Monday, February 4, 2008

Carbon Offsets - are they real?

Workday is participating in a Carbon Offset program by Renewable Choice. We have purchased carbon offset for part of the energy that we are consuming in our office and our internal data center and are working towards an agreement to include our production hosting centers as well. The idea of course has to be 100% carbon neutral.

But offsets are unlike tangible goods. When engaging in offsets, it is always tricky to assess if the investment is done in real initiatives that truly support a reduction in carbon footprint. KQED has issued an interesting 5-minute radio program on the topic.

Renewable Choice is investing primarily in wind power. Their subsidies are certified by green-e, which is supported by the Center for Resource Solutions. While it is hard to assess how much a certification in this non-regulated market is worth in the end, green-e is at least mentioned as a viable certification in several websites. It is also used by TerraPass, a leading offset provider. They cite that green-e and Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) were reviewed by hundreds of stakeholders (e.g., carbon experts, industry participants, and environmental and consumer groups) and went through several versions before final release. Finally, Renewable Choice is also used by large green supporters such as Whole Foods. So we rest our case for now...

For additional comparison of offset providers, their prices and projects types you can also check out

No comments: