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 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.
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 are 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.
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.
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.
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 have access to a range of global projects that offer carbon offsets. You can review some of these projects by clicking here. 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.
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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. Click here for more information on the Carbon Neutral Products and Services.
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. Click here for more information about Make It Carbon Neutral.
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.