The credibility of carbon offsets seems to be challenged everyday regarding whether corporations are really becoming carbon neutral by buying them, or by how much difference offsets really make.
Three experts on carbon offsets recently came together at the Aspen Ideas Festival in late June to discuss the issue. Panelists included Bill Leslie, CEO of Soli Solutions, Kristina Friedman, Head of Global Environmental, Social, and Governance Strategy at PayPal and Linda Kelly, SVP of Programs & Partnerships at Carbonfund.org.
The panel session, entitled “Understanding Carbon Offsets: Benefits, Pitfalls and What Will Really Facilitate Net-Zero,” was moderated by Greg Gershuny, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Energy and Environment Program. He was previously Associate Director and Chief of Staff for the US Department of Energy Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis, and before that served in the White House under President Barack Obama as Director of Energy and Environment for the Office of Presidential Personnel.
There are many key takeaways from the session, including:
- “We want to make sure we’re working with verified partners that can make sure that. The projects that we’re funding are transparent, … verified.” Kristina Friedman, PayPal
- It “fundamentally comes down to companies thinking about carbon offsets in the context of brand and brand equity. They start not thinking about it as just a supply chain price equation. They start thinking about what is this mean for my brand.” Bill Leslie, Soli Solutions
- “What we’ve seen working with marketing is by attaching offsets and the projects to brand equity. All of a sudden the consumers start caring about scope 3.” Bill Leslie, Soli Solutions
- “It really is about empowering the consumer to make the choice and having them understand and know what’s available to them.” Kristina Friedman, PayPal
- “Businesses can get a return on the investment, which then they can further invest in more offsets and other technologies and hopefully spur this whole dynamic marketplace in carbon that we need.” Bill Leslie, Soli Solutions
In addition to Leslie’s participation on the panel, Soli Solutions was an underwriter of the Aspen Ideas Festival.
Below is the link to the “Understanding Carbon Offsets : Benefits, Pitfalls and What Will Really Facilitate Net-Zero” session: https://www.aspenideas.org/sessions/understanding-carbon-offsets-benefits-pitfalls-and-what-will-really-facilitate-net-zero