As most companies’ climate claims are sometimes considered insubstantial and meaningless, they need to put extra effort to ensure their climate claims are not simply greenwashing techniques. Compensate – a Finnish non-profit organization working to enhance transparency and trustworthiness of the voluntary carbon markets issued a White Paper that aims to guide organizations in making robust climate claims.
The paper is called “Non-offset claims: How to make a robust climate claim?” and discussed how companies can make a different climate claim from traditional carbon neutrality and net zero claims.
Non-offset claims are referred to as climate claims saying a company’s climate action does not translate into an equivalency of specific emissions being offset. As Compensate explains, a company can take a climate action like supporting nongovernmental organizations or financing a carbon removal project but does not claim that this action translates into compensation for its emissions.
Non-offset claims help companies avoid greenwashing risks. According to Compensate’s white paper, however, making new claims is no silver bullet that automatically fixes the flaws in the carbon market and they should not compromise on the quality or integrity of the climate action.
The white paper aims to answer three key questions:
- How to choose the right claim – differences between offset and non-offset claims?
- What are the main reasons for a company to make a non-offset claim?
- How to make a robust non-offset claim?
“It is necessary to demand high integrity from non-offset claims, precisely as it is from conventional offset claims. Organizations should avoid repeating the mistakes and flaws in offsetting with new claims. They should set the bar high from the beginning,” commented Janne Rinne, Policy and Advocacy Lead at the Compensate Foundation who took part in the preparation of the white paper.
As an example, the paper also recommends that a robust non-offset claim includes measures like setting science-based climate targets and an internal carbon fee. It suggests that the same quality criteria applied to offsetting should also be applied to non-offset claims like additionality, reliability, permanence, etc. and exclude double counting.
Double counting could happen when an organization that is offsetting emissions and the project’s host country claim a carbon credit simultaneously.
Non-offset claims help companies be more transparent about the kind of climate action they take and avoid greenwashing narrative, however, we live at a time when decisive and ambitious emissions reduction actions have to be prioritized in companies’ net zero communication and implementation.