UK: French multinational cement producer Lafarge has been named in a list of top ten companies surrendering offsets into the European Union's (EU) emissions trading scheme (ETS) by environmental campaign group Sandbag. According to Sandbag's report 'Help or Hindrance? Offsetting in the EU ETS,' Lafarge purchased 181,425 certified emissions reduction (CERs) credits in 2011.
Carbon offsetting by the European cement sector grew by 246% in 2011 compared to 2010 figures. Carbon offsetting by all European companies grew by 85% in 2011. The companies policed by the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) submitted a total of 254 million credits to offset 13% of their carbon emissions. Sandbag's report observed that the majority of these offset credits were due to be banned from the scheme in 2013.
Lafarge surrendered 181,425 credits in 2011, HeidelbergCement surrendered 101,314 credits in 2008, Miebach Gruppe surrendered 65,813 credits in 2011, Colacem surrendered 59,756 credits in 2009 and Italcementi surrendered 37,867 credits in 2010. Sandbag did not report the breakdown of so-called 'grey' and 'green' credits for the cement industry.
"Offsetting was supposed to be a price containment measure to ensure that carbon prices didn't rise too high, but carbon prices have remained low due to excess supply in the market. Offsets are contributing significantly to this oversupply and are now depressing prices so low that the EU ETS almost ceases to have a function," said Rob Elsworth, policy officer at Sandbag.