New Amazon carbon offset standard – any difference?

New Amazon Carbon Offset Standard

amazon and bezos earth fund Amazon and Jeff Bezo’s $10-billion Earth Fund are backing the development of Abacus, a new framework for verifying the quality of carbon offsets, and Verra, a new carbon registry. These are alternatives to ICVCM, the world’s largest group of private sector and environmental organizations attempting to validate carbon offsets.

Carbon offsets are monetary payments for initiatives that aim at curbing climate change where organizations need to further reduce their carbon footprint, but cannot (or will not) do so internally. Carbon offsets are not perfect solutions, but rather meant to be a tool for organizations to do something rather than nothing until, hopefully, they can curb their own pollution to a greater extent. A typical criticism of carbon offsets is that they allow organizations to simply pay their way for action that does not really stop the substantive problem itself; the actual pollution produced by the paying organization. carbon offsets concept

Why create yet another carbon offset mechanism in a world that is already highly fragmented when it comes to environmental regulations and action items? Amazon has stated that it wishes to “ensure that every credit investment has a real, conservatively quantified and verified impact on emissions.” The Bezos Earth Fund claims that “there is room for lots of actors to generate high-integrity offsets.”

Quality matters for sure. That goes for carbon accounting and offsets as well. Whether any real improvement can be gained by adding yet another player in a market already marked by quite a few conscientious, high-quality ones is debatable. While greenwashing claims are often raised in this context, it is not necessarily true that any new mechanism, no matter who the companies and organizations are backing it, will be better than any already existing one. Sometimes, less is more.

Regardless, what matters is converting our global energy market from a fossil fuel-based to a much more sustainable one and, of conserving energy in the first place.

market data The current offset market accounts for offsetting 300 million metric tons of emissions annually. Only 27 million tons are, however, currently verified. Organizations should continue to, first of all, reduce pollution as much as possible and, secondarily, seek out quality carbon offsets. Many other sound ESG solutions exist.

Let One World ESG help you identify quality pollution-avoidance and climate change-improving action steps!

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