Carbon offsetting is a widespread tool in efforts to achieve net zero emissions, with many companies, organisations, cities, regions, businesses and financial institutions implementing some form of carbon offsetting as part of their climate strategies. However, current approaches to offsetting are unlikely to deliver the types of offsets needed to achieve global climate goals, and may create unintended negative impacts for people and the environment. Thomas Hale, Associate Professor in Public Policy (Global Public Policy) at the Blavatnik School of Government, has worked with a multidisciplinary team of researchers to develop The Oxford Principles for Net Zero Aligned Carbon Offsetting (or ‘The Oxford Offsetting Principles’) – a set of guidelines to help ensure offsetting actually contributes to achieving a net zero society.
The report highlights four key elements to credible net zero aligned offsetting, from encouraging organisations and institutions to prioritise reducing their own emissions first and ensure the environmental integrity of any offsets used, to shifting offsetting towards carbon removal and long-lived storage. The report also highlights the need for a credible approach to nature-based carbon offsets, such as forest restoration.
The Oxford Offsetting Principles is intended to provide a key resource for the design and delivery of rigorous voluntary net zero commitments by government, cities and companies, and to help align work on credible offsetting around the world.
Read the news story on the University of Oxford website.