Going to the AASHE Conference? Check out these Workshops on Carbon Offsets!

October 7, 2016

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The AASHE Conference & Expo returns next week, and it is not one to miss! The annual conference attracts more than 2,000 leaders from universities and sustainability sectors across the world. Over 400 sessions, workshops, tours, and keynote addresses will be held at this year’s conference in Baltimore; all of which are focused on advancing sustainability in higher education.

This year’s theme is Beyond the Campus, which “explores the dissemination and implementation of sustainability solutions in surrounding communities and the world.” We expect there will be a lot of discussion around collaboration across private and public stakeholders.

Naturally, Urban Offsets could not resist this incredible opportunity to meet likeminded professionals and further delve into the world of higher education sustainability. As Urban Offsets’ creates local carbon markets to help bridge the gap between academia and their surrounding communities, our role at AASHE this year will be to help expand this collaboration and find more ways of solving the urban sustainability problems we face.

Two sessions being held this year are truly ‘don’t miss’ opportunities:Utilizing Carbon Offsets To Fulfil the Second Nature Climate Leadership Commitments & Developing and Implementing Innovative Carbon Offset Projects. Both of these sessions will help your institution reach carbon neutrality and understand the role carbon offsets will play in that strategy. Here’s my take on what you can expect from both sessions:

Utilizing Carbon Offsets To Fulfil the Second Nature Climate Leadership Commitments

Brett Pasinell, Senior Manager at Second Nature will give an overview of their new guidelines for utilizing carbon offsets for Second Nature Climate Commitmented schools. Brett and his co-presenters Tani Colbert-Sangree of Oberlin, Robert Koester of Ball State University, John Pumilio of Colgate University, will highlight a sampling of projects that have informed campus leaders to the different ways they can benefit from innovative carbon offset projects.

Many institutions utilize carbon offsets to attain and maintain carbon neutrality under their Second Nature Climate Leadership Commitments. Second Nature provided guidelines back in 2008 for the appropriate use of carbon offsets in fulfilling climate commitments. Since then, new methods and innovations in the generation and procurement of offsets have changed the market significantly. Many campuses now generate, partner with key stakeholders, and sell offsets instead of simply purchasing them.

Developing and Implementing Innovative Carbon Offset Projects

This session is for universities and colleges with fast approaching climate goals. While energy reductions will guide you towards your climate goals, it is becoming more and more clear that carbon offsets must play a crucial role in achieving and maintaining neutrality. Schools committed to reaching neutrality before 2030 are looking for offset projects that provide significant co-benefits, support their educational and research goals, and are developed locally. Schools care about where their offsets come from, yet designing local projects can be both challenging and resource intensive.

This panel will dive deeper into a set of innovative carbon offset projects developed by Duke University, Oberlin College, and the University of Florida. Charles Adair and his co presenters Tani Colbert-Sangree of Oberlin and Megan Walker-Radtke of University of Florida will describe innovative offset projects including swine waste-to-energy, energy efficiency, and urban forestry projects The panelists will take us through project conceptualization, identifying stakeholders, designing these innovative projects, and connecting them back to curriculum and research goals. In particular, panelists will review common hurdles faced (e.g. verification) and best practices used to overcome them.

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Shawn Gagné and Jocelyn Tsai will be attending as many of the excellent sessions at AASHE as they can manage. We hope to see you there!