Commentary: Nature-Based Insetting: A Harmful Distraction from Corporate Decarbonization

Nora Mardirossian; Jack Arnold

Carbon offsetting is used worldwide on a massive scale, purportedly to mitigate climate change by capturing atmospheric carbon or by increasing or protecting carbon storage. Yet, in recent years, offsetting has been increasingly criticized as a strategy that can harm Indigenous peoples and local communities, exacerbate land inequality, and, paradoxically, worsen the global climate crisis. “Carbon insetting” has emerged as an alternative approach to offsetting that localizes nature-based solutions projects and other greenhouse gas removal activities within company value chains and has been adopted by major global brands such as Nestlé, PepsiCo, and Burberry. This commentary takes a deep dive into insetting projects that employ nature-based solutions, finds that they are likely to suffer from many of the same shortcomings as nature-based offsetting, and argues that corporate reliance on insetting should be treated with extreme skepticism.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
Published Here
April 4, 2023