Channel 4 programme looks at off-setting
Monday night’s (16th July) Channel 4 programme, Dispatches – The Great Green Smokescreen – looked at whether carbon off setting was an acceptable form of attempting to reduce CO2 emissions. The programme featured interviews with and comments from carbon offsetting companies including Climate Care and The CarbonNeutral Company, focusing on their work and some of the projects funded by carbon finance.
The disappointing aspect of the programme was its failure to suggest any positive actions that can be taken to combat climate change. It cast doubt, invited people to be confused, and we know that people can use confusion as a good reason not to act. A number of companies, however, have taken action. Corus has been working over a number of years to make Colorcoat HPS200® and Colorcoat Prisma® the most sustainable pre-finished steel products on the market. We recently launched a scheme called Confidex Sustain™ to provide the world’s first CarbonNeutral building envelope. As part of the offer, Corus has published detailed environmental product declarations covering both the pre-finished steel and the cladding systems they become part of. These assessments consider all environmental impacts from cradle to grave and provide a guide for developers to specify the most sustainable envelope solutions. Backed by a robust and fully traceable audit process Corus is using offsetting as part of the solution to encourage further specification of high performance pre-finished steel products, instead of commodity products that are inherently less sustainable.
Something the programme did highlight was that there is still a case to answer, and work to do to remove the doubt surrounding offsetting and galvanize the actions of people who support it. The challenge for those who promote and use carbon offsetting to tackle climate change is to do a better job of communicating its benefits and extending its effectiveness. This is something Corus, together with The CarbonNeutral Company is continuing to address. We believe it is vital to take action and unacceptable to do nothing. Carbon offsetting can work as part of an overall solution, when done well.