Thoughts on Carbon Offsets and why we choose not to use them. We are often asked by customers if we offset our carbon output. Looking past the question itself and to why the person is asking it is really interesting and almost pinpoints exactly the reason why we don’t buy into them....... Often times the question of 'do we offset' is asked not because the person on the other end of the phone cares what the answer is, but because it is box that they need to check yes or no in as part of their purchasing process. Apparently some where along the way, somebody decided that in order to be 'green' one must a) drive a Prius, b) have a bumper sticker on said Prius, and c) offset their carbon.
Here is the way we look at it - the carbon offset industry is about a $6 Billion dollar industry, the 'voluntary' market (in which we would fall) has virtually no standardization, regulation, enforcement or measure. What should be a commodity price with some variance, ranges from $1 to $47 it preys on environmental guilt so it leads to tons of scams. Bottom line (which yes, as a so called “green” business, we care about), the benefits / reduction is in question and there is little/no accountability.
Now there is ReBinder and what we are all about - we make responsibly manufactured zero waste recycled binders and other alternatives to legacy plastic and vinyl office products. We carefully consider the trade-offs - source, location, end-of-life, fiber content, social benefit - throughout our manufacturing process. While we won’t go as far as saying our products are good for the environment (note to all, no manufactured product is actually good for the environment, regardless of who is making the claim).
But what we will say is that it is indisputable that our products are better for the environment than the alternatives made from vinyl and plastic, often sourced from half-way across the globe, manufactured under what most would consider unfair work conditions, and will no doubt end up in landfill. What we will also say is that for every vinyl binder we keep out of a landfill, there is verifiable, accountable, put it in a spreadsheet reduction in carbon.
Lastly, there is no vinyl or plastic in the closet so we are not the proverbial wolf in sheeps clothing - you are buying from us and we have a verifiable chain of custody, inlcuding FSC (SCS-COC-002327). So the question - do we a) offset our carbon and hope that some good comes from it, or b) reinvest any potential offset dollar back into our products to make them even more competitive from a pure customer balance sheet perspective, thereby know that carbon is reduced. We choose B.