Media conglomerate News Corp. has bought 61,000 carbon credits accruing from wind farm projects in India. This constitutes nearly 10% of the firm’s greenhouse gas emissions between July 2005 and June 2006.
In an email, company spokeswoman Rachel Webber, confirmed the acquisition saying, “Both projects are located in Maharashtra.” She declined to elaborate, citing “confidentiality obligations” in thecontracts.
Webber did say the credits were bought through Cheyne Capital Management (UK) Llp., an asset manager, with expertise in the voluntary carbon market; and 3 Phases Energy, a wholesale and retail provider of renewable energy.
While Cheyne Capital did not respond, 3 Phases Energy said that though they are “one party” in the deal, further information may be shared only after talks with News Corp.
Last month, News Corp. announced an initiative to become a carbon-neutral firm by 2010, meaning it would cut down on emissions by using cleaner technology and invest in carbon-offsetting projects. Carbon offsetting projects, are an emerging favourite in countries, such as the US, where many firms have voluntarily committed to reduce their emissions by a fixed margin.
These are projects in which relatively greener technology, as opposed to using fossil fuel, is employed to generate power and run an industry. Thus, a factory using wind energy instead of the carbon dioxide emitting coal prevents a quantum of the poisonous gas from being emitted.
This factory can now claim this deficit, or “prevention”, as carbon credits and theoretically sell it to an organization, which couldn’t meet its own reduction targets.
The transaction is rarely simple, as it involves a host of intermediaries, such as brokers who purchase and trade these credits at certified international exchanges, and project groups, who for a payment, advise groups on which off-setting projects could give the best returns.
Unlike clean development mechanism projects, which are supposed to have tighter qualification criteria, carbon offset projects have relatively flexible eligibility criteria.
Thanks to increasing interest in the voluntary emissions market, organizations such as the World Economic Forum, Climate Group, International Emissions Trading Association, and the World Wildlife Fund, have launched their own set of rating standards such as the Voluntary Carbon Standard and the Gold Standard, that rate the quality of carbon offset projects.
News Corp. supports both the Voluntary Carbon Standard and the Gold Standard.
However, News Corp.’s Global Energy Initiative document emphasizes that the projects in India were selected from among a host of projects from across the world, and that the organization would only invest in projects that could be verified and continually monitored.