07/06/2024- Governance


With international fencing requiring ever increasing air travel, the British Fencing Environmental Working Group provides guidance for members seeking to offset their carbon emissions.

Compensating for Carbon Emissions draft v2 04.06.24

What is this?

A carbon offset broadly refers to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions – or an increase in carbon storage – for example, through land restoration or the planting of trees – that is used to compensate for emissions that occur elsewhere.

Carbon offsetting is possible because climate change is a non-localised problem. Greenhouse gases mix throughout the atmosphere, so reducing them anywhere contributes to overall climate protection.

Who does the accreditation and scrutiny?

Various bodies including:

  • The Gold Standard (non-profit based in Geneva)
  • Climate Action Reserve (non-profit based in USA)
  • American Carbon Registry
  • Verra (non profit based in USA)
  • SCS Global Services, USA
  • Green-e Climate Standard – a chain-of-custody certification for carbon offsets that requires project verification by Endorsed Programs.

Does it work effectively?

Only if the scheme complies with a set of rigorous conditions. Many such schemes have made claims that did not stand up to scrutiny.

What about the airline voluntary offset charge?

This is invariably much less than it should be and we have no idea whether it is used effectively.

So what can we do to reliably offset our emissions?

The key question!

We have come up with two schemes so far to recommend.

  • British Mountaineering Council projects – sphagnum (peat) in Peak District and sea grass in North Wales. Read more here.
  • Trees for the Future (TREES) – a regenerative agriculture nonprofit working with farmers across sub-Saharan Africa. Together, they’re addressing the root causes of land degradation, hunger, and poverty through a more thoughtful approach to farming called the Forest Garden. By offsetting your carbon emissions and supporting the development of a Forest Garden, you are directly addressing your impact on the planet, while improving the lives of those most impacted by climate change. (https://trees.org)

    Olympian Marcus Mepstead is a TREES ambassador. Read more about his work here: The Sword October 2023

Why is sport’s role important here?

There is a real danger that the climate crisis will affect the practice of sport itself, not just athletes’ performance. Sport has a massive impact on the environment but also a platform to influence others. There are plenty of positive ways to contribute, one short term measure being reputable carbon offsetting. However, carbon offsetting is just a short term measure, not the solution to climate overheating. Reducing our carbon emissions is what matters.

Read more about BF’s environmental sustainability initiatives here: The Green Piste


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