Carbon offset schemes

How do you know they aren't just smoke and mirrors? We explain how they work.

New Zealand forest

Carbon offset schemes may ease your conscience. We explain how they work, compare 4 voluntary schemes, plus provide tips on how you can reduce your carbon footprint.

Last year, cycling historian and guidebook writer Jonathan Kennett organised the inaugural Tour Aotearoa. The tour had eager bike-packers from all over the world setting off from Cape Reinga with the aim of reaching Bluff inside 30 days.

The tour was a labour of love for Mr Kennett. He didn’t charge entry fees, instead requiring entrants to offset the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from their travel to and from the event.

UK entrants booking return flights to Auckland and transport in-country had to pay about $230 to Kiwi company Enviro-mark Solutions. By Enviro-mark’s calculations, the money compensated for more than 7000kg of greenhouse gas emissions per passenger spewed into the atmosphere during the 36,000km round trip.

Mr Kennett chose Enviro-mark because he rated the pedigree of its carbon offsets. It’s one of several companies offering consumers offsets. Air New Zealand and Jetstar also flog their own to passengers during online booking. But how can you be sure the money you spend on these schemes isn’t going up in smoke?

How it works

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Carbon credentials

Cutting your carbon

Voluntary carbon offsetting schemes

Enviro-mark Solutions

Jetstar Carbon Offsets

Ekos Rainforest Carbon Boutique

Air New Zealand Carbon Offsets

Verdict

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