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What Are Carbon Offsets?

If I were the climate, I would simply cease changing.

If I were global, I would SIMPLY STOP WARMING.

But alas.

We’re not. So we do this thing called carbon offsetting. You’ve probably heard of it—but if you’re like most folks, you don’t know the details or how it actually contributes to managing climate change. That’s chill. We’ll tell ya.

What Is Carbon Offsetting?

Carbon offsetting is the process of offsetting carbon. Well. It’s the process of offsetting the impact of CO2, carbon dioxide, on our planet; in other terms, it’s the process of “neutralizing one’s carbon footprint.”

If you’re familiar with Al Gore, David Attenborough, Jane Goodall, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Neil Degrasse Tyson, etc., you’ll have heard before that carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring gas that exists in our atmosphere. Cool. It’s produced by stuff like normal exhalations—you breathe in some oxygen, you exhale, in part, CO2.

This is why the “carbon footprint,” or, how much CO2 you create, matters. In fairness, it matters less for individuals, but it matters in a huge way for corporations.

Luckily, there are some practices and technology that allow folks to offset that nasty carbon business. Generally these are tit-for-tat services; in the course of business, an organization knows it will generate many tonnes of CO2, which is bad. To counter, they will purchase carbon credits or other offsets; those funds, used to purchase the credits, go into that tech to essentially neutralize the initial carbon footprint.

In other words, you’d fly on a plane, but somewhere a tree would be planted to make up for it. The goal is carbon neutrality, or the point where the amount of CO2 you create is completely offset by green tech that stores or sucks CO2 out of our atmosphere.

Types of Carbon Offsetting and Carbon Credits: Spend to Save

There are a variety of ways to make use of carbon credits or carbon offsetting. Generally speaking, you can purchase a credit on your own, or you may find a retailer, service, or hopelessly devoted fintech company called Mogo offers them for free.

Of the former for example, you can google “purchase carbon credit,” pick a vendor, and give them some money to plant a tree as penance for your post-COVID Sweet-Sweet-Freedom-Road Trip this summer. Some of these vendors let you select the project you’d like to fund specifically, like One Carbon World. They fund projects like reforestation and new solar tech to offset current and future emissions. This is a fun treat for the philanthropist in all of us. Got an extra few bucks? Why not spend it on TREES???? Seriously!

Then you have us. Our MogoCard is all linked up with the REDD+ Amazon Forestry Project. Our model is different; you don’t need to purchase any credits—the cost is covered when you use the (free!) MogoCard. Yep, getting your spending under control and bolstering your contributions to our environment go hand in hand (figure 1).

Figure 1. Venn diagram evincing relationships and areas of overlap between engaging in typical and necessary consumer behaviour responsibly and supporting ecological development in service of offsetting potentially harmful future gaseous emissions.

The projects that Mogo backs with our carbon offset program benefit directly from your spending.

Right now, our project involves reforesting the Amazon rainforest, a literal miracle of a place severely harmed by clearcutting. Like it’s really not good. Needs more trees.

It’s that simple. Spend a dollar, offset a pound of CO2. That’s lit!

Our project protects 130,000 hectares of rainforest in part of the world home to 30% of the entire planet’s biodiversity. It’s managed with oversight from the Brazilian government, and will generate 634,000 tonnes of carbon offsets through its course. Remember, a tonne is 2,000 pounds, so…. That’s a total of 126,800,000 pounds of carbon offset when y’all buy sneaks with MogoCard. Read more about the project here!

How Does Spending Money Create Carbon Offsets?

Basically, part of our business model is such that when you use the MogoSpend card and continue to engage with our platform, we’re able to purchase credits within these programs at no cost to you.

We’re proud to say that we’re a 100% carbon neutral company.

One of our aspirations as a company is to get Canada carbon neutral by continuing to find innovative ways to help reduce and offset our overall environmental impact, while still providing you with the best products to help you achieve your financial goals.

So it really is catch free; when you use your MogoCard, you’re actively contributing to the fortification of the Amazon rainforest. You’re also gonna get sweet little notifications that keep you informed of your account balance and your total offsets generated.

This visibility helps you keep your spending on track, and helps us give back, together.

You + us = a great team! 🌍
PS. This post is an update to an old one. You can read the original here!


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