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Carbon: Offsetting or Insetting?

When a company is looking to reduce the amount of CO₂ it creates, two strategies would be carbon offsetting and carbon insetting.

What are Carbon Offsetting and Insetting?

Carbon offsetting involves purchasing carbon credits from projects that reduce or remove greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon insetting, involves investing in projects that reduce emissions within a company's own supply chain or operations.

The focus at Leo Workwear over the last 4 years has been on carbon insetting, in this post we explain the reasons why this has been a priority.

Why Insetting?

There are many benefits to Carbon insetting, the most obvious being its impact on the environment. With offsetting, the carbon emissions are still created and so must be captured, with insetting there are fewer CO₂ emissions in the first place. Many of the innovations that reduce carbon, also reduce energy usage and water usage at the same time, providing additional environmental benefits. Investing in a project that reduces carbon emissions of the supply chain means that suppliers can directly measure and verify the emission reductions achieved. In contrast, with carbon offsetting, the company is purchasing credits from external projects, which may not be as closely linked to its operations.

Secondly, carbon insetting encourages innovation and collaboration throughout the supply chain. Companies can invest in products and projects that reduce emissions and so the supply chain is incentivised to find new and innovative ways to reduce emissions. The more that manufacturers invest in these technologies, the better they will become.

Consumers are increasingly demanding that companies act on climate change, and investing in carbon insetting projects can demonstrate a company or wearer’s commitment to sustainability. Carbon insetting can help companies differentiate themselves from their competitors and therefore attract environmentally conscious consumers or wearers.

Companies addressing the Green House Gas (GHG) protocol are turning their attention from Scope 1 (direct emissions from owned or controlled sources) and Scope 2 (indirect emissions from purchased energy) to Scope 3 (indirect emissions from the value chain), as the GHG states:

“Until recently, companies have focused on emissions from their own operations under scope 1 and scope 2 of the GHG Protocol. Increasingly companies understand the need to also account for GHG emissions along their value chains and product portfolios to comprehensively manage GHG-related risks and opportunities.”


Companies can align themselves with suppliers that practice carbon insetting to actively demonstrate reductions in scope 3 emissions.

In summary, carbon insetting is a better option for companies that are serious about addressing their carbon footprint; it creates more tangible and sustainable benefits whilst encouraging innovation and collaboration across the supply chain. Insetting not only works to improve a company's scope 3 emissions and in turn, their reputation and brand value, it serves as an effective way to grapple with the urgent challenge of climate change.

Leo Workwear’s approach

In Leo Workwear’s opinion, while carbon offsetting is quick and relatively straightforward, it should be used as a strategy once insetting has been maximised, to negate the remaining emissions that can’t be removed through garment development and innovation.

For the last 4 years, Leo Workwear have focused on carbon insetting through their EcoViz brand. Garments with the EcoViz marque are made from recycled and sustainably sourced fabrics. Using recycled polyester from post-consumer clothing or recycled bottles, instead of virgin oil-derived polyester, results in a significant reduction in the amount of CO₂ and energy emissions produced in the manufacturing process.

Since the introduction of EcoViz® in 2019, 95% of all new garments produced by Leo have been a part of the EcoViz family. More significantly, the strategy has been applied to established existing ranges, meaning that wearers have been moved to a more environmentally friendly product without having to move away from the products that they have already deemed to be the right solution for their job role or environment.

In addition, working with Change Plastic For Good®, all packaging has been moved to the ‘Leo Cares’ bag which is 100% recycled, fully recyclable and biodegradable in landfill, soil and even the ocean. (more information here).

Leo Workwear have made a commitment to only manufacture EcoViz products by the end of 2023, so all existing ranges will transition alongside all new products.

Whilst this is a significant statement, Leo Workwear are aware that there is more to be done to reduce carbon emissions and that this is one step in our sustainability journey. Whilst carbon offsetting could potentially be a part of our strategy in the future, our current efforts and resources are focused on innovations that lead to maximising carbon insetting.

More can be found about the Leo Workwear sustainability journey at


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