The Duncan-based Cowichan Energy Alternatives Society has developed the Community Carbon Marketplace that allows local businesses to buy carbon offsets from Island projects. (Submitted graphic)

The Duncan-based Cowichan Energy Alternatives Society has developed the Community Carbon Marketplace that allows local businesses to buy carbon offsets from Island projects. (Submitted graphic)

Duncan moves toward carbon neutrality

Carbon offsets achieved locally

Duncan and its fellow Vancouver Island communities of Ladysmith and Tofino are quickly moving toward carbon neutrality.

In fact, most municipalities in B.C. have made a commitment to try to become carbon neutral under the B.C. Climate Action Charter, and many are working to help achieve it through the purchase of carbon offsets, mostly in overseas locations.

A carbon offset is a credit for greenhouse gas reductions achieved by one party that can be purchased and used to compensate, or offset, the emissions of another party.

But, unlike most other B.C. municipalities, Duncan, Ladysmith and Tofino are achieving most of their goals right on their doorsteps with the assistance of the Community Carbon Marketplace.

The CCM, a project created by the Duncan-based Cowichan Energy Alternatives Society, is a new local approach for communities to lower their carbon footprint while kick-starting the local low-carbon economy at the same time.

For the first time, small to mid-sized businesses and community organizations in the area can generate revenue streams for every tonne of carbon reduced through eligible greenhouse gas reduction projects by participating in the innovative online CCM program.

Duncan, Ladysmith and Tofino have invested $16,000 towards three Vancouver Island green projects in order to achieve carbon neutrality, retiring a total of 553 tonnes of carbon emissions through the CCM.

The green projects are the Cowichan Bio-Diesel Co-op, the Island Bio-Diesel Co-op, and the Nanaimo Landfill Gas Capture.

Hassaan Rahim, project manager at the CEAS, said this new revenue stream is intended to reward sustainable business decisions, and acts as a tipping point in favour of making them.

“The City of Duncan, Town of Ladysmith, and District of Tofino are committed to balancing their greenhouse gas emissions through the CCM entirely from local carbon reduction initiatives, leading the way for other communities to follow,” Rahim said.

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