41 BACK TO NAVIGATION RENEWABLE ELECTRICITY AND CARBON OFFSETS A carbon offset, sometimes also called a carbon credit, is generated from an activity that prevents, reduces or removes greenhouse gas emissions from being released into the atmosphere. In addition to investing in energy efficiency through office fit outs, ICT equipment and operational changes, firms can purchase these offsets or renewable energy to make up for emissions that occur through their business operations. To become carbon neutral, firms must calculate their emissions and reduce these emissions as much as possible before purchasing carbon offsets equivalent to the remaining emissions. This process results in emissions being offset and leads to net zero emissions or being carbon neutral. Many carbon offset projects deliver a range of positive outcomes in addition to emission reductions and by purchasing offset units, organisations can support social, environmental or economic outcomes. • Environmental co-benefits include supporting the maintenance of habitat for native animal and plant species, avoiding clearing of vegetation and re-establishing vegetation on previously cleared areas. • Social co-benefits include employment for local people through managing the project, reduced social welfare, and providing health and educational improvements. • Economic co-benefits arise from the income generated from the sale of offset credits. This income is delivered to the communities in which the project is located through employment and community support. Several our member firms who have sought NCOS accreditation (or seek ‘carbon neutrality’) often purchase a greater number of carbon offsets than are documented in this report. This is because, as part of NCOS accreditation, firms must include carbon emissions from additional sources (such as hotel accommodation, travel to and from work etc) which are not calculated in AusLSA’s reporting. 2018 AusLSA Member Performance There has been a steady increase of AusLSA members who purchase these additional offsets over the past five years. Notably, however, the number of firms who purchase renewable electricity has been decreasing in favour of purchasing offsets, which is due to the decreasing cost of offset purchases and the additional social benefits that are also often derived from the generation of these offsets. Six firms purchased offsets this year compared to five firms in 2017. Only one AusLSA member reported purchasing renewable electricity. AusLSA members are offsetting almost one quarter of total emissions. Increases in the total greenhouse gas emissions offset have also increased steadily since 2014 increasing sixty-six percent during this time. The following graph shows the gross purchases of green power and offsets for all member firms. GREEN POWER AND OFFSETS All firms C02 -e 40,000 35,000 30,000 25,000 20,000 15,000 10,000 5,000 0 30,876 36,127 30,352 19,932 12,259 2017 2016 2018 2015 2014 GREEN POWER AND OFFSETS as a % of Total Emissions 2014 30.0 25.0 20.0 15.0 10.0 5.0 0.0 2015 2016 2017 2018 19.5 14.2 21.7 21.0 24.5 Note: the data values in these charts have been restated from previous years, the reasons for which are stated above.