Advantages of the BOKU carbon offset system

  • The BOKU system offers much more than merely offsetting GHGs. The aim is to establish structural and sustainable (climate protection) changes on-site through pilot projects accompanied by research and development! Through initial financing in the form of carbon offset funds, structural change such as is taking place in the Ethiopian highlands ( see BOKU climate protection project) can be initiated.
  • The projects chosen by the advisory board aim to function as impulses for innovative climate protection measures in the host countries which should - though collaboration between science and the local population - develop into comprehensive, self-supporting climate protection programmes.
  • Only projects with multiple positive benefits – climate protection, biodiversity, gender equality, participation, education and further education – are selected.
  • Projects are only carried out in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) so as to contribute to knowledge and technology transfer.
  • Carbon offsetting takes place exclusively via climate protection and development projects within the framework of recognized academic research and education. Through exchange programmes (such as BOKU Mountain Forestry), projects will be accompanied and supported by Ph.D and Master theses.
  • The BOKU system invests 100% of donations received through carbon offsetting for the projects themselves. The system is administrated by staff from the Centre for Global Change and Sustainability which is financed by the University.

Over the past few years many different carbon offset systems of varying quality have been established which support many diverse climate protection projects and adopt various calculation standards. The standards applied aim, through the application of accurate, transparent and comparable methods of calculation often based on Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) standards, to quantify the effects of carbon offset projects.

In the past, the focus has often been exclusively on the climate protection aspect, whilst other important areas such as biodiversity, income distribution, gender equality or other long-term social benefits were neglected. Besides this, large sums were invested into the creation and evaluation of project documents – sums which were then unavailable for the projects themselves. Depending on the standard applied and the type of project (reforestation, energy efficiency, renewable energy) the transaction costs lie between 50.000 € and 500.000 €. Often, small projects and initiatives in countries where few projects have been carried out to date (often Least Developed Countries) cannot be realized due to the high level of transaction costs.

So as to conform to a high standard, the BOKU carbon offset system submits to a number of quality criteria. As such the calculation standards used to quantify the GHGs which are offset closely follow accepted IPCC standards and CDM calculation methodologies applied within existing climate protection projects. As such, GHG reductions are carried out within a transparent, accurate, consistent, comparable and complete calculation (IPCC TACCC criteria). The BOKU system avoids high costs in that arduous project documentation is avoided, and quality control is guaranteed through inspection which is carried out by an independent, scientific advisory board.