This document aims to help address a growing demand for guidance on how companies can take responsibility for their emissions by contributing to climate action and the overarching global goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement.
Our objective is to increase understanding of the climate contribution approach and provide a common foundation from which other actors, networks and initiatives can integrate the concept into their own guidance and activities. It is intended as a resource that can be used by experts within the voluntary climate action community, corporate actors and observers alike, to set a recognised definition for the emerging approach.
Climate contributions reflect finance provided by an organisation to support climate action beyond its own value chain, without claiming to offset, or neutralise, any actual emissions. They represent a financial commitment that is a complement – and in no way an alternative – to directly reducing one’s own climate footprint.
We set out recommendations for implementing climate contributions in a manner which both incentivises cutting a company’s own emissions and enables climate action elsewhere, particularly in sectors and parts of the world where public finance is in short supply. Current approaches, in particular the prevailing narrative of offsetting emissions with low-cost carbon credits, adopted by many companies today, are not delivering the pace of structural change required to avert the most dangerous impacts of global warming. In some instances, they are actively undermining progress on decarbonisation.
The climate contribution approach does not offer the magical simplicity of a silver bullet for companies to wipe-off emissions from their balance sheet and absolve themselves of responsibility. However, it does offer a number of strengths for building resilient, future-oriented businesses that can thrive in an increasingly carbon-constrained global economy. Many of these strengths are either missing, or materially undermined, where companies adopt an approach in which they claim to offset their actual emissions.
To address in more details some of the most frequently asked questions on climate contributions and our guidance document we set up an FAQ page.