Carbon Offsetting vs. Ecosystem Restoration


MAY, 2019

By Hanna Vinckers

Tree planting projects and initiatives are synonymous with carbon offsetting. So why do we prefer to look towards ecosystem restoration instead?

On an individual level, carbon offsetting offsets the impact you make in your daily life. This usually means offsetting the impact of your travel choices.

On a corporate level, carbon offsetting is often a legislative requirement. Many companies buy carbon credits to offset the impact of their business.

Since early 2006, carbon offsetting has become a popular way to give back to the environment. There are benefits, but often this simplified view can prevent the search for real solutions.

The BENEFITS of carbon offsetting are:
Benefits beyond carbon sequestration
Many of these projects can impact the local community through skills training and job creation.
It is a very simple process
It requires little to no action from the individual and is as easy as purchasing a tree or carbon credit online.
The CHALLENGES of carbon offsetting are:
Offsetting can distract from looking for real solutions
The carbon offsetting process is very easy. Companies can buy more carbon credits instead of reducing the impact of their operations.
Offsetting projects are located abroad
Companies often invest in offsetting projects abroad. Even though the impact of the emissions is in the direct surroundings of the company. The sequestration’s benefit is thus far removed from the companies’ operations. 
There is a lack of transparency
Most of the time you can’t track your donations. It can be very challenging to verify the impact of your donation.
There are many challenges to carbon offsetting. This is why we prefer to look towards ecosystem restoration, instead.
So what is ecosystem restoration?
Ecosystem Restoration is the process of assisting the recovery of an ecosystem that has been degraded, damaged, or destroyed (Definition by the Society for Ecological Restoration)
On the 1st of March this year, the UN General Assembly declared 2021 – 2030 the decade of Ecosystem Restoration. This decade is a global call to action. Ecosystems that are vital in providing food and agriculture, are declining rapidly.
The good news is, it is not too late to restore these ecosystems and fight climate change!
Although we don’t carbon offset, we still plant trees!
To date, Greenpop has planted over 100 000 trees. These trees are certainly sequestering carbon from the atmosphere. Yet, we have decided not to be an official carbon offsetter.
We still welcome the support of tree planting as a means of carbon “compensation.”
This allows people to acknowledge that trees have huge potential for climate mitigation. And also shows that trees do far more than sequester carbon.
Planting trees promotes biodiversity, provides homes for animals, recharges groundwater, prevents erosion and much more.
So join us, and help expand forests and restore ecosystems across Southern Africa!
Women in Sustainability: Meet our Head of Programmes, Zoë Gauld-Angelucci

Women in Sustainability: Meet our Head of Programmes, Zoë Gauld-Angelucci

For this year’s Women’s Day in South Africa, we want to introduce a woman in sustainability who inspires us daily. After earning a Master’s degree in Development Studies, she joined Greenpop in 2014. When she is not heading up programmes across Sub-Saharan Africa, you can find her spending time with her family, tending to her garden, practising Italian, and searching for the best pizza in the Mother City. Get to know Zoë Gauld-Angelucci!

15 Things You Can Do To Make A Difference On World Environment Day

15 Things You Can Do To Make A Difference On World Environment Day

World Environment Day is organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and has been held annually since 1974. The goal of the day of action is to promote environmental awareness and draw attention to crucial concerns around our planet’s survival, that require active engagement and commitment. Today, the day represents one of the largest global platforms for environmental action, with millions of participants from around the world. Each World Environment Day focuses on a specific issue that reflects urgent problems and challenges of our time, such as climate change, biodiversity loss or pollution.

Greenpop Foundation NPC is a registered non-profit organisation. Registration Number (NPO): 151-411 NPO.

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