Corporations and shoppers in the United States spent more than $54 million last year on carbon offset credits toward tree planting, wind farms, solar plants and other projects to balance the emissions created by, say, using a laptop computer or flying on a jet.
But where exactly is that money going?
The Federal Trade Commission, which regulates advertising claims, raised the question Tuesday in its first hearing in a series on green marketing, this one focusing on carbon offsets.
The FTC has not accused anyone of wrongdoing — neither the providers of carbon offsets nor the consumer brands that sell them. But environmentalists say — and the FTC's hearings suggest — that it is only a matter of time until the market faces greater scrutiny from the government or environmental organizations.
"Is there green substance behind the green sparkle?" said Daniel Esty