Carbon Offset

Through Shopify, we have opted to participate in a program called: Carbon Offsets 

Offset allows us to neutralize our shipping emissions that contribute to climate change. Therefore, we are investing in sustainability initiatives to counteract the environmental impact of shipping. 

We're excited to work with Pachama and contribute to certified projects, complying with the best-in-class carbon offset protocols and standards. 


Our contributions are currently funding the Jarí Para Forest Conservation Project in the Amazon Rainforest.


 Type REDD+ Avoided Unplanned Deforestation
Standard Verified Carbon Standard
Location Brazil
Developer Biofílica


Jari Pará Project is a forest conservation project. It reduces potential greenhouse gas emissions by protecting a large swath of forest (almost twice the size of Luxembourg) that otherwise would have been destroyed. It is a REDD+ project that is at the front lines of deforestation in the Amazon today trying to stop clear-cutting practices that are causing the loss of so much rainforest today.


What are Carbon Offsets?

Carbon offsets are surrounded by a lot of confusion right now. In the ongoing experiment to combat climate change, carbon offsets have gained popularity and controversy alike.

Shopify recently rolled out options for merchants and buyers to offset the carbon emissions from their order deliveries: 

  • Offset: A Shopify app allowing merchants to opt-in to offset the shipments of all of their deliveries.
  • Shop: For every order purchased through Shop Pay, Shopify will offset all delivery emissions.

But what are carbon offsets, really? How do they work, and how do we know they’re effective? This article will walk you through Shopify’s offset strategy and how we selected our carbon offset projects. 

Carbon offsets explained

Imagine making a mess, let’s say spilling a can of paint. But you don’t know how to clean up paint, or you just don’t want to. So instead of cleaning it yourself, you pay someone to clean up a different can of spilled paint somewhere else, or to prevent another paint can from being spilled. The paint you spilled is still there. But the number of total paint cans spilled in the world is the same as before you spilled yours. This is what carbon offsets are like for the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions we release into the atmosphere.

The good news is that this is a crude analogy. In the paint can scenario, you’d still be side-stepping spilled paint and would never see the benefit of your remote cleaning. Pulling carbon from the atmosphere, however, is different, because it’s beneficial to the entire planet, regardless of where in the world it happens.

People, businesses, and governments can calculate how much carbon they’ve emitted from things like daily life and business operations and then pay to capture or prevent emissions for that amount of CO2. Offsets are sold per metric ton of CO2, and the price range is massive, from a few dollars per metric ton to hundreds of dollars. It all depends on the size of the offset project, the technology used, and the country where it’s implemented.


Offsets are not a perfect solution—but they’re a necessary tool.

You’ve likely heard criticisms of offsets, like:

  • “They only absolve people of their guilt and don’t actually curb emission-causing behavior.”
  • “It’s hard to validate and quantify the impact of a carbon offset.”
  • “There are ‘bad actors’ who exploit the system, creating more greenhouse gas emissions than they otherwise would have, just to make money from curbing them.”
  • “There are a wide range of prices for various carbon offsets but many of them are very expensive (making them an unrealistic option) or very cheap (and can they really be doing good for such a low price?).”

Offsets are not a perfect solution—but they’re a necessary tool, especially until we develop better technology to mitigate emissions.

Why Shopify purchases carbon offsets

Shopify has adopted carbon offsets as a tactic that is part of a larger strategy:

  1. Reduce direct emissions as much as possible.
  2. Offset all remaining emissions.

To be clear, offsets are not a replacement for taking actions to reduce our carbon footprint—they are a last resort to compensate for emissions we can’t currently avoid.

Shopify’s business operations and platform are carbon neutral. We take steps to reduce our emissions by creating green offices and being mindful of our footprint, but we also pay to offset our emissions from things like powering our offices, data centres, people, and business travel.

Our responsibility goes beyond this, though. Shop and Offset allow us to offer carbon offsets to merchants and buyers on our platform. That’s the magic of being a platform company: we can reach more than one million merchants around the globe who use Shopify and the hundreds of millions of buyers who purchase from them.

The flipside of this benefit is that our platform enables a lot of carbon emissions from order deliveries shipped all around the world. 

Carbon offsets are not the solution to climate change 

Carbon offsets alone won’t solve the problem of global warming. Not by a long shot. We’re not saving the planet by investing in them, but we are reducing the amount of overall carbon that we’re emitting, and if a bunch more people did that too, it would make our climate goals a whole lot easier to achieve. 

There are one billion hectares of land on earth where we can plant trees without impacting agriculture. This would allow for 1.2 trillion trees, which could capture more than 200 gigatons of carbon from the atmosphere, wiping out a decade of the damage we’ve already done, according to a Swiss study

It’s not nearly enough. But it’s a start. We’ll continue to offset what we cannot eliminate, and we'll keep investing in other solutions to figure out what works best 


Excerpts from Shopify's Blog - To read more click this link: