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Carbon offsets

What is a carbon offset?

Carbon offsets represent the reduction, removal, or storage of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, to neutralize the emissions of these gases made somewhere else. The terms ‘carbon credits’ and ‘carbon offsets’ are often used interchangeably, though have a significant difference: a carbon credit represents ownership of one metric tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent that can be traded, sold, or retired. A carbon offset, on the other hand, is a verified reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, generated from carbon projects such as the ones we support.

WHERE DO YOUR CARBON OFFSETS COME FROM?

We source all of our offsets from Australian projects that improve land-use and agriculture to reduce emissions. These projects can include growing trees, avoiding land clearing, and regenerative farming methods. Our dream is that reducing Australia’s emissions can also improve conditions for Australian farmers and regional communities, as well as rebuild healthy soils, plant life, and important ecosystems that plans and animals depend on.
You can see exactly which projects we support here.

How are offsets created?

One of the most effective ways to reduce carbon emissions is through carbon offsets. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions can be offset through environmental projects such as carbon sinks, which are oceans, forests, lands, and other natural resources that can absorb carbon out of the atmosphere. Our offsets are created through projects that are developed in partnership with farmers, Traditional Owners and other land managers in Australia. The projects we support protect and regenerate native forest.

How do projects work?

The carbon projects we support are able to absorb carbon out of the atmosphere using natural carbon capturing methods. There are four main methods for capturing carbon, these are: Human Induced Regeneration, Savannah Burning, Bush Regeneration and Avoided Deforestationand Clearning.

Human induced regeneration projects involve a natural method of carbon sequestration that focuses on implementing environmentally-friendly land management practices on land for a period of 25 to 100 years.

Savanna Burning projects prevent the emissions caused by intense wildfires in Far North Queensland by running smaller, controlled burns that reduce the fuel that causes wildfires to spread. The emissions from the controlled burns are far lower than the emissions from a wildfire.

Regeneration projects regrow areas of native forest by changing land management practices and giving the forest the space it needs to grow. The resulting forests are protected and managed by landholders for between 25-100 years, creating new habitat for native wildlife.

Avoided Deforestation and Clearing projects protect areas of established native forest from clearing for up to 100 years. Australia is the only developed country still clearing forest at scale and Eastern Australia was recently identified as one of 11 global deforestation hotspots alongside the Amazon rainforest, so avoiding further deforestation in Australia is a critical climate action.

How do I know the offsets are real?

We thoroughly screen all the projects that we source from to make sure the ACCUs that we purchase and surrender on behalf of our customers are real and high quality.

All our projects are independently audited and verified, so you don't just need to take our word for it. The projects we source from are carefully monitored and measured at regular intervals to ensure they are delivering tangible results. This includes daily remote monitoring via satellite imagery which is backed up with quarterly reviews and on-ground field work to measure actual changes in vegetation. Independent auditors then take up to six weeks and 100 hours to analyse project data and carry out their own on-ground checks before ACCUs are issued. The projects we support provide high quality, high integrity carbon abatement that is real and additional. In other words, your car offset is real.

Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) are awarded to projects by the Australian Government via the Clean Energy Regulator after a detailed process of benchmarking, assessing outcomes and measuring results. The outcomes of each project are independently audited and verified before ACCUs are awarded.

Why should I buy offsets?

Carbon offsets are an easy and effective way to reduce your carbon footprint and contribute towards carbon reduction projects that build a greener Australia.

While making sustainable lifestyle choices and being eco-friendly is incredibly beneficial to reducing your footprint,  it’s more than likely you’ll still have a carbon footprint from direct and indirect emissions - one of the most common being emissions from car use.

Most of us have to drive a car. The vast majority of those cars are powered by fossil fuels and create carbon emissions by burning fuel. To reduce these emissions, we’d either have to stop driving or buy an electric vehicle. That’s not possible for lots of us, so to compensate for the emissions you produce, you can choose to offset. By offsetting, you are paying for an equivalent amount of emissions to be removed from the atmosphere, and therefore offsetting (or balancing) the emissions that you produce by driving your car.

DO CARBON OFFSETS REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE?

Yes. The scientific consensus is that carbon can be removed from the atmosphere and stored long-term in trees, grasses and soil. Carbon credits form part of all major global plans for addressing climate change, which is why it is usual to hear talk of reaching “net zero” emissions. The fact is, that all pathways to meeting the 1.5C global warming target set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change require large-scale carbon removal, which is exactly what our carbon offsets fund.

That being said, offsetting carbon emissions alone is not going to reverse climate change as it is a complex problem that requires a multitude of ways to solve it. We need a combination of reducing our carbon footprint and offsetting carbon emissions if we have any hope of reaching net zero. So while offsetting emissions is not as good as avoiding them in the first place, it is an important and effective action that individuals can do to take responsibility for their carbon footprint.

Aren’t offsets just greenwashing?

Not at all. High quality projects produce ACCUs from activities that deliver multiple
benefits beyond just the carbon offset. Our nature-based projects help regenerate the land and deliver environmental benefits such as improved biodiversity, water retention and soil health, as well as delivering investment in regional communities and creating local jobs. The ACCU is a way to put a price on the work that is needed to deliver all these benefits.

Shouldn’t we just reduce our carbon footprint instead?

Yes, that would be the ideal. But the fact is the solutions that will enable us to reach net zero aren’t there yet – electric cars being a good example. They are on their way, and people are starting to switch, but there are still millions of other cars out there that run on fossil fuels still being driven every day. It will take time for us to go entirely electric, so in the meantime we can reduce our emissions by offsetting.

YOUR OFFSETS COST MORE THAN SOME OTHERS I’VE SEEN. WHY IS THAT?

We set our prices so that we can choose high-quality, high integrity Australian carbon credits. There are many sources for carbon offsets, which use different methods and are run in different parts of the world. Australian credits aren’t the cheapest, and so our offsets may cost more than others.

IS THERE ENOUGH LAND TO USE TO ACTUALLY MAKE THIS WORK?

Yes, there is enough land that can be used to capture carbon using the natural methods that we support. Many people only think about “tree planting” projects, which can be limited by the availability of suitable land. It’s another reason that we use other land-use projects such as bush regeneration.

HAVE YOU CONSIDERED USING SEAWEED OR OTHER “BLUE CARBON” METHODS?

The scientific understanding of carbon capture is improving rapidly, and new methods are also developed all the time. “Blue carbon” such as algae and seaweed farming are exciting, and we might support these methods in the future.

WHY ARE OFFSETS MEASURED IN TONNES?

The main cause of global warming is the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This is measured in tonnes. You might not think about gases having a weight, but they do. One tonne of carbon dioxide takes up a lot of space: it's enough to fill over 30,000 party balloons!

Buying one tonne of carbon offsets means that you've paid for there to be one tonne less of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

WHY CAN I ONLY BUY OFFSETS BY THE HALF-TONNE?

We’re interested in real climate action that makes a difference, and we want you to focus on what really matters. Some carbon calculators can tell you exactly how many grams or kilograms of emissions you create. When it comes to offsetting, this is missing the point! We need to reduce emissions by billions of tonnes. So as part of getting used to thinking big, we're not thinking any smaller than half tonnes.

AM I BUYING CARBON CREDITS? CAN I SELL OR TRADE THEM?

When you buy a sticker, you are paying for Go Neutral to purchase the retirement carbon credits on your behalf. We do not buy or sell carbon credits, which are a financial product. Retiring (or "surrendering") a carbon credit means that it can no longer be bought or sold, and so it has been used.

Offsetting your Vehicle

What am I buying exactly?

You are buying a Go Neutral sticker which represents 3.2 Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) that have been purchased and retired on your behalf. Each ACCU represents one tonne of CO2 or CO2 equivalent emissions, so you’re purchasing 3.2 tonnes of CO2 removal.

Retirement means that that ACCUs are now out of circulation and can no longer be traded, therefore the CO2 that it represents has been truly removed.

Why 3.2 tonnes?

3.2 tonnes of CO2 emissions is what the average car in Australia produces each year – some produce less and others produce more. To make action easy, we’re happy to go with averages. If you want to calculate a more precise amount you can use our calculator.

DO I NEED TO OFFSET MY CAR EVERY YEAR?

Each sticker covers a year’s worth of emissions. If you’d like to stay carbon neutral, you need to buy more offsets (and a new sticker) each year. We'll remind you when it's time to renew!

IF I OFFSET MY CAR, DOES THAT MEAN I CAN DRIVE AS MUCH AS I LIKE?

The only thing better than balancing your emissions is reducing them! That means driving as little as you can.

DO I NEED TO WORK OUT MY CAR'S EMISSIONS?

No, you don't need to work out your car's emissions in order to buy a Go Neutral sticker. Just go with the average amount!

We want to help you take climate action as easily and simply as possible. Offsetting slightly less or more than your exact emissions is way better than nothing.

That being said, if you want to offset your car's yearly emissions based on its fuel economy and annual mileage, you can use our calculator here.

I HAVE AN OLD CAR THAT USES A LOT OF PETROL. CAN I GO NEUTRAL?

Yes! No matter what you drive, or how much you drive, you can take responsibility for your emissions by going neutral. When it's time for you to change what you drive, you can reduce your emissions (and your fuel costs) by choosing a car that's more fuel efficient - or even an electric car.

I HAVE A MOTORBIKE OR A SCOOTER, CAN I BUY A GO NEUTRAL STICKER?

You sure can! The stickers have been designed for car windscreens, so may not be very suitable, but the offsets work just fine. You can calculate motorbike missions using our calculator, or use the car average.

I HAVE AN ELECTRIC CAR, DO I NEED A STICKER?

Unless you use only renewable energy (either your own from solar, or by signing up to a green energy plan from your energy retailer), you still create emissions when you charge your electric car. You can go neutral in two ways: you can buy a Go Neutral sticker, or change your energy supply to be emissions-free. Thanks for driving electric!

WHICH IS BETTER, AN ELECTRIC CAR OR A CARBON NEUTRAL PETROL CAR?

Electric cars create lower emissions over their lifetime than petrol or diesel cars. No exhaust means no air pollution, helping us have cleaner skies and better health. If you use renewable energy to charge your car, it can be truly zero emissions. So if buying an electric car is an option for you, it will in general make a bigger difference than offsetting emissions from a fuel-burning car.

Stickers and orders

WHERE SHOULD I PUT MY STICKER?

We designed the stickers to look great on your car’s windows. We suggest you put it on your rear window or rear side window. It’s not recommended to put it on your car’s paintwork.

DO I NEED TO PUT THE STICKER ON MY CAR?

It’s up to you! Putting the sticker on your car tells you and everyone else that you’ve taken responsibility for your emissions. It will also help spread the word and encourage others to go neutral, too. We hope that it will help you feel great about making a difference!

HOW DO I TAKE THE STICKER OFF?

Peel the sticker off from one side, pulling it back over itself. You may need to clean the window with warm, soapy water afterwards.

DO YOU HAVE OTHER STICKER DESIGNS?

We have just the one design right now. If it doesn’t work for you, please get in touch and tell us why!

HOW LONG WILL MY ORDER TAKE?

We print our stickers in batches, on demand. This keeps our overheads low and means that more of your money goes to carbon offsets.
It may take a few weeks to receive your sticker. You’ll receive an email when your order is fulfilled. If you have any concerns about your order, you can contact us.

CAN I GIVE GO NEUTRAL STICKERS AS GIFTS?

Yes! Go Neutral stickers make great gifts. We don't send receipts with our stickers, so if you like you can send them directly to the recipient. You'll get the receipt, and also reminders to renew for next year.

We make it easy to share your gift virtually, too. Find out more about giving stickers as gifts.

I USED A DIFFERENT CALCULATOR AND WANT TO BUY A GO NEUTRAL STICKER AND OFFSETS, IS THAT OK?

Absolutely! There are lots of different calculators out there, and you can learn a lot about your carbon footprint by using them.
Once you know how much you’d like to offset, you can choose your own amount to offset.

CAN I OFFSET EVEN MORE?

Thanks for your enthusiasm! We’re going to offer more ways to offset your footprint in the future. For now, you can get in touch with us directly.

MISC

Is Go Neutral a registered charity?

No, we are a profit for purpose company. We believe that real environmental change needs real investment rather than relying on kindness and donations. Our ambition is to have a huge impact on climate change, and we believe the best way we can do that is by building a great business.

Can my business become Carbon Neutral with Go Neutral?

We can help you purchase offsets, but we can’t certify you as carbon neutral. If you’d like to be able to say that your business is carbon neutral, please take a look at the ClimateActive program. Until then, by avoiding, reducing, and offsetting your emissions you are already taking some positive steps to become a more environmentally friendly company.

I DON’T LIVE IN AUSTRALIA, CAN I STILL BUY A STICKER?

Yes! Climate change is a global challenge, so we all need to do our part. We’re starting with Australian carbon projects, but we all share the one atmosphere, so the carbon offsets still work no matter where in the world you are. International orders may take a little longer to arrive, and there is a small shipping charge.

WHERE DOES MY MONEY GO?

From an average car sticker, between 71 and 84 percent of your purchase amount is spent on the retirement of carbon credits, and GST. Go Neutral uses the remainder of the proceeds to realise our vision of a better future, by raising awareness, developing new products, and keeping Go Neutral operating.

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