Carbon Reduction & Offset

Carbon Neutral - The Avis Approach

On 01 September 2008, Avis Rent a Car South Africa achieved CarbonNeutral® certification, by reducing and offsetting its Greenhouse Gas emissions for all of its internal electricity and fuel consumption to net zero. Following decades of an already strong heritage of CSR initiatives, transformation and investment, the Avis Cares program has been extended to join the international drive in tackling climate change and other world sustainability challenges, thereby conserving our planet for future generations.

The Avis Carbon Neutral program in broad terms, ensures that we measure our own business carbon footprint, set targets to reduce it and offset the remaining emissions to net zero - in accordance with The CarbonNeutral Protocol, the global standard for CarbonNeutral® certification. Our footprint is measured in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and our carbon offset programme is managed by The CarbonNeutral Company, which is a founding member of the International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance (ICROA).

On 01 October 2011 Avis announced that they had committed to a two year contract with The CarbonNeutral Company, to extend their CarbonNeutral® certification to include waste, business travel emissions and other Scope 3 emissions that allows them to be a CarbonNeutral® company.

The information provided below, explains why and how Avis SA has approached and embraced carbon neutrality and the journey which it has set itself on as a result of this decision.

Avis' commitment is for the long term and carbon management is a key part of its business strategy. We've taken action because we believe it is the right thing to do and will continue to develop ways to minimise our impact on the environment, to help protect our planet for future generations.

Certified Carbon Neutral Company

Energy Usage Reduction

Like any other “production” like business, Avis consumes a lot of energy. With a 24 hour call centre, and turn-around facilities that work well into the night to prepare vehicles for rental, the Avis Head Office and turnaround facility was the perfect location to start with energy saving and reduction initiative.

Avis approached EnergyCybernetics in order to install PowerWatch™ meters to, first of all, measure the energy usage for the three main buildings, living by the well-known quote of “If you can measure it, you can manage it”.

Once the meters were in place, with the help of EnergyCybernetics consultants, we identified high power consuming practices, one of which was the air dryers in the car wash facility. As the vehicle passes through the wash bay, the last step in the process is to dry the vehicle with big, industrial sized dryers. When looking at the process after the vehicle exits the car wash, we realised that manual labour was still required to dry the car off, and that the air dryers were “drying” the car even though it was pouring rain outside.

In an effort to reduce electricity consumption, Avis decided to switch off the dryers at the wash bay on 12 September, 2010.

Wash Bay

Avis went further to also install LED lighting around the outbuildings of the site. During the baseline period the average daily weekday electricity consumption was measured as 2154 kWh/weekday. During the post-implementation period, it was determined as 1148 kWh/weekday. This is an average reduction of 1006 kWh/weekday, which is equivalent to 47%.

Due to the significant impact experience in the Johannesburg facility, we immediately switched off the dryers in our Cape Town and Durban facilities.

Avis continues to look for more opportunities to save energy and has already seen huge savings by doing the following:

  • Educating staff to switch off lights and air conditioners
  • Conducting night audits to determine what is consuming unnecessary power
  • Switching off geysers and installing Hydro boils
  • Fitting motion sensors in revamped office space
  • Fitting energy saving LED lights when old light fittings need replacement

Avis also supports new technology and is already investigating solar and wind generated energy to supplement our energy requirements.

Climate Change and Carbon Credits

Global Fossil Carbon Emissions

The average temperature of the earth's surface and oceans have varied less than one degree Celsius since the dawn of civilisation, but are projected to rise by two to four degrees over the NEXT century.  The prime cause of this global warming is the build up of 'greenhouse gases' (GHG) which trap heat in the atmosphere. 

Global Fossil Carbon Emissions

Worldwide Carbon Reduction Targets

World scientific consensus requires that carbon emissions need to reduce by 80% by the year 2050 and by ½ within the next 15 years.

Carbon Reduction

Use of Emission Credits to achieve Carbon Neutrality

Carbon neutrality means reducing and off-setting the greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalents) emitted from your activities by reducing an equivalent amount of emissions someplace else.  In order to become a CarbonNeutral® company, Avis has also developed a climate strategic plan which includes: (a) our carbon footprint calculation, (b) a plan to physically reduce own emissions and offset, and (c) communication both internally and externally.  We also understand the importance of evaluation and the need to repeat this going forward, with the aim of measuring any improvements on a "per business unit" (rental) basis, to ensure that our internal reduction efforts are working.

Use of Carbon Credits as a tool to Reduce Global Carbon Emissions

Carbon credits deliver essential carbon finance to renewable energy, clean technology and resource conservation projects around the world in order to replace fossil fuel power and reduce the release of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. In order to ensure quality of carbon credits, these projects are validated and verified by independent third parties to global standards such as the Verified Carbon Standards (VCS).

Buying one tonne of carbon credits means there will be one less tonne of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than there would otherwise have been. After internal reduction efforts, Avis South Africa has offset the remaining carbon emissions from its fleet and energy usage by purchasing 11,000 tonnes of carbon credits from 2009 to 2011. Avis has expanded their carbon neutral program for another two years, to include Scope 3 emissions like business air travel and waste. This equates to the purchasing of 12,500 tonnes per year in a South African and Chinese accredited project from 2012 to 2013.

Climate Neutrality

Emissions reporting according to Greenhouse Gas Protocol

The Avis Carbon Neutral process has been based on the international standard Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative (GHG protocol), which is the most important standard for measuring greenhouse gas emissions, developed by World Resources Institute (WRI) and World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). The GHG protocol consists of two accounting standards explaining how to calculate and report GHG emissions.  The GHG protocol focuses its carbon inventory and reporting on three main scopes of direct and indirect emissions. The reporting considers the following greenhouse gases, all converted into CO2 equivalents: CO2, CH4 (methane), N2O (Nitrous Oxide), SF6, HFCs and PFCs.

The Avis carbon offset program consists of Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions made up of: Employee Fuel Usage, Refrigerant Gas Loss, Business Electricity Usage, Landfill Waste Tonnage, Business Travel and Outbound Courier Deliveries.

Avis Carbon Offset

Avis is however, addressing areas of providing emissions data to customers who require knowledge of the rental CO2 emissions and how to include these into their own offset and reduction programs. 

 Key figures emissions: Avis Rent a Car - South Africa. From 01 October 2008 to September 30 2009
 Category  Consumption  Emissions  Percentage
 Petrol  2,839,341 litres  7070 tonnes CO2  59%
 Diesel  124,552 litres  345 tonnes CO2  3%
 Sum Scope 1    7415 tonnes CO2  62%
 Electricity Usage  3,746,411 kWh  4496 tonnes CO2  38%
 Sum Scope 2    4496 tonnes CO2  38%
 Sum Scope 1 & 2    11 911 tonnes CO2  100%
 As audited by Deloitte and approved by the CarbonNeutral Company

 Key figures emissions: Avis Rent a Car - South Africa. From 01 October 2009 to September 30 2010  Category  Consumption  Emissions  Percentage  Petrol  2,484,415 litres  6176 tonnes CO2  57%  Diesel  113,625 litres  315 tonnes CO2  3%  Sum Scope 1    6491 tonnes CO2  60%  Electricity Usage  3,619,705 kWh  4344 tonnes CO2  40%  Sum Scope 2    4344 tonnes CO2  40%  Sum Scope 1 & 2    10 835 tonnes CO2  100%  As audited by Deloitte and approved by the CarbonNeutral Company

 Key figures emissions: Avis Rent a Car - South Africa. From 01 October 2010 to September 30 2011  Category  Consumption  Emissions  Percentage  Petrol  2,409,115 litres  5782 tonnes CO2  58%  Diesel  928,808 litres  338 tonnes CO2  3%  Sum Scope 1    6120 tonnes CO2  61%  Electricity Usage  3,773,744 kWh  3925 tonnes CO2  39%  Sum Scope 2    3925 tonnes CO2  39%  Sum Scope 1 & 2    10 045 tonnes CO2  100%  As audited by Deloitte and approved by the CarbonNeutral Company

Alongside internal reduction efforts, Avis SA has voluntarily offset 33,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions related to its own business emissions, for their first contract, and 12, 500 for the first year of their next two year contract.

The Avis Carbon Offset Projects

In 2009 Avis selected a portfolio of projects to include projects in Asia and the Indian Sub-Continent, and later a project on the African continent. In its consideration for choice of projects, Avis realised the need to assist in clean energy generation and conservation projects in these areas which have the highest growth in energy consumption, combined with a lower focus on environmental issues. Global warming is a global issue, so investment in these parts of the world has the same effect as investing in carbon offset projects closer to home. 

The portfolio of projects included a wide range of projects namely Hufu Waste Heat Recovery Project (China), Govindapuram Wind Power Project (India), Uchindile and Mapanda Forestry Project (Tanzania), Renewable Energy Project (India) and Tieling Coal Mine Methane Capture (China).

Naturally, Avis wanted to invest in South African accredited projects and tasked The CarbonNeutral® Company to find such projects for the next contract.

The newest portfolio however was narrowed to include only two projects namely the Basa Magogo “Light it up” Improved Cooking Method, South Africa and the Tieling Coal Mine Methane Capture (China).

2011 - 2013 Carbon Offset Projects

Certified Carbon Neutral Company

Basa Magogo "Light it up" Improved Cooking Method, South Africa

Basa Magogo

The first Gold Standard project of its kind in the world, this innovative behaviour-change programme teaches local communities in South Africa to burn coal differently in order to be more fuel efficient, thereby reducing carbon emissions. The technique, called Basa Magogo, means ‘Light it up! Grandmother’ In Zulu. In addition to the emission reductions, the Basa Magogo technique also improves visibility and reduces health risks by producing less smoke.

Importantly, the new technique does not require any change of household equipment and is entirely implemented through local training sessions on improving use of stoves or braziers which people already own. It is validated and verified to the Gold Standard and will run for 10 years, at the end of which time the project hopes to have entirely replaced old techniques with Basa Magogo.

Emission Reductions

By changing behaviour to encourage adoption of the Basa Magogo ignition technique for cooking, heating space, water and ironing, approximately 50% less coal is used to produce the same amount of heat as previously created by the old technique. One of the first monitoring reports from the project, which began in 2009, showed that a household which converts to Basa Magogo saves on average 300.7 kg of coal a year. Monitoring of household coal use and coal merchant surveys are used to assess emission reductions.

Studies by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in South Africa also show that the time needed to reach cooking temperature using Basa Magogo was 10 minutes compared to 60 minutes for the conventional heating method.

In addition to emission reductions, Basa Magogo leads to a reduction in indoor and ambient air pollution, better visibility and reduced health risk. This is because, with the heat on top, particulate matter and volatile compounds are burnt off when they pass through the fire, making it more efficient and cleaner.

How the Project Works

Throughout the project areas, a conventional ignition technique is predominantly used to start fires for cooking, water, space heating and ironing. The technique involves starting the fire at the bottom of the stove or brazier with wood or other ignition material and then adding coal on top. The fire then smoulders for up to an hour before the coal is burned through and heat is available at the top. This technique is pervasive and users are resistant to change without active and focused measures to promote an alternative.

The Basa Magogo alternative involves placing the coal at the bottom of the stove or brazier, followed by the firewood or other ignition material, and then just a handful of coal on top of the fire. In order to implement the project, a comprehensive programme of small group demonstrations, surveys, monitoring and maintenance takes place.

Successful implementation of the project, which started in 2009 and will run for ten years, will lead to more efficient use of coal resulting in reduced coal consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The ultimate goal, at the end of the ten year period, is to replace the old ignition technique with the more efficient Basa Magogo method.

In order to implement the demonstration and monitoring plan, area leaders, team leaders, demonstrators and survey field workers were hired in all the locations where the project takes place. The team members are hired locally and their incomes are generated through carbon finance. In years two to ten, the project is entirely financed by the sale of Gold Standard VERs, which are what enables it to be economically feasible.

Demonstrations last for 30 to 45 minutes and are intended to be small, typically between five and ten participants, in order to encourage more active discussion and interaction. In order to attract attendance, the field workers will go house-to-house in the targeted area to assess and record the existing coal use and give the invitation. The demonstration itself will be held in a house or public place preferably on the same street as the households targeted or within a short walking distance.

The demonstration includes information on the negative effects of smoke, a technical explanation of how Basa Magogo works, a physical demonstration using a brazier or stove and finishes with encouraging the participants to try the technique in their own households and measure how much coal can be saved.

Project Monitoring

Demonstrators and Survey Field Workers are employed in each project area, working with an Area Leader.

A few weeks after the demonstration, a survey of population samples is taken, in line with the approved Gold Standard project methodology, to monitor uptake of the Basa Magogo method. The data from the survey is stored online and published in the monitoring report.

Combined monitoring and maintenance visits take place in the project areas during the summer, in order to offer continued support in acquiring the skills to correctly use the new technique. The visits include monitoring usage of Basa Magogo and helping households with any problems or questions they may have.

In addition to supervision of the Demonstrators and Field Workers, community liaison and logistics, the Area Leader will also check a sample of the records from the Demonstrators every week in order to ensure a high level of quality control.

The Project Developer

The project and its methodology have been developed by the Nova Institute, a not-for-profit organisation which provides practical solutions to poor communities.

Project Locations

The ‘Light it up’ Improved Cooking Technique project covers three of the micro-scale projects that are teaching the Basa Magogo technique. These include the suburbs of the Emfuleni local municipality, located in the southern part of Gauteng province. Gauteng is the smallest province in South Africa, with only 1.4% of the land area, but highly urbanised, containing the cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria.

The project also takes place in the local municipality of Lesedi, which is south of Johannesburg in Gauteng province and the local municipalities of Dipaleseng, Mafube, Metsimaholo and Lekwa in the central provinces of Mpumalanga and Free State.

Tieling Coal Mine Methane Capture, China

Tieleng

About coal mine methane

Coal mine methane (CMM) is released from coal and surrounding rock strata through mining practices, including surface and underground mining. Methane is an explosive gas which is hazardous to coal miners at certain concentrations in underground mines, so is usually extracted and released into the atmosphere before or during mining activities to protect miners. However, methane is also a potent greenhouse gas (GHG) so preventing its release into the atmosphere presents an important opportunity to lower global emissions. CMM is primarily released from drainage systems that employ vertical or horizontal wells to extract methane before mining; ventilation systems that circulate fresh air to dilute in-mine concentrations to below explosive levels; closed/abandoned mines from where CMM escapes over many years through open shafts and cracks. Installing wells which extract CMM to the surface for capture and combustion prevents it from being vented into the atmosphere. During combustion, methane is converted into carbon dioxide, significantly reducing its global warming potential. In some instances, this waste gas is also captured and utilised to produce power and heat, through the installation of generators. This displaces energy produced from fossil fuel power stations, further lowering GHG emissions.

About the project

Located across six coal mines in the Northeastern province of Liaoning in China, this project prevents the potent greenhouse gas, methane, from being released into the atmosphere. Methane is a by-product of coal formation which is released during mining. At each of the project sites, technology has been installed to capture the CMM and blend it to a concentration suitable for use as a fuel source. This innovative initiative was the first project in China to use CMM as fuel for gas supply. Over half of China’s energy is derived from coal, making it the world’s largest global consumer of this fossil fuel. As a result, approximately 10.6 billion metres³ of CMM is released annually and less than 10% of this is currently piped as gas or used to generate electricity.

The Tieling project improves on earlier technology which was funded by the United Nations Development Programme along with the Japanese and Chinese governments to demonstrate methane extraction in China. These improvements have enabled the extracted CMM to be blended to a concentration high enough to supply two gas distribution companies. Alongside the environmental benefits, the project enhances the local economy with the creation of 260 permanent engineering, construction and maintenance jobs and 291 temporary positions. The availability of gas for both industrial and domestic use displaces conventional fuel sources and increases energy sustainability in the local area.

How carbon offsetting helps the project

It is expensive to develop and operate methane capture technologies and that is where carbon finance can play an important role. Coal mine projects like this one are not required by law to capture methane and often have to overcome financial and technological barriers to realise implementation. Carbon finance provides an additional revenue stream, helping to make these projects an attractive and viable option. In this case, the incentives from carbon finance are enabling the capture and piping of coal mine methane rather than allowing it to escape into the atmosphere.

The reductions in CO2 emissions achieved by this project are incremental to business-as-usual and measured by an independent verifier to internationally recognised standards. These are bought as carbon credits by clients of The CarbonNeutral Company to neutralise their own emissions.

Verification

This project is registered with the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and the emissions reductions generated prior to CDM registration have been delivered to The CarbonNeutral® Company, verified to the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). In addition, this project is used to supply The CarbonNeutral Company’s Green-e Climate certified offset, The CarbonNeutral Company Offset (China - Methane Capture) Product.

Project Area

Tieling is in the Northeastern province of Liaoning , and has geographical co-ordinates of latitude 42°15’ North and longitude 123°15’ East.

2009 - 2011 Carbon Offset Projects

 Certified Carbon Neutral Electricity      Certified Carbon Neutral Fleet

Hufu Waste Heat Recovery Project

Hufu

This project captures waste heat at a cement manufacturing plant in China and uses it to produce clean electricity. The total emissions reduced are estimated at 40,000 t CO2 equivalent, verified to the Voluntary Carbon Standard.

Technology partner

Jiangsu Qingshi Cement Co. Ltd 

About our project

This project involves constructing two turbine generators to recover waste heat and produce clean electricity at a cement manufacturing plant in the Eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu.

Waste heat is produced as a by-product of industrial manufacturing which gets lost as exhaust. The waste heat in this case comes from rotating kilns used in the production lines of a cement manufacturing plant which is recycled for internal energy consumption. Boilers capture the waste heat, creating steam which is fed into a turbine generator to produce electricity. The project generates a total of 13.5 MW which delivers on-site power, displacing electricity that would otherwise have been drawn primarily from fossil-fuel fired power stations connected to the East China Power grid.

Waste heat recovery projects are often underestimated as an additional source of clean energy despite their potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by recovering energy that would otherwise have been vented directly into the atmosphere.

Aside from emission reductions, this project helps to meet China’s sustainable development needs by reducing its dependence on fossil fuels. This is a unique project in the Jiangsu Province and promotes broader acceptance of waste heat recovery in the cement industry. The local economy also benefits from the creation of more than 32 employment opportunities.

How Carbon Offsetting helps the project

It can be expensive to implement energy efficiency improvements and that is where carbon finance can play a critical role. It provides an additional revenue stream helping to make emission reduction technologies an attractive and viable option. Energy generated from older, more polluting technologies can be displaced by using energy more productively, in this case by recycling waste heat. The reductions in CO₂ emissions achieved by a project are measured by an independent verifier to internationally recognised standards, and bought as ‘carbon credits’ by clients of The CarbonNeutral® Company to ‘neutralise’ their own emissions.

The Voluntary Carbon Standard requires that projects pass “additionality tests” in order to result in verified carbon credits. These tests demonstrate that the project would not have happened in the normal course of events without carbon finance.

In this case it was determined that the project would not generate an internal rate of return sufficient to justify the necessary capital investment without the inclusion of carbon finance.

Verification

This project is being verified to the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS). A copy of the documents relating to this project can be found within the project registry of CarbonNeutral.com

Project Area

The project is located in Hufu Town, Yixing City, in the southern mountainous area of Jiangsu Province.

Govindapuram Wind Power Project

This project enables the installation of four wind turbine generators to produce clean electricity. The total emissions reductions are estimated to be 23,000 t CO₂ equivalent, verified to the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS).

About our project

Located in the Tirunelveli and Erode districts of the state of Tamil Nadu in India, this project has a total installed capacity of 5.8 MW. The project consists of wind turbine generators manufactured by Vestas and Suzlon, with installed capacities of 1650 kW and 1250 kW, respectively. The electricity generated from the wind turbines is either sold to the state electricity grid or sent to Patspin’s spinning factories in the Ponneri, Udumalpet, and Coimbatore districts. This displaces energy which would otherwise have been drawn primarily from fossil fuel fired power stations, avoiding the associated CO₂ emissions and environmental pollutants such as sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxide, dust and solid waste problems. 

India’s energy consumption is predicted to rise by nearly 40 per cent over the next five years and almost double by 2020. Meeting this need with conventional energy sources such as coal, oil, natural gas, and electricity will significantly impact global greenhouse gas emissions. As such, renewable energy projects like this one play a vital role in the sustainable development of India.

The local community has benefited from employment opportunities during and after the construction of this project. The development of the project has also promoted road infrastructure improvements, facilitating further economic development of the region.

About wind power

Wind is an abundant energy resource which can be used to generate clean electricity through wind turbines. The energy in wind flowing through the turbines spins large propeller-like rotor blades. In turn, this rotates a shaft which is connected to an electrical generator which converts the kinetic energy of wind into electrical energy. The output of a wind turbine depends on the turbine’s size and the wind’s speed through the rotor blades. These blades range from around 30 to 90 metres in diameter and the supporting towers are roughly the same size in height. The power generated by utility-scale turbines varies from 100kW to as much as 5MW. Larger turbines are grouped together into wind farms, providing bulk power to the electrical grid which is sent through transmission and distribution lines to homes and businesses.

How Carbon Offsetting helps the project

It is expensive to develop and operate renewable technologies and that is where carbon finance can play an important role. Wind power projects like this one are not required by law and often have to overcome financial and technological barriers to realise implementation. Carbon finance provides an additional revenue stream helping to make these projects an attractive and viable option. In this case, the incentives from carbon finance are enabling the development of a wind project to generate clean energy. 

The reductions in CO₂ emissions achieved by this project are incremental to ‘business as usual’ and measured by an independent verifier to internationally recognised standards. These are bought as carbon credits by clients of The CarbonNeutral® Company to neutralise their own emissions.

Verification

This project is being verified under the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS). A copy of the documents relating to this project can be found within the project registry of CarbonNeutral.com.

Uchindile Forestry Project

This project involves the reforestation of degraded land in Tanzania to sequester carbon emissions from the atmosphere. The emissions reductions have been verified to the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS).

Technology partner

Green Resources AS is a Norwegian plantation, forest products and renewable energy company. Established in 1995, it is Africa’s leading afforestation company with a strategy based on sustainable development.

About the project

Based in the southern highlands of Tanzania, this project establishes commercial forests across the Uchindile and Mapanda districts. Four varieties of trees will be planted – two each of eucalyptus and pine - covering 7,252 hectares at Uchindile and 3,562 hectares at Mapanda. In July 2009, this became the first 'Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use’ (AFOLU) project to be validated under the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS).  

The project reduces carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions through sequestration or ‘carbon sinks’: a process which removes greenhouse gases (GHG) from the atmosphere. Forest ecosystems are considered natural carbon capture and storage systems; however they are under increasing threat. Globally, deforestation and changes in land use generate approximately 1.6 gigatonnes of CO₂ a year, which is the equivalent of around 20% of all annual GHG emissions. The environmental impact of this is twofold: not only does deforestation cause a direct rise in emissions; it reduces the planet’s natural ability to remove CO₂ through carbon sinks.

Between 1990 and 2005, Tanzania lost 14.9% - or just over 6 million hectares - of forest cover through deforestation. The Tanzanian government has responded with numerous policies to stem further degradation; however with limited public funds these policies lack the financial incentives to be widely effective. 

Prior to planting, the project area was degraded grassland, with significantly lower sequestration capacity than an established forest. The project activity will use a sustainable harvesting practice, which is the cyclical, non-exhaustive removal and replanting of trees. This type of harvesting ensures a base forest cover and capacity for regeneration is constantly maintained. Harvesting the eucalyptus and pine trees will occur every 13 and 21 years respectively, with the resulting timber being used to make transmission poles, furniture and pallets. The net growth of the forest biomass throughout the harvesting cycles is monitored through geographic information system (GIS) satellite imagery, as well as by ground staff and local residents.

A range of exotic and indigenous tree species plus local fruit crops have also been planted on the project sites to improve species diversity, ensuring the forests’ health and resilience. Conservation of rare, threatened and endangered tree species is integral to this project and the local communities work in partnership with the project developer to protect them.

10% of the carbon revenues from the forests have been allocated to initiatives which will benefit the local communities. The decision on how to spend this money is agreed with the local villages based on their list of priorities. The project provides ongoing employment opportunities plus training on land-use planning, conservation and sustainable forest management. Infrastructure improvements include the development of approximately 200 kilometres of new roads and 100 kilometres of road renovations plus improved road signaling and signs. Access to potable water will increase through the construction of bore holes in villages and social services will be improved by the building of schools and hospitals. 

About Afforestation/Reforestation (A/R)

Afforestation and reforestation projects are the planting or seeding of non-forested land. The difference between them is the length of time the land has not been a forest; for reforestation this is on or after 31 December, 1989 and for afforestation, it needs to be for at least 50 years.  

Forests have a crucial role in the carbon cycle and in climate change mitigation. Through photosynthesis, trees and plants capture and store carbon dioxide (CO₂) within their growing biomass (i.e. branches, leaves and tree trunks). As a result of this process, approximately 50% of dry matter within forest ecosystems is carbon. CO₂ is also stored below the ground, and these carbon stocks are reliant on the forest remaining intact. Some CO₂ and oxygen is released during the process of ‘respiration’, but a forest that is increasing in biomass - or growing - will always absorb more carbon than it releases. As such, growing and sustaining forests is crucial to the sequestration potential of forestry projects. Forest ecosystems are a living environment in a state of natural flux: as carbon is sequestered or ‘sunk’ in forests, it is exposed to the risk of release through infrequent events such as forest fire or insect attacks. To address this risk of non-permanence, the Voluntary Carbon Standard requires that upon verification of carbon credits, a percentage is withheld in a central buffer from each project. These units are withheld from sale and used as an insurance against any adverse events which would unexpectedly reduce the forest’s carbon stock.

How Carbon Offsetting helps the project

It is expensive to conserve and manage forestry projects and that is where carbon finance can play a critical role. Reforestation projects like this are not required by law and have to overcome financial, institutional, geographical and biological barriers to realise implementation. Carbon finance provides an additional revenue stream helping to make these projects an attractive and viable option. In this case, the incentives from carbon finance are enabling the reforestation of land to sequester CO₂ emissions from the atmosphere.

The reductions in CO₂ emissions achieved by this project are incremental to ‘business as usual’ and measured by an independent verifier to internationally recognised standards. These are bought as carbon credits by clients of The CarbonNeutral Company to neutralise their own emissions. 

Verification

United Nations (UN) Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Afforestation/Reforestation (A/R) methodology permissible for use under the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS). The VCS integrated A/R projects through the inclusion of an Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) protocol in the ‘VCS 2007.1’ release. This project is the first to be validated through that process. The project was validated by an independent Designated Operational Entity (DOE) accredited by the UN. Additionally the project has been submitted for validation under the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) standard. Forest verification is carried out periodically and must be conducted at least every five years. In this case the project developer has scheduled bi-annual verifications. The VCS rules require that carbon credits sold from all A/R projects must adhere to ‘ex-post’ accounting: credits verified for sale can only correspond to carbon sequestered in the past, not in the future (ex-ante).

Project Area

Tanzania in Uchundile and Mapanda.

Maharashtra Renewable Energy Project

Maharashtra 7.5MW Wind Power Project:

This project involves the generation of renewable energy through the installation of wind turbines in the state of Maharashtra, India.

About the project

The project involves the development of six 1250 kW wind turbines with a total installed capacity of 7.5MW located in the villages of Chakla and Choupale in the state of Maharashtra, India. The project provides 13 GWh of renewable electricity to the Northern, Eastern, Western, Northeastern (NEWNE) grid in India per year, reducing CO₂ emissions by displacing electricity from fossil fuel-based electricity generation plants (particularly coal-based generation).

In recent years, India’s energy consumption has been increasing at one of the fastest rates in the world due to population growth and economic development. The Indian government is keen to decrease its reliance on fossil fuels to meet its energy demand and there is significant potential in India for generation of power from renewable energy sources. However, currently only 1.6% of actual power production in India comes from wind power. Therefore projects like this which utilise such resource are essential to providing a clean solution to India’s growing energy demands.

Before project construction began, a consultation was held with local stakeholders to ensure all were in favour of its development, including members of the ‘Gram Panchayat’ (village-level local government in India) - all of whom were in strong favour. In addition to reducing GHG emissions, the project has generated temporary and permanent employment in the region and the India-based turbine manufacturer, Suzlon Energy, has committed to supporting the local community by providing a free medical and ambulance facility for the villagers.

About Wind Power

Wind is an abundant energy resource which can be used to generate clean electricity through wind turbines. The energy in wind flowing through the turbines spins large propeller-like rotor blades. In turn, this rotates a shaft which is connected to an electrical generator which converts the kinetic energy of wind into electrical energy. The output of a wind turbine depends on the turbine’s size and the wind’s speed through the rotor blades. These blades range from around 30 to 90 metres in diameter and the supporting towers are roughly the same size in height. The power generated by utility-scale turbines varies from 100kW to as much as five MW. Larger turbines are grouped together into wind farms, providing bulk power to the electrical grid which is sent through transmission and distribution lines to homes and businesses.

How carbon offsetting helps the project

It is expensive to develop and operate renewable technologies and that is where carbon finance can play an important role. Wind power projects like this one are not required by law and often have to overcome financial and technological barriers to realise implementation. Carbon finance provides an additional revenue stream, helping to make these projects an attractive and viable option. In this case, the incentives from carbon finance are enabling the development of this wind project to generate clean energy.

The reductions in CO₂ emissions achieved by this project are incremental to business-as-usual and measured by an independent verifier to internationally recognised standards. These are bought as carbon credits by clients of The CarbonNeutral® Company to neutralise their own emissions.

Verification

This project is verified to the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS).

Project Area

India.

Site 1 is located at latitude 21°20’7.51”North and longitude 74°18’54.04”East.
Site 2 is located at latitude 21°20’17.82”North and longitude 74°18’59.46”East

Tieling Coal Mine Methane Capture, China

Tieling Coal Mine Methane Capture

This project captures coal mine methane (CMM) and uses it as an energy source to supply gas to homes and local industry.

About the project

Located across six coal mines in the Northeastern province of Liaoning in China, this project prevents the potent greenhouse gas, methane, from being released into the atmosphere. Methane is a by-product of coal formation which is released during mining. At each of the project sites, technology has been installed to capture the CMM and blend it to a concentration suitable for use as a fuel source. This innovative initiative was the first project in China to use CMM as fuel for gas supply.

Over half of China’s energy is derived from coal, making it the world’s largest global consumer of this fossil fuel. As a result, approximately 10.6 billion metres³ of CMM is released annually and less than 10% of this is currently piped as gas or used to generate electricity.

The Tieling project improves on earlier technology which was funded by the United Nations Development Programme along with the Japanese and Chinese governments to demonstrate methane extraction in China. These improvements have enabled the extracted CMM to be blended to a concentration high enough to supply two gas distribution companies.

Alongside the environmental benefits, the project enhances the local economy with the creation of 260 permanent engineering, construction and maintenance jobs and 291 temporary positions. The availability of gas for both industrial and domestic use displaces conventional fuel sources and increases energy sustainability in the local area

About coal mine methane

Coal mine methane (CMM) is released from coal and surrounding rock strata through mining practices, including surface and underground mining. Methane is an explosive gas which is hazardous to coal miners at certain concentrations in underground mines, so is usually extracted and released into the atmosphere before or during mining activities to protect miners. However, methane is also a potent greenhouse gas (GHG) so preventing its release into the atmosphere presents an important opportunity to lower global emissions.

CMM is primarily released from drainage systems that employ vertical or horizontal wells to extract methane before mining; ventilation systems that circulate fresh air to dilute in-mine concentrations to below explosive levels; closed/abandoned mines from where CMM escapes over many years through open shafts and cracks. Installing wells which extract CMM to the surface for capture and combustion prevents it from being vented into the atmosphere. During combustion, methane is converted into carbon dioxide, significantly reducing its global warming potential. In some instances, this waste gas is also captured and utilised to produce power and heat, through the installation of generators. This displaces energy produced from fossil fuel power stations, further lowering GHG emissions.

How carbon off setting helps the project

It is expensive to develop and operate methane capture technologies and that is where carbon finance can play an important role. Coal mine projects like this one are not required by law to capture methane and often have to overcome financial and technological barriers to realise implementation. Carbon finance provides an additional revenue stream, helping to make these projects an attractive and viable option. In this case, the incentives from carbon finance are enabling the capture and piping of coal mine methane rather than allowing it to escape into the atmosphere.

The reductions in CO₂ emissions achieved by this project are incremental to business-as-usual and measured by an independent verifier to internationally recognised standards. These are bought as carbon credits by clients of The CarbonNeutral® Company to neutralise their own emissions.

Verification

This project is registered with the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and the emissions reductions generated prior to CDM registration have been delivered to The CarbonNeutral® Company, verified to the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS). In addition, this project is used to supply The CarbonNeutral® Company’s Green-e Climate certified offset, The CarbonNeutral® Company offset (China - Methane Capture) Product.

Project Area

China Tieling is in the Northeastern province of Liaoning, and has geographical co-ordinates of latitude
42°15’ North and longitude 123°15’ East.

Carbon Neutral FAQ's

What is climate change ?

The average temperature of the earth’s surface and oceans have varied less than one degree Celsius since the dawn of civilisation, but are projected to rise by two to four degrees over the next century rising.  The prime cause of this global warming is the build up of ‘greenhouse gases’ (GHG) which trap heat in the atmosphere.  Scientific consensus is that climate change is an inevitable consequence - extreme weather conditions that will cause severe harm to social, economic and environmental systems.  We are beginning to see this now.

Can we stop climate change ? 

Carbon dioxide (CO₂) is the most significant GHG.  It is produced as a by-product of almost everything we do. Because we are all responsible for producing CO₂, we are able to cut CO₂ and slow climate change.

Around the world, people and businesses are taking voluntary steps to cut emissions.  At the same time, governments have set and agreed binding GHG reduction targets at state, national and international levels. 

Latest scientific opinion is that global GHG reductions of 80% are necessary within the next 50 years.  This is a very significant challenge, especially in the context of growing emissions from developing countries.

What is CarbonNeutral®

CarbonNeutral® means that a business has followed The CarbonNeutral Protocol to be certified as CarbonNeutral®. The CarbonNeutral Protocol is the global standard for carbon neutrality, used by companies in 32 countries.  It was first developed by The CarbonNeutral® Company eight years ago and is reviewed and updated annually in order to ensure it reflects best practice in scientific developments and reduction activities.

The Protocol assures quality of offset projects, carbon footprint assessments and communication and is regularly reviewed by an Independent Advisory Group. 

Permission to use CarbonNeutral® certification is only given to clients whose carbon reduction program is implemented in accordance with The CarbonNeutral Protocol. The scope of the carbon footprint is defined by the Protocol and will change according to the certification awarded.  The reductions are likely to be delivered through a mix of internal actions within a business itself, as well as through carbon offsetting. 

What was the process for Avis to become CarbonNeutral® ?

To achieve the CarbonNeutral® brand mark, Avis went through a process which involved:

  • Measuring CO₂ emissions emitted by Avis South Africa's fleet of staff vehicles and energy consumption from offices and rental locations (the carbon footprint);
  • Setting a net zero CO₂  target, and planning for how, and from where to make reductions;
  • Executing a program of external and internal CO₂ reductions;
  • Being awarded CarbonNeutral® certification and using it to inspire others to follow suit.

What is the carbon footprint of Avis?

The measured carbon footprint of Avis is estimated to be 12 500 t of CO₂. 

Why did you set a net zero target?

We see tackling climate change as a moral and commercial imperative.

As a business, we have a responsibility to reduce our negative environmental impact – and reducing CO₂ emissions is a clear way that we can do that.

How was the carbon footprint reduced to net zero?

Net zero CO₂ is achieved though a mix of external and internal reductions. 

External reductions are also known as ‘carbon offsets’. They enable a business to achieve deep net CO₂ reductions in the short term.  For every one tonne* of CO₂ a business produces, they pay an equivalent amount of CO₂ to be saved by an emission reduction project somewhere else in the world. 

Internal reductions are CO₂ savings from actions within an organisation or operation, such as from processes, systems and changes in behaviour.  The amount of emissions that can be cut in this way will depend on the start point (how much has already been done) and projections for business growth. Single digit annual CO₂ targets are common; larger reductions are more likely in the longer term because it is difficult to make internal changes overnight.

By complementing external reductions with internal, businesses can reach net zero CO₂ today, and achieve a programme which helps them produce fewer emissions in the long term.

The carbon offsetting for Avis is organised by the world leading provider of carbon reduction solutions, The CarbonNeutral Company.

Who is The CarbonNeutral Company?

The CarbonNeutral Company is a world leading provider of carbon reduction solutions.  It has worked with over 300 major businesses and thousands of small and medium sized companies in 32 countries to develop offset inclusive carbon reduction programmes. Since 1997, it has purchased carbon credits from over 200 projects in 24 countries.

Why did Avis choose The CarbonNeutral Company?

Because they have an outstanding quality assurance programme and a successful track record with clients and within the industry. We trust them to do what they promise, and to work well with our people and our company.

Why is CarbonNeutral®  programme the most rigorous?

There are several reasons:

  • Integrity: the programme is underpinned by The CarbonNeutral Protocol, the global standard for carbon neutrality. The Protocol has been developed in association with an Independent Advisory Group of academics, scientists and businesses to ensure it reflects the latest scientific developments and best practice in reduction activities.  
  • Guarantees: every tonne of carbon sold by The CarbonNeutral® Company is guaranteed so that in the unlikely event that a project fails, The CarbonNeutral® Company makes up the shortfall itself. This means that any CarbonNeutral® claim will be credible and verified.
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The CarbonNeutral® Company has offices in New York, London and Singapore.

Additional information:

The CarbonNeutral® Company is a founding member of The International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance (ICROA), which provides leadership and a unified voice advocating for quality industry standards.

*CO₂ is traded internationally in metric tonnes