How does carbon offsetting work?

How does carbon offsetting work?
Feb 14, 2024

Carbon offsetting is a way to reduce the impact of carbon emissions on the environment. It involves investing in projects or activities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to balance out or compensate for the carbon emissions that are produced. A carbon footprint that occurs at location A will therefore be offset (compensated) with a climate protection project or activity at location B. For a company, this accounts as a carbon sink outside the company.


The basic principle behind carbon offsetting is that if an individual or organization cannot completely eliminate their carbon footprint, they can purchase carbon offsets from a climate protection project that reduces the remaining carbon footprint. Without carbon offsetting and climate protection projects, achieving net-zero or carbon neutrality is currently not possible. The reduction in emissions from climate protection projects is then counted toward the carbon offsetting individual or organization's carbon footprint.


There are many types of carbon offset projects, including renewable energy projects (such as wind farms and solar power), energy efficiency projects (LED lighting), reforestation projects (which absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere), forest protection projects (carbon avoidance, CO2 avoidance), methane capture projects (such as capturing methane from landfills or agricultural operations), and direct air capture projects which directly extract CO2 from the atmosphere and store CO2 permanently in deep geological formations.


Participants in carbon offsetting, including individuals and organizations, typically calculate their carbon footprint and then purchase carbon offsets in the equivalent amount. It's important to note that while carbon offsetting can help reduce the impact of greenhouse gas emissions, it's not a substitute for reducing carbon emissions directly. The most effective way to reduce CO2 emissions is to reduce them at the source by avoiding carbon emissions and reducing your carbon footprint.


To reduce your carbon emissions, you can:

  • Reduce energy use by turning off lights and unplugging electronics when not in use, buying and using energy-efficient appliances, and reducing heating and cooling.
  • Consider using public transportation, biking, or walking. Carpooling with others is an alternative to driving alone. When flying, book direct flights whenever possible and book in economy class.
  • Consider reducing your consumption of meat.
  • Switch to green energy and use renewable energy sources from a local provider.
  • Be mindful of water use.


Carbon-connect AG is a Swiss-based company that calculates carbon footprints for individuals, companies, and the economy. With our clients, we realize climate protection on a national and international level. We help you understand and learn more about your carbon footprint. A carbon footprint is always the first step towards carbon neutrality (climate neutrality) and the best basis for a carbon (CO2) reduction strategy and a climate strategy. Further services include help in sustainability reporting. With our platform,, we focus on private individuals who want to take direct climate action. is a tree-planting initiative, and we have the goal to plant 1 million trees. For corporate clients, please visit our main website,