“When a company partners with us, it’s a long-term process,” says Frederic Fournier, founder of On a Mission. And that’s perhaps the most important difference between Frederic’s non-profit organisation and other options on the market that offer companies and individuals the chance to offset their carbon emissions with sustainable reforestation.
While ten years may seem like a long time in the world of business, in forestry, even longer would be better. Just think about it. An oak tree, for example, may only grow a few centimetres every year. And how much carbon a tree can really sequester depends on its age. Experts believe that older trees store more carbon than very young ones.
In 2019, global emissions were around 33 gigatons. Planting trees is the most effective way of offsetting those emissions. But only when done properly.
When working out how environmentally friendly something really is, “you have to look at what goes in compared to what comes out,” says Oliver Munnion, plantations coordinator for the Global Forest Coalition.
This is one of the main criticisms of tree planting in carbon offsetting schemes. While trees can be planted today, who’s to say whether they will be there tomorrow? They could be subject to forest fires or they could be cut down. And it’s all down to how transparent an organisation is.
If you buy carbon credits but you don’t know who has certified them, you have no way of knowing if your money is really doing any good for the planet.
Sustainable reforestation is key
That’s why at On a Mission, they work closely with their projects on the ground. It’s not only companies they have long term relationships with: it’s also the activities. Monitoring their work is an essential part of what they do and, when it comes to certification, a third party evaluates both the organization and their reforestation projects.
While other organizations make it their business to promote carbon offsetting, for On a Mission, that’s secondary. “Our real aim is to support sustainable reforestation,” says Frederic. “We support the projects but we also make sure they do what they say they will do,” he continues.
So why not simply buy some land and make a reserve? Frederic doesn’t think that’s viable. “I don’t think that would have an impact on the forest,” he says. He prefers the idea of helping people see how they can benefit from their environment. People tend to respect it more that way.
On a Mission is in its early days. It only started its project selection process in 2018. But, as its name implies, the organisation really is on a mission to protect our climate. You can see that in their business model. Promising to take a maximum of 10% of all funds for themselves, On a Mission is mostly run by volunteers with a passion for caring for the planet.
To support On a Mission, you can offset your personal or business emissions here. Or support one of the companies in partnership with them.