Carbon Offsets
Case Study

The Climate Registry affirms: RECS and Offsets are an Important Decarbonization Tool

A small organization with a worldwide reach, The Climate Registry (TCR) is a non-profit that designs and operates greenhouse gas reporting programs across the globe and consults with governments worldwide on all aspects of GHG measurement, reporting, and verification.

Measurement is the first step

“Before looking for ways to reduce your climate impact, you need to understand your baseline,” says David Rosenheim, executive director of The Climate Registry. To that end, TCR has created a General Reporting Protocol that provides guidance and consistency in reporting on emissions and emission reduction or mitigation tactics such as renewable energy certificates (RECs) and carbon offsets.

Like its member companies, TCR annually measures its own GHG emissions. And, not surprisingly, given its mission, TCR is continually looking for ways to reduce its carbon footprint. But with a large portion of their emissions coming from business travel, their options were limited.

The role of RECs and offsets in the decarbonization toolkit

First, TCR looked to reduce their emissions as much as possible, using tools and policies like video conferencing and telecommuting.  For those emissions that can’t be eliminated, the organization sees the use of RECs and offsets as a best practice.

Based on a recommendation from their policy team, in 2015, for the first time, they purchased RECS and offsets to cover their scope 1 emissions (these are direct emissions from sources owned and controlled by the company) and market-based scope 2 emissions (which are from purchased electricity, heat or steam) as well as their business and commuting travel emissions.

air travel

“With aggressive decarbonization goals needed to address climate change, RECs and offsets have to be part of the answer – efficiency is not enough,” says Rosenheim.

To ensure that the products are high quality and legitimate, it is important to purchase verified RECs and offsets from a reputable source. When TCR was ready to buy, they turned to 3Degrees and selected Green-e Climate certified offsets and Green-e Energy certified RECs.

“We knew our purchases in particular would receive lots of scrutiny. That’s why we chose to buy from 3Degrees. They are a leader in the industry and set the bar high in terms of quality and integrity.”

Small businesses are an important part of the solution

As a small organization, TCR’s overall emissions are relatively modest.  But big or small, what each company does matters, according to Rosenheim.

“Being a responsible corporate citizen is not just the purview of large organizations. Small businesses have an important role to play in combating climate change, as almost half of all private sector employment and output comes from small businesses. These businesses are making decisions that impact our energy and fuel systems. At the aggregate and individual level, it is meaningful.”

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