Demystifying carbon offsets: What lies ahead for the carbon offset market?

Demystifying carbon offsets: What lies ahead for the carbon offset market?
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As businesses, brands and consumers look to reduce their impact, carbon offsets are the mechanism many are turning to.

Not only to reduce their footprint but also to invest in projects that uplift communities and accelerate us to net zero.

Today, we chat with Taylor Fox-Smith from Trace – a ClimateTech company enabling measurement, reduction and offsetting of business emissions – to break down the complex world of carbon offsets and share their insights into how businesses and brands can get involved.



Tell us a bit about Trace – Who are you, and what do you do?

Trace is a ClimateTech company on a mission to enable businesses and their employees to start their journey to net zero.

Trace’s intuitive platform has empowered hundreds of businesses to measure, manage and offset their emissions.

We know that climate action is a team sport, so our employee engagement toolkit makes it easy to educate staff on the journey, too. Trace is female-founded and Australian-born with a keen focus on transparency and simplicity.


Carbon offsetting. For those who don’t know, what is it, and how does it work? 

Carbon offsetting is the process of a company compensating for their carbon footprint by funding projects which reduce, remove or store greenhouse gases. 

The first step in carbon offsetting is to measure your emissions, also known as your carbon footprint. With a technology platform like Trace, you can do this in one week.

The second step is to identify ways to reduce emissions by preventing them from being released. This may include switching to renewable energy, reducing air travel, or educating employees about green energy solutions at home. For any unavoidable emissions, you can use carbon offsetting. A company like Trace will purchase carbon credits on your behalf, equal to or above the amount of carbon emitted by your business. These credits provide essential funds for carbon offset projects that remove or reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.

This works because climate change is a non-localised problem – reducing greenhouse gases anywhere in the world helps the climate as a whole.

Tiwi Islands Savanna burning.
Cool Fire Traditional Land Management, Australia
Combining traditional knowledge with contemporary technology to reduce fire risk & carbon emissions.


How does Trace do it differently?

Our co-founders, Cat and Jo, understand that behind every offset is a story – not just a tonne of CO2. Trace makes the carbon offsetting process transparent and engaging – providing the information you need to be able to talk about the story and the impact. We manage a portfolio of projects from around the world ensuring that our customers are making a diverse impact at an accessible price. From biodiversity conservation in Australia’s Coorong Lakes to providing efficient cookstoves in Nepal – we handpick externally verified projects that deliver measurable benefits against the Paris Agreement and UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Trace Co-founders Catherine Long and Joanna Auburn

What are some misconceptions you see being thrown around about carbon offsetting?

We often hear that carbon offsetting is the “guilt-free way” to take climate action. Having talked to hundreds of businesses across many industries, leadership teams are keen to take credible and meaningful steps toward net zero but fear the noise around offsets being subpar. We believe that offsets are a critical part of the journey – they ensure that you’re responding to your footprint measurement, taking immediate action to rectify and signalling deeper efforts to decarbonise for a smaller footprint at your next measurement. Offsetting puts a price on doing business which incentives action and drives change, think of it like an internal tax. . In that sense, it’s not a guilt-free act but rather the start of some deeper, more meaningful engagement on the journey to net zero.


What are some of the common challenges that you see businesses and brands face when it comes to their carbon footprint; what would be your advice to them?

Many businesses see the first step – measuring their footprint – as a time and cost-intensive task. This pain point is why we built Trace – we have the carbon methodology to ensure that your data collection is easy and the assessment is accurate. For example, if you are a company that works in a hybrid format or you’re testing out a co-working space for the year – you often won’t have access to your electricity bill. When you choose Trace, that’s completely fine! We have the models and assumptions to be able to extrapolate based on the size of your workspace. It’s important to find a climate partner who appreciates data accuracy and how your business operates.

Mount Sandy Conservation, Australia
A land conservation project in partnership with the traditional land owners, the Ngarrindjeri people



We also often hear from SMEs that “we’re so small… we don’t have a footprint”. The reality is that 75% of an SME’s footprint is in their supply chain – what you spend money on has a footprint. Climate action is a team sport and businesses – large and small – are responsible for the measurement and management of their emissions.

How can people learn more about trace and get involved?

People can learn about Trace from our website ( or by engaging directly with our Partnerships team through Taylor ([email protected]).

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