The Difference Between Carbon Offsets and RECs


These days, many of us are looking to reduce our impact on the environment. In the trucking industry, the need for sustainability is more important than ever before. You might already be making strides toward sustainability through practices like purchasing carbon offset certificates. But carbon offsets aren’t your only option. Did you know can also look into purchasing renewable energy certificates, or RECs.

Here are some of the key differences. 

What is a Carbon Offset Certificate? 

A carbon offset certificate (sometimes called a “carbon offset credit”) is one instrument that businesses can use to offset the emissions produced through their daily operations. When you purchase a certificate, you’re essentially paying for someone else to remove the equivalent of your carbon emissions from the air. After you purchase a certificate, you can later “retire” it to claim the reduction toward your company’s sustainability goals. 

What is a Renewable Energy Certificate? 

An REC, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, is “a market-based instrument that represents the property rights to the environmental, social, and other non-power attributes of renewable electricity generation.”

A REC can be issued when a megawatt-hour of electricity is produced by a renewable energy source and is then delivered to the electricity grid. 

What is their Purpose?

Carbon offsets are meant to represent greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions. When you purchase a carbon offset certificate, you’re supporting emissions reduction activities by funding local, state, national, or international efforts to remove carbon from the air. Finally, carbon offsets can lower the costs of GHG emissions mitigation. 

RECs, on the other hand, demonstrate the use of renewable electricity generation. They can help to expand your electricity service choices and support the development of renewable electricity in general. If your business prides itself on using renewable energy, purchasing an REC can help you backup your claims. 

In short, carbon offsets are meant to support removing carbon from the air, while RECs are meant to support the generation of renewable energy. 

Where do you source offsets and RECs?

When you purchase one of these instruments, where does your money go? 

Purchasing a carbon offset certificate puts your money toward projects that reduce the amount of greenhouse gas in the air. Purchasing an REC puts your money toward renewable electricity generators. 

How are they measured? 

Finally, it’s important to learn how these two instruments are measured. 

Carbon offsets are dedicated to pulling carbon from the air. So, they are measured in metric tons of CO2 (or its equivalent). But since RECs are dedicated to making new energy, they are measured in megawatt hours. 

About Guttman Renewables

Whether you choose to purchase carbon offsets or RECs, you’re taking a significant step toward sustainability. The team at Guttman Renewables can help as you continue to work toward an eco-friendly operation. We provide top-quality sustainable products, effective business solutions with little environmental impact, and a customer service team dedicated to helping you meet your goals. 

Contact Guttman Renewables today to learn how we can support your business on the journey to environmental responsibility. 

Written by:

As Director of Marketing for Guttman Holdings, I lead our advertising, digital marketing, branding, and public relations strategies, and share my expertise to communicate key messaging to all our stakeholders. With my diversified leadership background, I also drive innovation and cutting-edge business practice and results, to generate interest in Guttman Energy, Guttman Renewables, and Source One service offerings.

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