Prevention vs Cure

I was recently having a conversation with a Travel Agent about the growing requirements of his corporate customers for emissions figures for each flight.  While he was not opposed to the greater accountability of these companies it did place quite a burden on his time to gather all the information without necessarily being compensated.  The reason for requiring the additional info was mainly to ensure the correct offsets were being made/purchased.

This got me thinking about offsets and whether they are really being used correctly.  I know it is an easy way for many companies to become carbon neutral (and I certainly commend their efforts) but I believe it should only be employed once carbon abatement strategies have been significantly deployed within the company’s own operations.

There are so many offsets available internally (particularly in the areas of waste energy) within most businesses.  I believe more credit should be given to companies who generate their own offsets by stream-lining operations particularly in the area of energy efficiency.  If this was done the company may even find the greater efficiencies actually save them money and the need to burden the end-user with expensive external offsets may be reduced or eliminated.

The ‘prevention’ strategy of internal energy efficiency should be employed before the ‘cure’ strategy of external offsets.

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