Department of Energy and Climate Change
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Building confidence in the low carbon economy

Building confidence in the low carbon economy

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE News Release (Reference: 2009/023) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 26 February 2009

Two measures were announced today to help provide clarity and confidence for consumers concerned about climate change:

* New Carbon offsetting quality mark

* Consultation on clear definition of "carbon neutral"

To help consumers easily identify carbon offsetting projects that offer genuine carbon savings, the Government has developed the Carbon Offsetting Quality Assurance Scheme.

Minister for Energy and Climate Change Joan Ruddock welcomed the development of the offsetting quality mark saying:

"Information for consumers needs to be crystal clear and people need to have confidence that their money is put to good use. This new quality mark - developed with the industry - aims to improve transparency and give confidence to people wanting to offset their travel."

"Everyone should look for opportunities to reduce their emissions. Where we can't avoid emissions, offsetting offers a means of taking responsibility for them".

Carbon offsetting is a way of compensating for unavoidable carbon emissions by making an equivalent carbon dioxide saving elsewhere.

Offsetting companies using the quality mark on their products will need to have registered with the Carbon Offsetting Quality Assurance Scheme, and will have demonstrated that their projects are compliant with Kyoto standards to offer genuine, additional, measurable carbon savings, thus bringing consistency and transparency to the market place.

Today Joan Ruddock also launched a consultation proposing improved stringency and greater consistency in the use of the term "carbon neutral". The Minister added:

"The UK will need to live within set carbon budgets as we reduce our emissions by 80% by 2050. This will be nothing short of a revolution in the way we live and we need to ensure that terms like 'carbon neutral' are not used carelessly but are clear measures of what we can and will achieve."

The consultation recognises that the phrase "carbon neutral" is in common use, but claims about being carbon neutral can be unfounded. This clarification process, will ensure businesses and consumers can be confident about the positive decisions they make to take meaningful action in the fight against climate change.

Notes to Editors

1. You can find further information on the Carbon Offsetting Quality Assurance Scheme and a list of approved offsets at

2. You can find information on how to apply for the quality mark at

3. You can find the consultation on the definition of carbon neutral at

4. The "Carbon Neutral" consultation proposes the following definition: Carbon neutral means that - through a transparent process of measuring emissions, reducing those emissions and offsetting any unavoidable emissions - net calculated carbon emissions equal zero.

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