Foto by Flickr.com — Paul Falardeau

Is carbon offsetting the best way for transport to reduce negative impacts?

By Nick Blake

ImagineCargo’s business model focuses on re-engineering transport networks so that transport options are chosen that have the minimum possible external impact on the environment and society at large.

We’ve been asked a few times whether carbon offsetting would have been an easier and better approach for us to take.

A number of our competitors make the claim that their services are carbon neutral. Indeed they take the approach of offsetting the carbon emissions they produce so that the potential impact on the environment their operations cause is balanced by investments in carbon reduction projects. Sometimes the customer needs to pay a small supplement in order to pay for the offset.

We believe that in many cases the carbon dioxide does not need to be emitted in the first place if smart (but sometimes more difficult) choices are made in the way that transport networks are engineered. By taking this approach the quantity of CO2 emissions that needs to be offset is dramatically reduced.

So at ImagineCargo we took the decision to use cycle couriers and rail transport rather than trucks and aeroplanes — this allows us to offer package transportation services with up to 99% less CO2 emissions than competing offerings.

In addition we are able to provide service with lower levels of noise, congestion, cancer-causing particulates, NOx, upstream methane and various other negative external impacts of transportation (which incidentally carbon offsetting programmes do not address).

We decided not to take the ‘easy way out’ of continuing to pollute and then offsetting the emissions.