The principle

The underlying principle of carbon offsetting is that the impact of 1 tonne of carbon dioxide emitted in one place can be neutralized by sequestration Long-term storage of the CO2 away from the atmosphere (in forests, oceans, etc.) go to glossary or the reduction of another tonne of carbon elsewhere.

Each tonne of GHG avoided by an offset project, expressed in tonnes of CO2 equivalent Unit of measurement common to all greenhouse gases go to glossary (CO2-eq), is certified through the issue of one carbon credit.

By purchasing these carbon credits Unit corresponding to one tonne CO2-eq avoided on an offset project. go to glossary , individuals, businesses, local authorities or events can voluntarily offset all or part of the emissions they have been unable to reduce.



A word of warning

Carbon offsetting
is subject to very strict rules :


Maesurability :

A methodology Method of calculating GHG savings achieved as a result of the project. It is approved by an independent third party. go to glossary validated by an independent third party must be used to account for avoided GHG emissions.

Verifiability :

The GHG savings achieved by the project must be verified by an independent auditor on an annual basis.

Permanence :

GHG emissions must be avoided for at least seven years.

Additionnality :

The project must help to avoid GHG emissions compared to a baseline scenario. The project owner must also prove that project implementation would have been impossible without the income from the sale of the carbon credits.

If these criterias are not met, the use of carbon offsetting
term can be questioned.



on which emissions can be offset

Projects may be of different sizes and implemented in different geographical areas. This explains the variation in carbon credit prices, which range from €0.50 to €30.
Due to the historical predominance of the offsetting mechanism known as the CDM Clean Development Mechanism, - Offsetting mechanism between an industrialized country and a developing country set up under the Kyoto Protocol. go to glossary many projects are carried out in developing countries.
Outside the CDM, standards dedicated to voluntary offsetting have been developed to ensure compliance with certain rules.

En savoir
on carbon offset projects implemented in developping countries

Although most offsetting carbon projects tend to relate to energy (fossil fuel replacement, enhanced energy efficiency, development of renewable energies, etc.), there are particularly large numbers of forestry projects (combating deforestation, reforestation, etc.) in developing countries. Finally, emissions can be offset in your home area due to the emergence of offset projects within developed countries under the Joint Implementation JI is a mechanism for offsetting between one industrialized country and another set up under the Kyoto Protocol. go to glossary .

En savoir
on carbon offset projects implemented in developped countries

Les acteurs de la compensation carbone

De nombreux acteurs spécialisés interviennent sur la chaîne de la compensation carbone.

De la mise en œuvre du projet carbone en France ou dans un pays en développement jusqu’à l’annulation d’un crédit carbone sur un registre, chacun de ces acteurs a un rôle précis et des compétences complémentaires.

Les labels, consultants et auditeurs gravitent autour du projet qui doit in fine délivrer des crédits carbone. Ce projet a besoin d’un développeur et d’un porteur, qui peuvent d’ailleurs être la même organisation.

Les crédits carbone, avant d’être annulés pour faire valoir une compensation, peuvent passer entre plusieurs mains et être valorisés de façon différentes. L’acheteur final – entreprises, particulier ou collectivité – a toute la liberté de demander transparence dans l’origine et la traçabilité de sa compensation carbone.