The CSR Newsletters are a freely-available resource generated as a dynamic complement to the textbook, Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility: Sustainable Value Creation.

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Thursday, January 26, 2023

Strategic CSR - Carbon offsets

I would categorize the article in the url below under the heading of 'least surprising stories of 2023':

"The forest carbon offsets approved by the world's leading provider and used by Disney, Shell, Gucci and other big corporations are largely worthless and could make global heating worse, according to a new investigation."


"The research into Verra, the world's leading carbon standard for the rapidly growing $2bn (£1.6bn) voluntary offsets market, has found that, based on analysis of a significant percentage of the projects, more than 90% of their rainforest offset credits – among the most commonly used by companies – are likely to be 'phantom credits' and do not represent genuine carbon reductions."

The graphic in the article presents the same information in more dramatic terms:

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the story is that the lead word of the title is "Revealed," suggesting some counterintuitive investigative reporting that shakes the foundations of our existing belief system. While real reporting no doubt produced the data (and it is always good to have evidence to support an argument), the idea that this is a surprise will be news only to those who have not been paying attention:

"The analysis raises questions over the credits bought by a number of internationally renowned companies – some of them have labelled their products 'carbon neutral,' or have told their consumers they can fly, buy new clothes or eat certain foods without making the climate crisis worse. But doubts have been raised repeatedly over whether they are really effective."

Who knows, next they will be 'revealing' that we are going to miss the 1.5 degree Celsius Paris Accord target or that, even more shocking, all the 2050 carbon neutral commitments by companies and countries are going to be harder to achieve than our leaders have previously suggested. Stay tuned for more revealing stories about how we are in a much worse state than previously believed.

Take care

David Chandler
© Sage Publications, 2023

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Revealed: more than 90% of rainforest carbon offsets by biggest provider are worthless, analysis shows
By Patrick Greenfield
January 18, 2023
The Guardian