Voluntary emission compensation – one solution to climate change?

We here at istutapuita.fi are eager to develop both our own operations and those of the entire compensation industry. Therefore we were excited to participate in an event organized by the Forum for Environmental Information (Ympäristötiedon foorumi) last June. The name of the event was “Politiikkadialogi: Vapaaehtoinen päästökompensaatio – ratkaisu ilmastonmuutokseen?”, which translates into “Policy Dialogue: Voluntary emission compensation – one solution to climate change?” A wide range of speakers was invited to the event, representing service providers, customers, research organizations and the public sector. Topic-related opportunities and potential problems were therefore heard from many different perspectives. 

Compensation in Finland and abroad 

Because the common standards and legislations are yet to be implemented in the Finnish compensation market, companies operating in this line of business are largely responsible for implementing their compensation actions. At the event, the criteria for good compensation was highlighted, on which Istutapuita.fi also bases its operations:
 

  • Additionality: Emission reductions are additional if they would not have occurred in the absence of a market for offset credits. If the reductions would have happened anyway – without any prospect to sell carbon offset credits – then they are not additional. When it comes to the issue of additionality Istutapuita.fi takes measures that enable forest growth on peatlands, and no measures would be taken without the carbon compensation service sold.
  • Permanence is an integral part of a compensation project. Any project should primarily last at least 100 years. We are committed to growing our carbon sinks for at least 100 years which is the recommended time frame. Thereafter we will make plans based on what’s best for the environment.
  • Avoiding double counting means that the same emission reduction is not used more than once and that it does not create benefits in another emission reduction target. When a customer buys our seedlings, we will plant the corresponding number at our planting site. An external entity audits this part of our operations.
  • We can avoid carbon leakage in our operations because the forest we plant does not increase the need for felling elsewhere. That’s because from an industry perspective the peatlands retired from use are mainly wasteland./span> 
The need to introduce industry standards and laws for establishing industry ground rules emerged clearly in the discussions. Here at Istutapuita.fi, we have refined our operating model to meet the expectations of good compensation to the best of our ability. We base our operations strongly on transparency and measurability. In addition, we emphasize domesticity, tangibility and communicability. 

The fairness of compensation was discussed, raising the question of whether it is ethically acceptable to produce greenhouse gases in rich countries and focus compensation measures on poorer countries. The above-mentioned way might weaken the implementation of the emission reduction goals of poorer countries following the Paris climate agreement. We think that domesticity answers these questions superbly. 

The fairness of compensation was discussed, raising the question of whether it is ethically acceptable to produce greenhouse gases in rich countries and focus compensation measures on poorer countries. The above-mentioned way might weaken the implementation of the emission reduction goals of poorer countries following the Paris climate agreement. We think that domesticity answers these questions superbly. 

Especially consumers might consider compensation a difficult concept to understand. We have therefore tried to make our service as tangible and transparent as possible. The more people understand the potential of compensation in the fight against climate change, the more we can achieve together. It must, however, be noted that compensation alone is not enough to solve climate change. Other measures are needed as well. We have therefore recently expanded our service to cover emission calculations and emission reduction measures for organizations. 

View the recording of the event here (in Finnish). 

Contact us

Do you want to find out how your company can offset its carbon dioxide emissions and participate in our carbon sink project? Send us a message and we'll get back to you as soon as possible or call Timo on +358 40 485 6607.

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