Carbon offsetting guide aims to prevent greenwashing

UKGBC guidance enables a ‘more holistic’ approach for practitioners

Credit: iStock – OKrasyuk

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has launched new guidance on carbon offsetting in construction, which updates previous UKGBC guidance on offsetting at individual asset level. 

The publication, which tied in with London Climate Action Week 2023 at the end of June, says ‘responsible’ carbon offsetting has a crucial role to play in the transition to net zero carbon buildings once efforts to reduce embodied carbon and energy use intensity have been exhausted. 

However, purchasing offsets from the voluntary carbon market can be challenging because of its lack of maturity and transparency, increasing exposure to accusations of ‘greenwashing’.

The guidance emphasises the importance of setting an internal carbon price for projects, given that the cost of accredited carbon credits on the voluntary market do not ‘accurately’ reflect the full societal and economic cost of emissions into the atmosphere. It aims to enable practitioners to take a ‘more holistic’ approach to carbon offsetting that goes beyond procurement of voluntary offset credits. 

The publication sets out three levels of ambition for industry-minimum requirements, good practice, and leading approach.