Carbon offsets allow individuals and businesses to offset their carbon emissions by investing in carbon credits. The carbon credits are used to invest in renewable energy, plant trees and improve energy efficiency. Starting a carbon offset business of your own requires the ability to educate others about ways to reduce their carbon footprint. A carbon offset business provides owners with the opportunity to have a positive impact on greenhouse emissions.


Gain a greater understanding of the carbon offset marketplace. Research all competitors to discover their features and benefits. Learn about key factors used to determine the carbon footprint of a business or individual. Research carbon offset projects that your carbon offset business should invest in.

Determine where you will locate your carbon offset business. If you intend to operate the business out of your home, check into local zoning restrictions.

Select the carbon offset business legal structure. Many carbon offset businesses are nonprofit organizations. Determine if a for-profit or nonprofit business is best for you. Your lawyer or the U.S. Small Business Administration can provide additional information regarding the legal structure choices available to you. If you plan to run the business as a nonprofit, register the business accordingly.

Write a comprehensive business plan for the carbon offset business. Outline plans for educating customers about carbon offsets, ways to reduce energy use and efforts you are making to invest in renewable energy. Consider using energy efficient technology at your business and following trusted green building practices. Identify partners you will use to invest in carbon dioxide reduction and renewable energy. Include long- and short-term plans as well as a comprehensive marketing and communications plan in your overall business plan.

Find a name for your carbon offset business. Make a list of possible names and research the names you list. Eliminate the names on your list that are already in use. Once you find a name that is available, search for a web domain for that name and register the domain name. You may also want to search the Federal Trademark Database ( and register the name there as well.

Consider getting your business certified as a carbon neutral business.

Determine the financial requirements for starting a carbon offset business. If the business will be operated through the Internet, take the cost associated with developing a website, search engine optimization, content development, creative design and marketing efforts into consideration.

Find out if a business license is required for your business. Secure a federal tax identification number for a for-profit business or tax-exempt information for a nonprofit organization.

Market your business through traditional and social-media marketing efforts. Advertise in local business publications. Consider speaking at business events or hosting educational workshops on ways businesses can become more environmentally friendly.