As companies become increasingly conscientious about their impact on the environment, many are looking for ways to reduce and offset their carbon emissions. Forward looking organizations are also considering extending those efforts to helping their employees reduce and offset their own personal carbon footprints. In this article we’ll discuss the pros and cons of this option to help you decide if it’s right for your organization.

The Pros of Carbon Offsets as an Employee Benefit

There are several benefits to offering carbon offsets as an employee benefit. First, it can help attract and retain top talent. Many job seekers, especially millennials and gen Z, place a high value on working for companies that are taking concrete steps to reduce environmental harm. Including the employees themselves in this effort demonstrates to job candidates that you’re serious about holistic environmental responsibility.

The vast majority of Gen Zs and millennials (90%) are making at least some effort to reduce their own impact on the environment.

The Deloitte Global 2022 Gen Z and Millennial Survey© 2022.

Employees who have the option to offset their personal carbon footprints may feel like they’re playing a more direct role in mitigating the effects of climate change. This increased sense of connectedness to the cause can lead to higher levels of engagement, satisfaction, and morale among your workforce.

“To me, this benefit speaks to the character of the company leadership. This benefit shows them putting actual dollars to principles. That gives me a lot of confidence in how they will approach the other things they say they value.”

Carbon Off Member Company – Candidate who became Employee

Finally, it is also a cost effective way to help employees know that not only is their work good, but that they aren’t having a negative impact on the planet through their personal lives either. To offset the average US employees’ carbon footprint is $30 a month. When compared with other common employee benefits like health insurance or 401(k) matching, offering to offset your employees’ personal carbon footprints is a very meaningful, yet inexpensive, way to show employees you care about their well being and the environment.

The Cons of Carbon Offsets as an Employee Benefit

Despite the benefits, there are some potential drawbacks to consider before offering carbon offsets as an employee benefit. First, it’s important to keep in mind that some employees may not care about carbon offsets. Not everyone cares about environmental issues in the same way, and that’s ok.

Secondly, it’s possible that offering carbon offsets as an employee benefit could unintentionally give your employees permission to feel ok about increasing their carbon footprint. Carbon offsets are meant to supplement other sustainability initiatives – not replace them.

Lastly, offering these benefits to your team without taking other intentional actions to reduce the carbon footprint of the organization itself could be seen as “passing the buck” on to the employees. Just as the world needs to use multiple tools to help curb the effects of climate change, so too do companies need to use a combination of methods to reduce their organizational carbon footprint.

Are Carbon Offsets as an Employee Benefit Right for Your Company?

Now that you know more about the pros and cons of offering carbon offsets as an employee benefit, you can decide if it is right for your company. If you do decide to move forward with this option, make sure to communicate clearly with employees why you’re doing it and what the benefits are. If you sign up for this through Carbon Off, in addition to providing the offsetting benefits themselves, we’ll also provide you with a badge you can use in your marketing and job listings showing your commitment to sustainability.