Offsetting to Insetting: How We’re Shifting Our Climate Action Strategy

We know that climate change is the single greatest threat to the health and security of our planet and the creatures that inhabit it. So, of course, climate action should be at the forefront of every sustainability platform—it certainly is, and has been, for Versed.

Over the past few years, carbon offsets have quickly become the most popular measure to fight this climate crisis, with some of the biggest businesses (and polluters, to be frank) offsetting in order to don a carbon neutral badge. While the intent is good—and funding for conservation initiatives is always beneficial—carbon offsets are not a ‘get out of jail free’ card.

Here at Versed, we’re always looking for better solutions, which is why we’ve decided to refocus our climate action strategies away from offsetting and towards insetting. If you’ve never heard of carbon insetting before, you aren’t alone. Read on as we explain why carbon offsetting isn’t as beneficial to the planet as it may seem and why we’re choosing insetting instead. 


You’ve likely heard of offsetting before, but how does it work? The basic model looks at a company's calculated carbon footprint, then “offsets” the impact by investing in specific projects—i.e. mangrove restoration or tree planting. Purchasing one carbon offset, therefore, can be explained as removing one tonne of CO2 from the atmosphere, as that money is given to programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While yes, carbon offsets can help rebalance the atmosphere, it’s important to remember that they do not reduce emissions.


While we’re certainly supportive of any person, business, or entity that wants to take climate action in whatever form they can, Versed’s top priority has always been to reduce emissions, not just offset them. All this is to say, we’re breaking up with carbon offsets. Here’s why: 

1. The Offset Concept is Flawed

We simply can’t offset our way out of impact—realistically, that’s not how ecosystem dynamics work. Carbon offsets are seen as a tool for balancing an emissions equation, implying that offsetting x amount will compensate for y greenhouse gas contributions. 

The life cycle of a carbon sink (like a rainforest) takes a significant amount of time to process the carbon. Plus, it’s not a one-for-one deal; carbon offsets often don’t account for natural occurrences like wildfires, deforestation, or the natural circulation of carbon. It’s also worth noting that the calculations behind how much a project will offset are frequently incorrect; a 2019 study found that a forest carbon offset project in California overstates emissions reduction by 80% or more

2. Unstable Carbon Markets Are Unrealistic for Small to Medium-Sized Businesses 

How do you put a price on carbon? In the offsets world, carbon is calculated by valuing projects and selling them on the open market. This technique is priced for removing or avoiding one tonne of CO2roughly how much one emits driving 2,500 miles. There isn’t a regulatory oversight on how carbon is priced, however, which has led to an unstable market with an extensive range of pricing on offsets. The methodology for pricing these projects also varies drastically. Organizations like Verra develop standards and science-based processes for vetting carbon offset projects, but this isn’t yet the norm.

In general, expensive carbon credits tend to be more impactful, whether that’s due to the scale of investment or the research that has gone into vetting the success of a project. For example, a well-established forestry project is more affordable than innovative carbon removal projects that require funding for research and development in their early stages—like direct air capture through seaweed farming. That means that, for growing businesses with limited sustainability budgets, their efforts don’t go very far. And according to GreenBiz, carbon offset prices are estimated to increase tenfold by 2030. 

From where we stand, offsets are a powerful technique for investing in biodiversity that feels appropriate once a company has truly done the work looking inward to understand where they can reduce emissions— through operations, manufacturing, and more. And that’s where carbon insetting comes in. 


Targeting actionable methods to reduce impact from packaging and sourcing to community investments continues to be a priority for Versed. As we move forward with our climate action, we aim to be as transparent as possible. Rather than offsetting, we are looking at our operations and targeting where we can be more efficient. Our partner in emissions tracking, Bluebird Climate, is helping us understand where we can do better and make the most impact in reducing our carbon footprint.

Instead of looking to external partners to offset emissions, insetting implements strategies to help measure and reduce emissions internally via incremental changes to operations, packaging, manufacturing, and more. For example, we’re focusing on lightweight packaging, increasing PCR, and working with suppliers to cut manufacturing emissions. You can learn more about each product’s climate and waste footprint by visiting its product description page, too.

Sustainability Report

Sustainability is a living, breathing thing. As research and data evolve, so will our climate strategies. Because community is at the core of everything we do, you’ll always be the first to know what new initiatives we’re taking on to reduce our own footprint and help build a better planet for the future ahead. 

Do you have questions or feedback about our climate initiatives? We’d love to hear from you. Send us a note. You can also learn more about our impact and initiatives (such as our recycling program) here.