Frequently Asked Questions
How do my consumer choices contribute to climate change?
Most of our interactions with other people involving the exchange of goods require some sort of energy or environmental resource as an input. Consider the apple you purchase at the grocery store: it has been cultured at a farm, most likely using machinery, and has been moved from the farm to the store. Then consider the extent to which many of the goods purchased in developed countries have traveled or been manufactured overseas. Almost every single purchase made in today’s economy has some level of carbon cost associated with it.
What can I do to reduce my carbon footprint?
There are many different ways an individual or business can reduce their carbon footprint. The tried and true method of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” is a great place to start. Cultivating a mindset that takes your decisions into account, such as questioning the need to drive for a single trip compared to walking or biking (or even owning a car!), will also help address your personal carbon footprint. It is virtually impossible to negate your entire carbon footprint through reducing the purchase of or reusing necessary goods.
How do carbon offsets work?
Carbon offsets basically provide a way for a person to put a price on their carbon footprint, and invest that same amount of money in a renewable energy project that takes carbon out of the atmosphere. By paying a price equivalent to your carbon footprint, you balance the carbon you emit through your economic choices with an equal amount of investment to pull or keep carbon out of the climate system.
What else can I do after purchasing offsets?
Energy is the major driver of climate change at this point, but only because energy usage is pervasive throughout the entire global economy. Your food, your computer, your phone, and even the books you read were all created and brought to you using some form of energy (most likely from fossil fuels). Therefore limiting the usage of energy, and energy-intensive goods, is the single greatest thing an individual can do.
Where do the 501Carbon offsets come from?
501Carbon offsets come from specific project types in developing countries. We currently offer offset packages that invest in projects that benefit people living in energy-poverty, such as providing methane-destructing biogas digesters to poor farmers in rural China, or efficient cook stoves to rural families in Uganda. 501Carbon works with our development partners at Umwelt Projekt Management to establish transparent offset supplies and continue our high quality standards moving forward.
How are the offsets provided by 501Carbon different?
Some offset providers will simply put up a wind farm instead of a coal plant and collect the difference in revenues through carbon offsets. Other providers may purchase offsets from a broker and have no idea where they come from. At 501Carbon, we work with the same project developers in rural areas of developing countries, and sell only Gold Standard verified offsets. The Gold Standard Foundation is a non-profit developed in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund that ensures each project using the Gold Standard name provides economic benefits for community stakeholders.
How is 501Carbon different than other organizations?
First, we are a non-profit offering the highest quality offsets possible through our uncompromising standards and our hands-on involvement in participating projects through our website. Some organizations have websites to sell high-quality offsets. Some of these organizations may only sell offsets that benefit poor communities or project participants. However, 501Carbon is the only organization that ensures our offsets meet these standards, but also come from projects that physically remove carbon and other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
How do 501Carbon products ensure social development in developing countries?
501Carbon or our development partners operate in every country where we source our offsets. In addition, 501Carbon requires that a measurable percentage of the project revenue be allocated to the local community prior to our participation or development of any project. On top of our doing business as usual, the Gold Standard offset verification process requires further additional layers of oversight and verification. Our own in-house verification combined with the Gold Standard Foundation means that every offset sold by 501Carbon is only the highest quality offset available.
What do I get when I purchase offsets from 501Carbon?
501Carbon is currently in the process of providing promotional materials and incentives to those who purchase a certain offset packages through our website. We plan to provide sustainably sourced clothing and other items displaying your commitment to reducing energy poverty. Businesses that offset over a certain amount with us receive a framed certificate that demonstrates their commitment. These certificates have the 501Carbon logo and can be displayed within storefronts or office spaces.
You are a non-profit. What if I just want to donate money to 501Carbon?
We will certainly accept donations in addition to offset purchases. These donated funds will be used for both programmatic and general purposes. Please see the link provided.
501Carbon is a 501c3 status non-profit. Does that mean my purchases are tax deductible?
Yes! In reality, your after-tax cost for purchasing offsets through 501Carbon will (depending on your tax bracket) be approximately 75% of the costs listed here.
How does 501Carbon figure out emission levels for various items?
It is extremely difficult and expensive to get accurate CO2 emission data from individual people. 501Carbon utilizes audited and verified US government data from various agencies to assign accurate carbon emission estimates to each of our offset products. Our process was designed to make your purchases as accurate and simple as possible.