Nature-Based Insetting: A Harmful Distraction from Corporate Decarbonization

April 05, 2023

In recent years, “insetting,” the alternative to “offsetting” that typically involves localizing nature-based solutions projects a within company value chains, has grown in popularity as a way to help companies work toward their climate targets. 

In a new commentary, CCSI’s Nora Mardirossian and Jack Arnold conclude that any reliance on nature-based insetting projects should be treated with extreme skepticism and that, as a result of the practice’s environmental and social shortcomings, policymakers and accounting frameworks should prevent their use as a climate strategy in order to reprioritize corporate decarbonization efforts that work to avoid or reduce emissions.

This conclusion is reached for three main reasons:

  1. Nature-based insetting is out of line with the mitigation hierarchy. 
  2. Nature-based insetting suffers from the same core ecological and credibility problems as the offsetting programs they supposedly improve upon. 
  3. The purported benefits of nature-based insetting programs for local communities and peoples are uncertain, while the risk of harms to their human rights and land rights remains real.