Turning organic waste into energy: how Oikocredit offsets its carbon footprint

Turning organic waste into energy: how Oikocredit offsets its carbon footprint

FCF Image 1_Cooking on biogas.jpg20 November 2018

Offsetting carbon is an important way for Oikocredit to contribute to climate change mitigation and protection of the environment. For almost a year now, Oikocredit has been working with FairClimateFund to offset its carbon footprint.

What is carbon offsetting?

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a greenhouse gas released into the atmosphere through activities like burning fossil fuels. High levels of carbon emissions contribute to global warming and therefore affect climate change.

Oikocredit not only works with partner organisations to have a positive environmental impact, but also believes it is essential to measure, mitigate and reduce its own carbon emissions produced through everyday operations.

Carbon offsetting compensates for these emissions by reducing the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide being emitted elsewhere.

Offsetting Oikocredit’s carbon footprint

Every year, carbon emissions produced by Oikocredit offices (e.g. the use of electricity, gas, paper and kilometres travelled) are calculated. Oikocredit has been offsetting its carbon footprint for several years, and this year started working with FairClimateFund (FCF) to compensate for these emissions by purchasing their Fairtrade Carbon Credits.

The amount of emissions put out in tonnes determines how many carbon credits Oikocredit needs to purchase in order to offset its carbon footprint. These credits then go towards carefully selected FCF projects that support those most affected by climate change: low-income small-scale farming communities.

Income from the credits covers costs involved in running the climate mitigation projects, and the farmers and communities receive a fair trade premium for each credit sold.

Watch this FCF video for a more detailed explanation on how this system works.

Biogas stoves turning waste into energy

FCF has a number of projects around the world. The one connected to Oikocredit is an initiative in Chickballapur district in the Indian state of Karnataka, one of the most underdeveloped areas in India.

Oikocredit’s purchase of carbon credits funds the installation of biogas stoves. Cow manure, organic and biomass waste are poured into an underground unit, which ferments and produces enough biogas for a family of four to five people to cook on a daily basis.

One household using a biogas stove for clean cooking for a year equals a reduction of around 2.7 tonnes of carbon emissions. So for example, the amount of carbon credits Oikocredit purchased based on its 2017 emissions of 1,173 tonnes, mean more than 400 families gain access to clean cooking on biogas.

Beyond reducing emissions, using cow dung and organic waste as fuel instead of wood and kerosene brings wider benefits, including:

- A significant amount of time and trees saved with no need for wood collection;
- No more harmful smoke indoors resulting in fewer health problems;
- Streets are cleaner as cow dung and organic waste are cleared;
- Money previously spent on the more expensive kerosene is saved;
- And the residual product from biogas, which is very fertile manure, can be used for agriculture.

Watch this FCF video for more on the project in India:

To learn more on how you can take action to offset your carbon footprint visit FairClimateFund.

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