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Industry perspectives on carbon-offset programs in Canada and the United States

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Author(s): Rachel Dodds | Ilan Kelman | Natalie Thiesen | Alison McDougall | Joshua Garcia | Tim Bessada

Journal: Sustainability : Science, Practice and Policy
ISSN 1548-7733

Volume: 8;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 31;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: climatic change | mitigation | companies | market economy | greenhouse gasses | questionnaires

ABSTRACT
Carbon offsetting is often put forward as a possible mitigation strategy for climate change. This study examines carbon-offset businesses in Canada and the United States to better understand their standards, project types, and project locations and to determine their perspectives regarding the challenges of the carbon-offset industry. Twenty companies (a 40% response rate) agreed to a structured interview, although many were reluctant to share some information. Several salient themes emerged and are discussed in more detail: involvement of the hospitality and tourism industry, financial commitment, confusion in the marketplace, transparency, and needs for education. Implementation of three recommendations—covering standardization, education, and further engagement among the industry, its customers, and researchers—could reduce confusion and increase the transparency of carbon offsetting. Yet these changes might not help business since customers might decide that purchasing carbon offsets does little to address climate change.

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