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Carbon offset

Carbon offsetting is used to compensate for emissions by funding an equivalent carbon dioxide saving elsewhere.
A carbon credit is created through financing activities that reduce, avoid, or absorb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A carbon credit is a certificate representing the reduction or removal of one metric ton (or 2,205 pounds) of CO2 equivalent emissions. When it is used to offset other emissions, it becomes an offset.
There are many types of offsetting projects, from projects that utilize technology to remove or prevent carbon emissions, such as mine methane capture and destruction and landfill gas capture, to home-based projects such as efficient cookstoves, to nature-based projects, such as afforestation and reforestation, to name a few.  

bp's carbon offset portfolio

Built over a decade, bp’s carbon offsets portfolio is made up of over 100 projects around the world1.

Each carbon offset project in bp’s portfolio has been verified  by third-party firms accredited under the applicable offset project standard. bp offsets meet or exceed the standards published by the listing registries on which they are listed. 


 1As of September 2021
bp does not intend to rely on offsets to meet either our 2025 emissions reduction targets or 2030 aims for scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. However, they may help us to go beyond those aims if we can.

Carbon offset registries

Registries develop science-based carbon offset standards, methodologies, and protocols that projects must meet in order to be listed and to be issued certificates in that registry. The registry oversees the independent verification of projects that meet their established standards and follow established carbon accounting methodologies in order to measure and verify the emission reductions. 


The registries also operate their own electronic registry system, recording issuance, transfer and retirement of serialized project based and independently verified offsets. This mitigates the risk of double counting or double selling by providing serialized offsets and linking the offset issuance and retirement logs. 


These registries maintain that carbon offsets should be real, additional, verifiable and permanent.

  • Real – represent GHG reductions in tons of CO2e that can reliably be estimated.
  • Additional – incremental to what would have happened without the offset.
  • Verifiable – by a qualified independent third party.
  • Permanent – any reversal should be accounted for and compensated.


Registries are vital in creating a credible offset commodity. Carbon offset registries track offset projects and issue credits for each unit of emission reduction or removal that is verified and certified. 


A key component of the offset issuance process is verification. Carbon registries require project developers to use independent auditors who are qualified and approved by the registry to assess projects against the program rules and requirements. This independent assessment process is critical to checking the integrity of the projects registered and the associated offsets created by the project.


Registries assign a serial number and record ownership for each verified offset credit. Once claimed as an offset against emissions, the registry retires the serial number so that the credit cannot be resold. 


bp utilizes several carbon offset registries in the voluntary carbon market. For North American offsets, bp utilizes American Carbon Registry, Climate Action Reserve and Verra. For International offsets, bp utilizes those three as well as the Clean Development Mechanism. Links for those registries are below.   

Why bp for carbon offsets?

bp’s purpose is reimagining energy for our people and our planet. We want to play
our part to help the world reach net zero and improve people’s lives. 

Reimagining Energy, Reinventing bp

In 2020, we launched an ambition to be a net zero company by 2050 or sooner, and set out 10 aims to support this ambition. We have also set 10 additional aims to improve people’s lives and care for our planet, which complete our sustainability frame. One of these includes our intent to support the development of scalable ‎markets for certified natural climate solutions, the natural ability of ecosystems to store carbon, that can help the world reduce deforestation, get to net zero ‎and deliver environmental and social benefits. 


We have experience in carbon markets since 2001.  We are also a recognized leader in risk management and hedging, with Energy Risk magazine naming bp emissions “house of the year” in 2017. 


bp can leverage our extensive voluntary offset portfolio to provide our customers: 

  • Spot and term offset sales, utilizing a portfolio approach
  • Structured/financing transactions
  • Offsets bundled with physical energy commodities 


 bp retires the offsets on our customers’ behalf, managing all the operational and audit requirements associated with the retirement of carbon offsets. Every carbon offset we retire is verified from a compliance perspective by an independent third-party.

bp's carbon offset offerings are for US customers only. For more information on our products and services, please contact your bp account representative.