October 9, 2017
We are asked by clients time and again about carbon offset projects in Germany, Austria, or Switzerland. However, most carbon offset projects are located in emerging market or developing countries in Africa, Asia, or South America. What are the options for combining community involvement and global climate protection?
Internationally recognized carbon offset projects as laid out by the Clean Development Mechanism in the Kyoto Protocol are fundamentally not intended for industrialized countries. There are very few exceptions to this. The reasons for this vary, including the exclusion of double counting: Emissions savings must not simultaneously count towards national climate change commitments of industrialized countries on one hand and be considered voluntary climate protection on the other hand. Climate neutral products represent voluntary climate protection.
As an additional factor, some of the effects of climate change are felt with significantly more severity in many emerging market and developing countries in the Southern Hemisphere. Our carbon offset projects always foster regional development and focus on the local population in addition to climate protection. In this manner, our projects promote education, the creation of jobs, public health, and food security – while also supporting energy supply, economic development, and infrastructure. The objective is to attain sustainable and fair development in all regions of the world.
For our clients with regional roots, we also offer quality alternatives locally: energy efficiency in North Rhine-Westphalia or mountain forest conservation and protection of the Alps in combination with an internationally recognized carbon offset project.
The mountain forest project “Bergwaldprojekt” in Germany and Switzerland
For forest conservation in various parts of Germany and Switzerland, we collaborate with the association Bergwaldprojekt e.V. There, volunteers work in organized and professionally led project weeks to maintain the forest and its natural functions: water filter, erosion protection, and habitat for flora and fauna. We offer regional climate protection in combination with internationally recognized projects. The mountain forest project in Freiburg, Rostock, Oberallgäu, the Harz region, or in Switzerland is underpinned with a forest conservation project in Papua New Guinea, which guarantees the requisite certified emissions savings in accordance with the Kyoto Protocol. This means you can be involved in your region and simultaneously render your product or your company climate neutral.
Since 1951, the International Commission for the Protection of the Alps, CIPRA, has advocated for the implementation of the Alpine Convention – in the interest of conservation and sustainable development of the Alps. The duties of the national chapter of CIPRA in Austria include informing the public and exerting influence in politics, business, and administration with respect to the objectives of Alpine preservation. CIPRA’s most important instrument is the informational and PR work it performs in the form of events, professional publications, expert reports, or signature campaigns.
The Commission has various projects that specifically address sustainability issues. For instance, one project aims to improve the infrastructure of busses for hikers and backcountry skiers in order to reduce car traffic due to recreational sports. Another goal is to strengthen peripheral regions and to counteract migration from remote rural areas through the creation of jobs in fields such as science, sustainable tourism, and sustainable timber processing. CIPRA advocates transnationally for moving freight traffic crossing through the Alps off of roads and onto rails, especially at the Brenner Pass. And CIPRA is implementing measures for protecting Alpine soils through the project Links4Soil.
For CIPRA, we also offer the combination with a forest conservation project in Papua New Guinea for demonstrable emissions savings for attaining climate neutrality.
Energy efficiency in North Rhine-Westphalia
Demonstrable, independent carbon savings are generated by the energy efficiency project in North Rhine-Westphalia: Operators of heating or steam boiler systems can invest in energy efficient or regeneratively operated boilers and finance them via the carbon savings. This requires less expenditure in administration and procurement than via the state subsidy, and organizations like preschools and schools can also get involved. This is an official Joint Implementation Project in accordance with the Kyoto Protocol. The emissions savings are not simultaneously counted towards the German emissions reduction targets (exclusion of double counting).
Many SMEs and family-run businesses feel a strong attachment to their region and would like to get involved in their community. For these companies, we have developed the options described above. For example, gingerbread manufacturer Zuckersucht from Aschheim delivers heart-shaped cookies for the Oktoberfest made from ecological and regional ingredients. It was important to managing director Bernd Dostler to support the mountain forest project in Freiburg to that end, and not solely a carbon offset project halfway around the globe. Every client thus has the opportunity to support a project that truly aligns with their corporate philosophy.