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So you think you can offset?
With all of the latest craze in emission reductions, it can be extremely difficult to decide where is best to place your company’s hard-earned cash when trying to mitigate your carbon footprint.
Nick Catania
Wednesday Oct 20th 2021 08:00
For many, the answer has traditionally been the ‘offset,’ or as MIT’s Climate Portal describes as “tradable certificates” that lower the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. The idea is that we can use some online platform, such as the one available through the United Nations, to just ‘fix’ our emission inconveniences with the swipe of a debit card for some random project in a foreign country, but the reality of our situation is much more dire.

To begin, why don’t we take this back a step and ask ourselves why we are so keen to jump for these options that often exists far outside the capacities and extensions of our own value chains? This is by no means to discredit the intent of the currently available programs because, of course, we are tackling this global situation together and need all the opportunities we can afford. Rather, this is just a means to directly call-out our own tendencies to take the ‘easy-way-out’ and leave some other people to handle our own problems.

But, the hard truth is that there is ‘no-one’ else. We all know that real internal systemic change is ubiquitously required to provide the climate mitigation results we are so ready to proclaim through the Paris Accords and at the upcoming COP 26 in Glasgow.

At ClimatePoint, we pose a shift in the question of offsets – Is it possible to aggregate our capital to implement and directly own projects that affect us on an everyday basis? Can we manufacture solutions that our employees and our customers can interact with? This would, after all, be something noteworthy to proclaim. If we are so concerned about our younger generations inheriting the pollution sins of generations, then shouldn’t we be doing everything we can to implement the best examples of solutions in our own back yards?

This is perhaps due to the lack of ownership that current platforms provide. Think about it – you swipe your card for offsets, you are ‘compensated’, and then you are done. Just as you would buy a snack out of a vending machine, there is generally no connection beyond your instant gratification.

Now, imagine, if you entered your payment, and then you become an owner of the solution? Beyond this, imagine if it means that you could experience this solution within your own community. No longer would that payment be a ‘one-and-done' option, rather it would be an investment that keeps on generating “tradable certificates” as dividends directly visible by you and your neighbours.

The same way a portfolio grows with shareholder distributions, your investment produces a return on carbon (ROC) that is shared with the world. The difference is subtle, but obvious. Just as we are more conscious of taking care of the items we own, than the ones we rent, we are likely to feel the same way about these mitigation projects that can benefit our own regions and living environments.

At ClimatePoint, we recognize our investment solution for climate action as just this. We offer a mitigation tactic to harness the collective capital of companies who do not have the resources of Microsoft, Google, or Amazon. We are building bridges to finance the sustainable technology solutions that are required to repair our 200+ years of bad habits. This form of ownership is essential to meet our climate targets of 2030, 40, 50, and beyond, and we must engage with financing to be able to integrate and scale these technologies accordingly.

Today, many corporations are leaning towards the emission pathways promoted by the Exponential Roadmap Initiative and the UN Race To Zero. They offer inspiring models that have already been adapted by many prominent corporations throughout the world. We consider ourselves among this group of ‘innovators, transformers, and disruptors’ permitting direct responsibility of sustainable initiatives.

However, with the fruition and growth of our portfolio companies, we also recognize the need to streamline the implementation of the ‘fruits of our labor.’ Here we return to the opening predicament of the ‘offset.’ The difference now is clearly that we need to ‘own’ our offsets, and ’compensate’ with the solutions provided by our ‘own’ investments. Hence, promoting and contributing to the ideally endless cycle of a circular economy and growing the habit of product regeneration and upcycling. ‘Ownership’ is responsibility and attention to this detail could very well be the key catalyst to achieving our ambitious climate goals.

The ‘offset’ space is undoubtedly an important one. There are so many ‘flavors’ to choose from and maybe there is a particular project in a specific location that you feel emotionally inspired to support. - This type of personal evaluation is obviously at your own discretion and is emotionally valuable. The important thing is to realize that now a seemingly haphazard approach can be re-imagined to accommodate your own value chain. The next time you check an account for your emissions, know that ClimatePoint is here to help you navigate the climate mitigation space and offer you a unique investment opportunity that is otherwise unavailable anywhere else. So you think you can offset? The answer is undoubtedly ‘yes,’ but it’s your strategy that counts. There is a place for offsetting, but only after your active investment options have been exhausted.

Where do you want your hard-earned cash allocated to climate change mitigation? The answer to this should be ‘where your capital can have the most impact.’ There are many uncertainties on the road ahead, but we’re confident that we are bringing together the smartest minds to lower the risk for everyone and maximize our opportunities for the greatest future of sustainability. We are in this together and have built a mechanism for everyone to succeed. Transparency, clarity, and trust are key values embedded within our methodology and client care. When you succeed, we all succeed. This is what is unavoidable. There is an opportunity to take action today, so what do you want to do that’s worthwhile?
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