Some 94{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622} of businesses worldwide feel that organisations should reduce their greenhouse gas emissions even when the law does not require them to.

That is according to a new report from Imperial College London, which reveals that 79{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622} of firms believe climate change poses a risk to their business.

The research also shows that offsetting is the method most used by companies in order to take responsibility for their impact on the environment.

This involves supporting emission reduction projects around the world, often through purchasing carbon credits, and is seen as a simple solution for businesses wishing to be more environmentally friendly.

“The effects of climate change, such as extreme weather events and supply chain failure, pose real threats to business,” says Simon Henry, programme director at the ICROA, which assisted with the research.

“Voluntarily offsetting their emissions allows businesses to play a role in this global challenge and take steps to mitigate their climate impact.”

The report highlights how offset projects generate a range of co-benefits to communities such as health improvements, alternative livelihoods, water stewardship and biodiversity conservation.

After conducting a survey of companies across a wide rage of sectors including private, public, and non-profit/NGOs, it was found that 81{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622} believe these extra benefits should be verified.

In addition, the research shows that businesses have a preference for domestic and local programmes, and are increasingly looking at carbon finance projects to lessen the environmental impact within their own supply chain.

Some 49{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622} of the respondents said they had experienced tangible benefits from voluntary offsetting, with reputation, market differentiation, and employee and stakeholder engagement, the most cited.

“Carbon offset projects make a valuable contribution to the reduction of emissions. Better recognition of this would demonstrate the value to companies in meeting their climate goals,” the report says.

“Demonstrating co-benefits, in addition to carbon mitigation, will increase the return on investment, and in turn, will increase the willingness to invest in voluntary offsetting.”