Companies offsetting emissions long before Paris agreement comes into force

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Despite the Paris Climate Agreement not being due to come into effect until 2017, the Ecosystem Marketplace recently reported that numerous companies are already making voluntary efforts to lower their emissions and improve their carbon footprint.
According to the article, thousands of corporates are already restructuring their business operations to reduce emissions, while hundreds are already using voluntary carbon offsets.
One such company is Delta Airlines, who decided by choice to reduce its emissions, despite the fact that most airlines are not subject to mandatory caps. First it increased its fuel efficiency, then it invested $1 million in restoring local farms to a forest state to absorb more CO2, in turn offsetting some of the airline's greenhouses gasses.
When the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) started to include international flights in Europe's cap-and-trade initiative, Delta took further steps to voluntarily keep 2014 emissions below those of 2012. It managed this by saving fuel, offsetting carbon and cutting back on waste, resulting in a greenhouse gas reduction of more than 159,000 metric tons of 'tCO2e' (CO2 equivalent), saving more than $46 million in the process.
Last year, Delta became one of the biggest voluntary buyers of carbon offsets in the world, ranking second only to car manufacturer General Motors, which is investing $40 million to offset 8 million metric tons of tCO2e.
Throughout the world, countries are implementing - or have already implemented - mandatory caps, particularly on sectors that use lots of emissions, like energy. Leading energy companies such as Exxon Mobil in the US, Australia's Origin Energy and Italy's Eni SpA are already buying carbon offsets, with the first two buying more than General Motors.
Internal emission-reduction strategies can only go so far. Utilising carbon offsetting to drive down emissions further will produce the best results when it comes to reducing emissions - something that only 17% of companies who reported to the CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) have done.
Of the companies surveyed by the CDP, 314 used offsetting to further lower their emissions. As the article notes, these activities combined have had the same effect on our climate as pulling 30 million cars off the road each year, or preventing 16 billion gallons of gasoline being burned.
In addition to Delta, Australia's Qantas airline made it into the top 20 voluntary buyers of offsets in 2014. But the biggest buyers were financial institutions, including Barclays Africa, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan Chase.
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