This is the third article in a series.
In a recent survey about carbon offsets, I learned that about 11.1% of respondents said they didn’t buy carbon offsets in part because they believe that “carbon offsets at the scale of my home or business are insignificant and simply don’t matter.” I reached out to experts to test that idea.
“Offsetting the carbon emissions of your home or business actually is significant!” argues Marisa de Belloy, CEO of Cool Effect, a crowdfunding site for carbon offset projects. “If more people had that perspective, the impact would be incredible. Carbon credits are a great, verifiable way, to assist businesses in reaching corporate emission reduction goals while more substantive changes to operations are made.”
With many small businesses operating from home, household emissions often equate to small business emissions. In fact, there may be as many as 38 million home-based-businesses in the United States.
Ben Block, CEO of GozAround Green, a site that allows businesses to offer rewards to consumers who buy carbon offsets, reacts to the people who say their emissions don’t matter, saying, “You understate the collective impact of small changes. Especially with households estimated at contributing to about three-quarters of total emissions. If every household reduced and/or offset even 10% of their emissions, the impact would be huge. This is entirely achievable given the relatively low cost of offsets.”
In fact, about 47.5% of people in the United States are employed by small businesses, most of which would have an easier time achieving carbon neutrality than large businesses. Imagine the collective impact of moving those businesses to become carbon neutral.
Jennifer Weiss, communications VP for Climate Action Reserve, an organization that certifies carbon offset projects, including some listed on CoolEffect.org, reacted even more strongly, saying, “Do those people live in a cave with no electricity, car or cell phone and do they gather and hunt their own food and make their own clothes? The scale of the climate challenge is huge. And so is the urgency.”
“If we all realized how much our actions matter–from the choices we make at the scale of our home or business to the choices we make at the ballot box to advance climate solutions on a larger scale–we would be able to meet the climate challenge,” she continued. “If, instead, we all stuck our heads in the sand or thought our actions didn’t matter, this climate crisis will continue to worsen.”
Recently, Microsoft pledged to become “carbon negative” by 2050. Using carbon offsets, your small business can likely afford to become carbon negative in 2020. Over time, you may be able to eliminate carbon credit purchases from your formula by using renewable energy and adopting other best practices—which many would argue should be your goal. Still, there seems to be no good reason not to make your small business carbon neutral now.