Corporations are slowly starting to adopt the practice of ‘insetting’ as opposed to offsetting their emissions, but a recent report casts doubts over its transparency.
Insetting, while there is no exact definition for it, is a term that broadly describes the practice of a company offsetting its CO2 emissions by removing and reducing carbon dioxide along its own supply chain.
This is as opposed to offsetting, which is when a company would offset its carbon footprint by paying for the removal or avoidance of emissions via external projects.
A prominent example of a company choosing the route of ‘insetting’ is Nestlé, which has chosen to plant millions of trees in and around its coffee plantations.
The world’s top food and beverage conglomerate reasons that this approach not only ensures CO2 is captured from the air, which generates carbon credits, but it also supports local workers and benefits the environment by reducing water reliance and protecting crops.
While this alternative approach to traditional offsetting is gaining momentum, a critical report from a German campaign group called the NewClimate Institute (NCI) claims insetting to be no different than offsetting.
In fact, the report says that insetting is plagued by the very same integrity and transparency issues that carbon offsets have come under fire for, especially recently with investigations like that from The Guardian.
“The impression is that offsetting has gained a bad reputation, so companies are moving to a different term to avoid criticism, rather than abandoning it altogether,” said Silke Mooldijk, co-author of the NCI report, “This distracts from the need for real emission reductions”.
The NCI report also criticizes the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTI), which is an NGO-supported watchdog for corporate climate targets, for ‘legitimizing’ insetting.