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Global Climate Change: OACETT Goes Carbon Neutral

Published in The Ontario Technologist Magazine Volume 61 Issue 4 July/August 2019.

We are pleased to announce that the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists (OACETT) has chosen to invest in carbon offset projects via Carbonzero in the fight to combat global climate change.

Global Climate Change Feature Article: OACETT Goes Carbon Neutral – Julie Beckstead

With the effects of global warming [global climate change] becoming more apparent, OACETT has made a concerted effort to mitigate the environmental impact of its operations and has developed a carbon strategy, which includes reducing carbon emissions and purchasing carbon offsets to become carbon neutral.

In many ways, carbon offsets are considered a form of trade. When an organization buys an offset, they fund projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including restoring forests, updating power plants and factories and increasing building and transportation energy efficiencies.

Fighting Global Climate Change with Carbon Offsets

Purchasing carbon offsets is essential because we cannot avoid producing emissions, such as those from travel, which is the most significant component of OACETT’s carbon footprint. OACETT sought certification to legitimize our carbon neutral status and made it a priority to focus on Canadian offset projects, especially in Ontario, as they align best with the organization’s commitment to the community [and help to combat global climate change].

After months of research, OACETT selected Carbonzero to obtain carbon neutral certification. Ranked as one of the top three carbon offset vendors in Canada, they help organizations measure, manage and mitigate their climate impact through auditing greenhouse gas emissions, finding savings, reporting the carbon footprint and purchasing offsets. Their commitment to Canadian offset projects, detailed carbon footprint calculators, and greater transparency and ease of research for their clients was a natural fit with OACETT’s approach to going carbon neutral.

Investing in Carbonzero Offsets

OACETT elected to purchase offsets toward the Niagara Escarpment Forest Carbon Project (NEFCP), which is publicly listed on the Canadian Standards Association projects registry and has been third-party verified under ISO-14064-2 by Carbon Consult Group. The Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy (EBC), which is a registered charity, manages the NEFCP. The EBC has been conserving land since 1997 and maintains 170 nature reserves over 13,356 acres of protected land from east of the Niagara Escarpment to Lake Huron.

When carbon offsets are purchased, the funds go toward the fees that EBC incurs to acquire land and protect conservation initiatives such as reforestation. They typically acquire land through donations; however, there are still appraisals and legal fees to pay.

“Through our partnership with EBC the Niagara Escarpment Forest Carbon Project fulfills our commitment to always provide the highest quality carbon offsets to our clients,” said Dan Fraleigh, COO of Carbonzero. “Our mission is to focus our portfolio on Canadian-based projects that support local communities and ones that are sourced through the most stringent of auditing practices and standards.”

The NEFCP promotes and maintains the forest cover and the function and diversity of ecosystems along the Niagara escarpment where activities such as logging, mineral extraction and severances have increased pressures on land and wildlife. NEFCP initiatives have contributed to tree growth that impacts carbon capture and enhances biodiversity. Project achievements include more than 50,000 tonnes of carbon reductions achieved between 2002 and 2016, protection of rare species, maintaining biodiversity and keeping geological features in their natural condition. Also, the project encourages sustainable low-impact recreation, and protection of featured species such as the Pileated Woodpecker, Painted Turtle and Great Grey Owl.

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Julie Beckstead is the program and chapter assistant at OACETT. Published in The Ontario Technologist Magazine Volume 61 Issue 4 July/August 2019.