For 20 years CO2OL has been supporting companies in their climate-neutral business activities.
For more and more companies in Germany and Europe, carbon offsetting is an important component of their climate strategy. Whether climate-neutral products, processes, services or events – companies are becoming increasingly involved in offsetting CO2 emissions that they cannot yet avoid.
Over the past two and a half years, the demand for CO2OL, the business unit for corporate climate protection of ForestFinest Consulting GmbH, has tripled to 1,500 medium-sized and industrial customers. The focus is on solutions for natural carbon storage in forests, peatlands and mangroves. Since 1998, CO2OL has been specializing in developing reforestation and forest protection projects and winning companies to offset their CO2 emissions.
Carbon offsetting is a tool for climate protection
Scientific work, most recently a highly regarded study by ETH Zurich, convincingly demonstrates that reforestation, sustainable forest management and the protection of existing forests are one of the most effective responses to climate change. After all, biomass and soils are the world’s most important carbon reservoirs besides the oceans. In order to still achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement of limiting the global rise in temperature to below two degrees Celsius, politicians are increasingly demanding massive investments in global reforestation projects – Chancellor Angela Merkel at her summer press conference, previously the new head of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, as well as ministers Julia Klöckner (Agriculture) and Gerd Müller (Economic Cooperation and Development).
More and more companies compensate their carbon footprint with CO2OL
“We are currently getting tailwind,” says Managing Director Dirk Walterspacher. “Public attention, political but also entrepreneurial support for our topics ‘reforestation and forest conservation as an important climate protection measure’ have never been as great as they are today”.
CO2OL has now been working for 20 years to reforest degraded land in developing and emerging countries in Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia, to establish sustainable mixed forests and agroforestry systems, to manage forest areas responsibly and to preserve protective forests.
CO2OL began reforesting fallow pasture land on a small finca in Panama at the end of the 1990s and has since been working with projects in 16 countries worldwide, including Panama, Colombia, Brazil, Ethiopia and Indonesia.
The forests of CO2OL are not only good for the climate. They stabilize water cycles, prevent soil erosion and protect biodiversity. What’s more, these projects improve the social living conditions of local communities and provide a variety of incentives for the regional economy. Cocoa is grown in Panama, wood production is strengthened in Colombia and coffee cultivation is supported in Ethiopia. All projects and companies contribute to many of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Offsetting companies should not be attacked for their commitment
The deputy director of the FAW research institute, professor Estell Herlyn, stated while presenting the ETH study at a federal press conference that she saw great willingness in the private sector to commit to climate protection; this in fact has become a risk management issue. But, according to Herlyn, companies wished that they were not seen as buying themselves out anymore when they invest in international climate protection projects. She urges this blaming has to stop as carbon offsetting is one of the greatest immediate levers at our hands.
CO2OL is therefore also actively involved in the “Alliance for Development and Climate” initiative of the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) together with the “Senate of the Economy”, an association of companies committed to the eco-social market economy. The aim of the alliance is to combine corporate climate protection efforts in Germany and Europe with economic modernization in poorer countries. Carbon offsetting projects play a key role in this.
“We strongly support this initiative. Because climate is global and carbon offsetting has an impact here and now,” says Walterspacher. “When companies take action and offset their unavoidable CO2 emissions, it is not a ‘sale of indulgences’, but responsible action. Those companies that compensate usually have a long-term plan and at the same time pursue ambitious climate strategies and reduction targets. Given the urgency, we do not have the luxury of doing one thing and not doing the other; we must exhaust all possible options.”
CO2OL is the “in-house” specialist for operational climate protection of ForestFinest Consulting GmbH and supports companies to operate climate neutrally. ForestFinest develops, manages and certifies sustainable forestry, agroforestry and integrated land use projects. For 20 years CO2OL has been working in the areas of climate protection, carbon pricing, carbon markets and CO2 compensation. CO2OL was the first provider to support Gold Standard certified forest projects and is now an important partner of the standard organisation for climate protection projects in the forest sector. CO2OL’s climate protection projects are based on the highest quality standards. CO2OL is a partner of medium-sized companies from the manufacturing industry, the energy industry, the event sector, service providers and global companies.