Carbon offsetting : definition

12 June 2023 | Committed Startup, digital pollution

Offsetting his carbon emissions became a major concern especially the past few years. Planting trees, planting corals. Invest in wind power, etc. But what is it really? We’ll see in this introductive article the definition of carbon offsetting also its main operating principles so we can see clearly.  


The carbon offsetting is all the rage these last few years. And for cause, reducing his carbon emission or at least limiting them, became a major concern for people and companies. 

Before getting to the heart of the matter and to more intensively experience the big lines, let’s see a brief definition and the main operating principles to understand things better. 

The carbon offsetting is often put in correlation with the carbon neutrality, because it’s about making a weighting in order to get to the neutrality. Indeed, the challenge is here: follows our economics activities, still reducing emissions impact emitted by the activity of anthropogenic origin on the planet. The point is to reach a theoretical balance between the CO2 emitted by an activity and the quantity of theoretical CO2 reduced thanks to a or many supported project(s): photovoltaic panels, wind farms, reforestation, coral reef rehabilitation, etc.

Theoretical? Yes, because it’s sometimes tough to quantify in a precise way our carbon emissions.  

Operating principles 

Offsetting his emissions is a financial process. It’s about supporting financially environmental projects to either: 

  •     Reduce: financing of wind projects, photovoltaic, etc. ;
  •     Or sequestering: planting trees to or increasing the management of existing forests, corals, etc. 

Moreover, in this mechanism, it’s about financing to the level of these emissions. 

We were talking about in the last paragraph, carbon neutrality is the final goal to reach. However, the offsetting is only a step in the process and the pathway to this neutrality. 

Indeed, we’re counting 3 steps by which we need to go through to reduce our impact:

  •     Calculating his carbon footprint: to define our sectors that emitted the most and that are the most energy consumers so we can act with more accuracy. 
  •     Act by reducing our carbon emissions, by changing some of our habits, by increasing our website in case of important digital pollution by example;
  •     And finally, offset. The offsetting of unavoidable carbon emissions by financing projects. 

The important things that need to be remembered in this mechanism of carbon offsetting, is that companies or people are not exempted from the reduction effort of emissions! It’s absolutely necessary to reduce them as many as possible upstream.


We can talk about greenwashing when a company brings to the fore methods of carbon offsetting, of protection of the environment thanks to marketing strategies, while no measure and downward revision of carbon emissions or environmental impact is made in intern, or within its own purchasing, production, marketing, or waste management mechanisms.

With Greenoco, we’re proposing a methodology and a tool to measure and reduce the carbon footprint of a website. As we already explained through the article treating impacts of digital pollution, reducing his carbon emissions of the digital sector is an essential issue on which it’s necessary to focus our action fields. 

Greenoco accompanies you in this process!

For a first step and to make you realize the potential of reducing the digital carbon footprint, test our tool measuring the carbon footprint of a web page. And for a full audit and recommendations to reduce carbon emissions of your website, contact us. 

And Greenoco, you offset your carbon emissions? 

In Greenoco, we have chosen to finance a project of carbon capture near us, in Normandy, and related to biodiversity, the patrimony and agriculture. Thus, we’re participating financially in the planting of a 150 m long agricultural hedge, enabling to finance the restoration of a closed-masure. 

Typic of the Normandy soil, this living structure surrounded by embankments with trees allow to protect from the cold and heat farms, while welcoming an important biodiversity. This project allows us to offset the equivalent of 15 tons equivalent CO2 over a period of 25 years. We’ve already done it!

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