For marketers of carbon dioxide offsets, credibility is everything — I’ve noted the potential for fraud inherent in green tags, as have others, so the industry has worked hard to create certification processes that ensure consumers’ payments go to legitimate activities such as renewable power generation, tree planting, and forest preservation and restoration. One of the major certifiers of offsets, Green-e, has announced the formation of a new Advisory Group to create even stronger mechanisms for certifying green tags as legit:
The Green-e Program is developing this new certification standard to provide consumer protection and market support to the growing retail carbon reduction market and the growing number of consumers who recognize carbon as a main ingredient in greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. The Green-e Greenhouse Gas Advisory Group is providing important policy, scientific and market guidance to the development of the standard. The group represents many key environmental organizations, government agencies, businesses, and advocacy groups who work on climate change issues including: Interface Fabrics, Natural Resources Defense Council, TerraChoice, Vote Solar, and World Resources Institute. Climate change experts, Seth Baruch and Terry Surles will also participate.
Building on Green-e’s track record of developing consensus through stakeholder processes, this new standard will provide environmental and marketing criteria to carbon reduction products, resulting in increased consumer protection for the marketplace. “The voluntary retail market for carbon reductions provides an important pathway for individuals, businesses and institutions to reduce their greenhouse gas footprint and do something to combat climate change. This standard will provide a framework for the market to ensure consumers receive the high quality reductions they pay for, ” explained Jan Hamrin, Center for Resource Solutions president.
I suppose there will always be doubters about such products: I know the first time I ever showed an offset program to a friend, he gave me that “Boy, you’re naive” grin… Certified green tags provide the most convenient and affordable way for average consumers to offset their carbon emissions, so kudos to Green-e for taking this extra step to show consumers that such products do what they promise.