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Carbon Offsetting Rewards The Pocket And The Conscience

September 28, 2009Article by Ray Withers

We have all heard about carbon offsetting, on a country by country basis. A country that uses over its quota of carbon emissions buys carbon credits from a country that uses well under its quota.
However, carbon offsetting has been downsized and packaged up as an alternative investment product for consumers.

The system is simple: investors purchase a plot of land in a rainforest or protected area, which is worth a certain amount of carbon credits, 150 for example. Each credit counters the output of one metric tonne of greenhouses gasses. The person, family or entity then keeps the amount of credits they need to counter their consumption and sells the rest.

For example each British family outputs 18 metric tonnes of greenhouse gasses each year. So they would keep 18 credits, and sell off the other 132. According to a recent survey, 64% of British consumers are more likely to purchase from a company that says it has a low carbon footprint.The carbon credit scheme is potentially very rewarding both in terms of financial gain, and in terms of doing your bit for the environment. That is according to investment consultancy Property Frontiers.

The firm has recently added a carbon offsetting scheme to its portfolio, in which investors purchase a plot of land in the Costa Rican rainforest worth a certain amount of carbon credits. Minimum investment in the project is US$12,000 (£7,385) for a slice of land equivalent to 200 metric tonnes of ‘clean air’ to offset against greenhouses gases.

“Carbon credits allow lay investors to take part in an environmental project yielding high financial returns that is otherwise unavailable to them,” said Ben Jeffries a sourcing manager with the firm.

“Whether the investor keeps or sells them, either way a beautiful piece of the Costa Rican rainforest is preserved, along with the biodiversity it contains. It really is a chance to help save the planet for a relatively small sum of money,” he added.According to Barclay Capital, carbon will be the world’s biggest commodity market, and it could become the world’s biggest market over all.

“According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change avoided deforestation would cut emissions by up to 25 per cent, while almost every economic analysis of climate change shows it is one of the most important actions we can take,” said Abyd Karmali, global head of Carbon Emissions at Merrill Lynch.


Ray Withers

Ray has over 17 years’ experience in the international property market and bought his own first international property investment back in 2002. Aside from running Property Frontiers, Ray has been involved in residential, hotel, student and commercial property investment and development in both the UK and overseas and co-wrote "Where to Buy Property Abroad - An Investor's Guide". As Founder and Trustee of the Frontiers Foundation, Ray is directly involved with many of its projects to ensure they have a direct and tangible impact in individual communities across the globe. He is passionate about property, travelling, scouting out new opportunities and finding time to spend with his young family.
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