What Makes a Gold Standard Offset?

Updated: Aug 3, 2021

If you’re familiar with our carbon offset program (and if you’re not, click here to learn more!), you’ve already read about our decision to offer only Gold Standard offsets to partnered companies. But we thought you might want to know what factors make an offset Gold Standard certified. Offsets must meet specific criteria regarding their level of positive impact on local communities, compliance with the United Nations sustainable development goals, and the degree of additionally.

But what is additionality? Additionality refers to the level of separation between the organization’s usual business practices and those involved in the offset. There must be an assurance that the program being funded creates further carbon reduction from their standard output so that there is an actual benefit to the environment, rather than financing companies to achieve results they could produce regardless. Most Gold Standard offsets involve energy, whether that is increased efficiency or transition to renewable sources. Current Gold Standard offsets are primarily located in Majority World countries to encourage the implementation of eco-conscious energy technologies within these areas, mitigating the need for the harmful options that have been previously available. The emphasis on energy is also in place because these technologies will create the longest-lasting and most adoptable avenue for carbon reduction. Other programs, such as tree planting, are incredibly localized. Energy is not limited by the scarcity of physical resources like land and infrastructure, meaning plans can extend throughout different regions. With all of the offsets offered on the market, each differs in its long-term effectiveness, and many may create negative externalities over time. It is incredible to see people trying to make positive change, but not if the effort is misused to create insignificant effects on the environment. The Gold Standard was implemented to highlight the quality of an offset and ensure that individuals volunteering in offset programs can choose those that make measurable differences.

By partnering with Less, a division of Bullfrog Power, we can offer Gold Stanard offsets. As a result, Freightzy can confidently say that each company within the carbon offset program makes a genuine, positive difference. Currently, we are funding three Gold Standard offset projects:

1. San Miguel Biogas Project, Amphor Tha Muang, Thailand

This project converts captured biogas (gaseous fuels) into energy, decreasing methane emissions within the region. This project is expected to mitigate around 87,990 tonnes of CO2e annually.

2. Municipal Solid Waste Treatment Plant, Cu Chi district of Vietnam

This project is helping to convert organic material into usable compost for local farmers. The plant also captures methane gas. Since its establishment, the plant has created more than 800 jobs and releases 53,570 tons of organic output per year, which can be utilized to fertilize fields. The project is also expected to reduce total CO2 emissions by 182,000 annually.

3. Yingxin Glassworks Waste Heat to Energy, Hebei, China

This project utilizes advanced U.S. technology to reduce emissions associated with glass production, avoiding 67,000 tCO2e annually. In addition to climate action, the project aligns with four other UN sustainable development goals through creating jobs, increasing education, ensuring safe working conditions and generating renewable electricity at an annual rate of 76,000 MWh.