAQ
Carbon credits are tradable certificates representing the right to emit a tonne of carbon dioxide or equivalent greenhouse gas. They are crucial to national and international emission trading schemes aimed at mitigating global warming.
- Ian Kiernan
Chairman, Clean up Australia
What are Carbon Credits?
Carbon credits are also known as a carbon offsets. Carbon offsets are traded on an open market in clearly definable units, with one tonne of CO2e emissions equal to one carbon offset.
How to buy carbon offsets
You can purchase carbon credits through our Carbon Footprint Calculator to offset your individual unavoidable emissions from flights and travel, motor vehicle use, electricity, gas, waste and public transport.
How do carbon offsets work
Although the process may be overwhelming and complicated, it’s in reality simple and effective. Carbon offsets can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by compensating for your greenhouse emissions. It achieves this by controlling greenhouse gas emissions from elsewhere.
Australian carbon credit units
The Australian carbon credit unit is an important instrument in the Australian Government’s effort to reduce emissions from greenhouse gases (CHGs). To obtain credits, the project must follow specialised guidelines and scientific procedures for reducing the emissions generated from certain project activities. This means that the emission reductions have been verified and regulated. The offset credits meet integrity standards to ensure real emissions reduction occurs. Find out more about offsetting your business emissions through our NoCO2 Business Certification.
More information about carbon offsetting projects is also available on our site.
What is Carbon Offsetting and what does it do?
Carbon offsetting is a mechanism whereby organisations and individuals purchase carbon credits from approved projects to reduce or eliminate their carbon footprint.
Carbon offsets are available from projects that reduce overall carbon emissions and usually provide social and economic benefits for the communities where the projects are located. Common projects include wind, solar, biomass and cookstove energy efficiency projects.
How can I purchase carbon offsets for products or services that are not Carbon Neutral?
Our carbon calculators contain emission factors for several 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.
How do you choose your projects?
We have access to a range of global projects that offer carbon offsets. You can review some of these projects. We choose projects that reduce or replace fossil-fuel energy production and have run-on environmental and social benefits for the communities where the projects operate.
We offer Solar, Wind, Biomass, LifeStraw and Cookstove projects, amongst others. Our projects are either Verified Carbon Standard or Gold Standard approved and meet NCOS requirements.
The NoCO2 Carbon Neutral Program is the longest running and market leading climate change certification program in Australia.
It has a reputation as the benchmark for carbon neutral and low carbon certification programs in Australia.
The Carbon Reduction Institute follows international best practice standards and has developed proprietary processes, systems, and factors to underpin our analysis and assessments.
Why would a business benefit from joining the NoCO2 Program?
By joining the NoCO2 Program you can position your business as a leader in addressing climate change by taking meaningful action. The Program will add value to your business by attracting customers who are concerned about their climate change impact and want to do something about it. Your business may also be able to make savings through energy efficiency, better waste management and other strategies to reduce CO2 emissions.
Why can I trust the Carbon Reduction Institute?
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.
What is carbon neutral products and services?
Carbon neutral products and services have had their emissions offset prior to their purchase by the consumer. This means that the global warming impact of the product is eliminated. Visit our business certification page for more information on Carbon Neutral Products and Services.
What is the Make It Carbon Neutral Choice?
CRI offers a solution called Make it Carbon Neutral through the NoCO2 Program. For all Make It Carbon Neutral products and services, customers are given the choice at the point of sale to pay a small additional amount to offset the emissions related to the product or service they are purchasing. Visit the Make It Carbon Neutral Certification page for more information.
What is the Greenhouse Effect?
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.
What is CO2 and how does it relate to the greenhouse effect and climate change?
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.
How is it possible for something to emit more CO2 than it weighs?
The weight of a product does not tell the fully story about the CO2 it emits. There are two factors that influence this; the embodied emissions and CO2 equivalent of the product.
Embodied emissions are generated through the extraction and transportation of raw materials, the manufacturing process, packaging used, transportation of the product and ultimate disposal. The total greenhouse gas emissions of a product are given a CO2 equivalent rating which expresses the global warming impact of the product.
This rating includes emissions of other more polluting gases including methane and fluorocarbons emitted during the life cycle of a product.
The greenhouse gas impact of these gases is scaled in terms of impact 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 adds to the “weight” of the CO2 that is finally emitted by the product.
How can you accurately determine the amount of CO2 emitted in a product’s lifecycle?
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 can identify ways in which to save money. These figures are not always disclosed to the public.
Why should I act regarding climate change?
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.
How can I reduce my impact on the environment?
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 businesses and individuals.
How can my business join the Carbon Reduction Institute?
Fill in our contact form today! Visit our NoCO2 Certification page if you'd like to read more about carbon neutral certification.