Carbon offsetting is a modern-day phenomenon – turning big polluters into environmentalists. It’s about heavy industry – mostly in the developed world – buying credits to offset the pollution it creates by exceeding its carbon emissions limit. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry, but at grass-roots level it’s helping to regenerate parts of the developing world by planting trees and creating business opportunities. One such place is Mozambique, where carbon offsetting has brought together an unlikely alliance of a celebrity agency in LA, a hedge fund investor in London and a Burger Chain empire in Sweden.
They have been drawn together by the UK-based company Envirotrade, which sells carbon offsets to businesses and individuals to support the conservation and management of existing forests and the planting of new ones. These three companies offset the 27,000 tonnes of carbon they produce each year, by planting 90,000 trees in Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique. In Carbon Trading we follow for the BBC the flow of money from companies who are voluntarily buying offsets, from the City of London to the small farmers who maintain the trees.