For the last 14 months, my total carbon footprint has been zero.
Well, negative actually, given the events of the last year.
I used to fly a lot, both for a work and for pleasure, and I worried about the environmental impact. Flying is notorious for having a poor carbon footprint, but it also doesn't make much sense to give it up. Reduce it where possible, sure, but from my perspective, the benefits of travel are hard to ignore.
I held a healthy amount of skepticism for airlines offering carbon offsets, knowing their affinity for seeking profits in unlikely places, but the world of carbon footprint calculation is daunting.
It's hard to calculate the impact of eating a specific food, let alone how much carbon offset I should be buying for my whole life.
And where do you even buy carbon offsets? What do they look like in real life?
Thankfully, there are companies solving this problem, and I stumbled upon a fantastic one.
Wren offers a monthly subscription that offsets your carbon footprint. It's typically about $20 per month, depending on how much carbon you think you produce.
They offer a calculator to help you figure that out too. If you want, you can even offset your entire carbon footprint back to birth.
The complicated side of carbon offsets is the calculation and implementation. Is it accurate? Is it priced properly? What is actually being done to remove carbon?
Wren makes most of those questions moot.
They fund projects like buying up rainforest for preservation, planting trees, and regenerative agroforestry. Often in developing nations.
You get to choose which projects you'd like to support.
Then they send you a monthly email with updates on the projects, photos, and specific tracking.
So the question of whether this is the right project to support becomes: is this a project worthy of support?
With Wren, the answer is always yes.
Most of us don't have time to get into the details of the best or most accurate pricing of carbon, or the optimal project to support our offset.
But that shouldn't be an excuse.
I view carbon footprint offsets and personal finance the same: getting started is the important part.
You can sign up for Wren here (it also makes a great gift).