The Gandhi Project: offsetting our carbon emissions
From signing up to a renewable energy plan to flying less or cutting down on meat, most of us are coming to terms with the need to reduce our carbon footprint in the fight to tackle climate change.
However, for those unavoidable emissions, there are carbon offsetting programmes around the world which can help bring our collective environmental impact down. Here at Selectra, we’ve partnered with EcoAct and the Gandhi Project to offer carbon offsets to anyone who makes the switch to a new energy provider.
The Gandhi Project: what is it?
The Gandhi Project is a sustainable wind farm programme based all over India, including Mahatma Gandhi’s birthplace of Porbandar. As a developing nation, around 56% of India’s electricity still comes from coal and other fossil fuels. Although these energy sources are cheap, this has a serious impact on the environment.
The fuel mix in the UK energy sector is currently made up of 33% renewables and just 5% coal, something that is currently unthinkable in a developing nation like India. Run by Selectra’s partner EcoAct and certified under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), the Gandhi Project aims to contribute to India’s path to clean energy.
The Gandhi project in numbers:
- 21 wind turbines.
- 36GWh of green electricity generated each year.
- 33,000 tonnes less carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2eq) emissions - that’s the equivalent of 75,000 tonnes of unburned coal!
As well as the positive environmental impact, funding provided by the Gandhi project also goes towards:
- Building or supporting 80 schools through scholarships.
- A 50% increase in school enrollments in Tidi, a village in Udaipur, Rajasthan.
- Helping more than 800 beneficiaries of food aid.
Why choose the Gandhi project?
In our search for a carbon offset partner, Selectra chose EcoAct, an international developer of low carbon climate solutions.
Since its founding in 2006, it has delivered over 1,000 projects which have helped to create more than 20,000 jobs in developing countries.
Of all its many programmes, we felt that the Gandhi Project had one of the best returns in terms of carbon dioxide (CO2) offset compared to cost.
An additional and ongoing project
Here at Selectra, we also felt it was vitally important that the project we invested in was considered additional, in that it would have an impact on a community where governmental funds or other external shareholder investment were not available in its place.
It was also imperative that the programme we chose is an ongoing one, rather than a short-term emission reduction project. The impact of the Gandhi Project is significant and constant over time, with a lifespan that will last between 20 and 30 years.
Why not support a carbon offset project in the UK instead?
We chose to support a project in the developing world as we all share the same planet. The challenges of climate change are a global issue, rather than just a local one.
Electing for a project in a nation such as India also sees a greater return on your investment, as more can be achieved with less money in a developing economy. Together with this, the energy mix and infrastructures of a country like the UK are responsible for much fewer carbon emissions.
In fact, in 2019 the UK produced the majority of its electricity from renewables for the first time, while clean energy sources accounted for only 10% of India’s total energy use.
How can I be sure that my money goes to the Gandhi project?
The Gandhi Project is certified by the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). To become VCS-approved, the project must meet a very strict set of criteria:
- The project must be real, in that it has already been completed, rather than based on a pledge to build.
- It must be permanent. For example, if a tree that was planted as part of a VCS-backed reforestation project is cut down, it must be placed.
- The project must have a strong environmental and social impact and not have a negative effect on sustainable development within the community.
- The project is validated by a third party with no conflict of interests.
- The carbon credits issued must be unique and can only be sold once.
The VCS determines how many tonnes of CO2 emissions have been offset thanks to the project and issues certificates, which Selectra then passes on to the customer to offset their own emissions. This certificate is proof that their money is going towards the construction of wind farms in India, which in turn will mean less coal-fired energy production.
The positive impacts of the Gandhi project
The Gandhi Project is a programme that has positive effects on both the environment and local living conditions. Although its main focus is on renewable energy, it has also had a positive social impact through creating jobs at the various wind power plants across India and financing scholarships and food aid.
What is carbon offsetting?
First coined following the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, carbon offsetting is the act of compensating for our greenhouse gas emissions by helping to fund projects that decrease emissions elsewhere, for example, renewable energy programmes or reforestation projects.
Of course, carbon offsetting is just one of many actions we can take to help us effectively tackle climate change. Making adjustments to our daily habits is just as important too, be that eating less meat, travelling by public transport or only flying when necessary.
To reach our goals on a global scale, carbon offsetting programmes often also include projects to counter deforestation, as well as financing renewable technologies and helping to lift people out of poverty by providing jobs and clean water.
What does carbon neutral mean?
The UK has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050, but what does this actually mean? Growing plants such as trees to produce energy or raw materials takes CO2 out of the atmosphere, whereas burning them releases it again. To become carbon neutral, or ‘net-zero’, the amount of CO2 taken out and released again must be identical.
Why should I offset my carbon emissions?
The changing climate is going to have an unavoidable impact on our future. Over the past century, we’ve seen increases in temperatures at an unprecedented rate, which has led to a rising of sea waters and a reduction in fauna and flora numbers.
States have made an effort to limit the impact of climate change by committing firstly to the creation of carbon credits to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in 1997 as part of the Kyoto Protocol and more recently in the Paris Agreement of 2015, which is a universal and legally binding climate deal to try and keep the increase in global temperatures below 2°C.
Scientists believe climate change is largely down to the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. As the world became more industrialised, greenhouse gases were emitted in excessive quantities.
What’s a greenhouse gas?Greenhouse gases are invisible and odourless gases which nevertheless have very serious consequences for the environment. These gases trap heat, which remains in the atmosphere, increasing the surface temperature.
The Kyoto Protocol called for the restriction of six greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).
Gandhi Project: FAQ
Ready to help us make a difference? Read on to find out how you can sign up for the Gandhi Project and adjust your carbon offset plan.
How can I support the Selectra Gandhi Project?
When you switch supplier through Selectra you'll be given the option to sign up to offset your carbon emissions at the same time. One of our friendly Energy Experts will help you work out the size of your carbon footprint and therefore how much CO2 should be compensated for.
Can I change the amount of carbon I’m offsetting?
Of course! You can adjust the amount you have pledged to offset as your carbon footprint shrinks or grows over time as you make changes to your energy consumption.
Simply send an email to email@example.com explaining your situation and the adjustments you’ve made and we’ll do the rest!
Can I cancel my carbon offset?
If you’d like to cancel your Gandhi Project subscription you can do so at any time for no fee. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get in touch to terminate your carbon offset.
I have a question about the Selectra Gandhi Project
If you’re interested in carbon offsetting and want to learn more, you can speak to one of our Energy Experts by calling Selectra on 020 3936 0059.