Jet-Set Offset facilitates mileage-based donations to environmental organizations, not the direct purchase of carbon offsets or carbon credits. We have chosen this approach so that we can support the critical, mission based work of environmental nonprofits across the country. Projects that sell offsets on voluntary and/or mandatory carbon markets, while critical to energy transformation, are often for profit companies.
To better appreciate our donation-based model, it’s helpful to have a general understanding of the difference between carbon credits, carbon offsets, and renewable energy certificates (RECs).
Carbon credits, also known as carbon allowance, represent the legal right or permit to emit one ton of CO2. In most instances, such permits are issued to companies participating in a mandatory carbon market. If a company emits fewer tons of carbon than predicted, they can sell their carbon credits to other emitters through a regulated market.
A carbon offset also represents one ton of carbon, but it is the result of an actual reduction in greenhouse gas made through a voluntary project such as renewable energy development, methane and carbon capture, reforestation initiatives, etc. An offset project is “a specific activity or set of activities intended to reduce GHG emissions, increase the storage of carbon, or enhance GHG removals from the atmosphere. Carbon offsets can be sold on voluntary markets all over the world, but must pass strict verification processes to enter the market at a certain price per offset. This verification process is lengthy, research intensive, expensive, and can be cost prohibitive to smaller or nonprofit organizations.
Renewable energy certificates (RECs) are instrumentally different from carbon offsets. RECs are a financial tool associated with purchased electricity that help organizations and municipalities achieve clean energy goals. RECs are purchased from renewable electricity generators and are measured in megawatt hour. The purpose of RECs is to convey purchase power of renewable electricity, expand consumers’ electricity choices, support renewable electricity development, and bring more renewable electricity into municipal power grids.
Many of Jet-Set Offset’s partnering organizations will use Jet-Set Offset donations towards their carbon offset programs or for the purchase of carbon offsets and Renewable Energy Certificates.