Ask G

Ask G: What to look for in a carbon offsetter

There are a lot of choices when it comes to offsetting travel.

Dear G, I'm sold on offsetting my travel but I'm not quite sure how to go about it and what to look for in an offsetter. What do you recommend?


Credit: iStockphoto

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There are so many choices now when it comes to offsetting travel.

Many airline and tour operator have built-in offset links on their websites: Qantas, Virgin Blue, World Expeditions, Peregrine Adventures and STA Travel, just to name a few.

Some tour operators add offset fees to their fares, making it easier than ever to travel with a green conscience.

Choosing your own offsetter can be a good idea, particularly if you are sceptical about tree-planting schemes and would prefer an offsetter who is investing in green energy, say, or waste composting.

Search for offsetters and make sure that any alternative energy programs they support comply with the CDM (Clean Development Mechanism - part of the Kyoto Protocol) Gold Standard for carbon credits.

That way you can be sure that the money you're paying is being used to create a real reduction in carbon emissions.

According to Carbon Offset Watch, a ranking system of carbon offset organisations, Climate Friendly; Cleaner Climate, Climate Positive, Southern Metropolitan Regional Council (SMRC); and the Carbon Reduction Institute are 'outstanding' carbon offsetters.

When you're happy with your choice, all you have to do is enter a few details online: where you're flying from, where you're flying to, and your credit card details.

Some offsets are cheaper than others; go with what makes sense for you, and what you can afford. Doing something is better than not neutralising your travel at all.

And remember, when you travel for business, carbon offsets are tax deductible.