More than 90% of the world’s leading carbon offsets provider’s rainforest offset credits are likely to be “phantom credits”.
A nine-month investigation by the Guardian, Die Zeit and SourceMaterial has revealed that the forest carbon offsets approved by Disney, Shell, Gucci and other big corporations are largely worthless and could even worsen global heating. Analysis of Verra, the world’s leading carbon standard for the rapidly growing voluntary offsets market, has found that more than 90% of their rainforest offset credits are likely to be “phantom credits” and do not represent genuine carbon reductions.
This finding is deeply concerning and raises serious questions about the efficacy of the credits purchased by these companies. Many of these corporations have publicly advertised their products as “carbon neutral” or have claimed that their customers can buy certain products without contributing to the climate crisis. Unfortunately, the Guardian, Die Zeit, and SourceMaterial investigation has revealed that these claims are largely unfounded.
Verra strongly disputes the conclusions of the investigation, citing concerns with their methodology and accuracy. Additionally, Verra points to its successes since 2009, in which billions of dollars have been allocated to the crucial task of forest conservation.
The findings of this investigation have far-reaching implications for the carbon offsets market.
▪ Text: This piece was first published in PMP Magazine on 18-Jan-2023.
▪ Cover: Flickr/Ministerio de Defensa del Perú. - Alto Mayo Protected Forest. (Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)