Australian energy utility Origin Energy has taken a leadership position in the trading of carbon by announcing a new Carbon Reduction Scheme for businesses to buy and sell verified carbon offsets. Australia already has a federal government run Renewable Energy Certificate scheme in place for trading electronic renewable energy generation units equal to one Megawatt hour each but previously had no provision for trading the carbon produced by industry and business. In Origin's scheme, the utility will act as the central broker for companies wishing to take their operations carbon-neutral and offset their annual carbon emissions.

The Carbon Reduction Scheme specifically allows for:
  • verification of voluntary carbon offset products and credits, allowing businesses to participate on both sides of the carbon market;
  • the offset of emissions from electricity, natural gas and LPG consumption, fleet emissions and air travel;
  • businesses to monetise their carbon reductions;
  • businesses to create innovative products and services by developing and delivering a wide range of "carbon offset" products for their customers; and
  • extending the reach and impact of reduction opportunities by providing products and services for participating businesses' staff.
A number of large Australian companies have already signed up for the scheme including banks, insurance brokers and travel agencies. Similar schemes and initiatives for businesses to offset their carbon emissions are already well established in some European countries like the United Kingdom where nearly 25 percent of British companies have a green transport policy for example. An even higher percentage of British companies encourages the use of public transport and car pooling.

Analysis: Giving business an easy and transparent way to offset their carbon emissions and go carbon-neutral should allow many companies which previously had good intentions but found it too hard to achieve to participate. We can expect to see lots of new carbon offset products becoming available from the Carbon Reduction Scheme foundation members to give consumers the chance to go carbon-neutral themselves.

[Source: Origin Energy via]

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