Festival International de Jazz de Montréal
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FAQ - Carbon Neutral Festival International de Jazz de Montréal

What does the project consist of?

The project consists of making the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal carbon neutral. The project will also be a pilot for producing a guide and training events for all festivals wishing to reduce their climate footprint.

Who are the project partners?

  • The Festival de Jazz International de Montréal, which acts as a pilot case for the project.
  • Rio Tinto Alcan, which is paying for the carbon offsets.
  • The Fonds d’action québécois pour le développement durable (Quebec Action Fund for Sustainable Development), which has financed the development of a calculation methodology and of a guide for other festivals.
  • Planetair, which provides the carbon offsets, produces the guide, and which trains other festival staff.

What is the Festival offsetting?

The Festival will be offsetting the entirety of its operations, including:

  • Artists travel to the Festival and local transportation;
  • Year-round business travel by Festival organizers;
  • Staff commuting to the Festival site;
  • Generators;
  • Festival vehicle use;
  • Electricity consumption; and
  • Artists accommodation.

How many climate-damaging emissions are offset?

Thanks to its Carbon Neutral certification, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal has offset more than 8000 tonnes of greenhouse gases since 2008, equal to taking about 2000 vehicles off the road.

What about Festival participants and suppliers?

The Festival has long encouraged its many visitors to use mass transit to get to the event site, and now plans to promote individual offsetting for festivalgoers as well as suppliers. The cumulative impact of two million annual visitors traveling to the site is estimated at being five times greater than the entirety of Festival emissions.

What is carbon neutrality?

It is impossible to reduce our carbon emissions to zero, no matter how hard we try. Carbon neutraly is defined as calculating total climate-damaging greenhouse gas emissions from an event, organization or business, reducing them where possible, and then balancing the irreducible emissions by purchasing high quality carbon offsets.

What is carbon offsetting?

Carbon emission offsetting is a means for individuals and businesses to offset their greenhouse gas emissions by investing in renewable energy projects, energy efficiency or reforestation. When you offset emissions linked to a specific activity (a plane trip, for example), it becomes “carbon neutral.” One tonne of CO₂ released anywhere in the world has the same impact on the climate. Therefore, whether the GHG emission reduction project takes place locally or internationally, the resulting benefit for the climate is the same.

What is a carbon credit?

Carbon offset credits correspond to a determined tradable quantity of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). They are generally measured in metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (or “equivalent CO₂”) and used to offset GHG emissions from the use of combustible fossil fuels, whether in the industrial sector, transportation or the home. The countries that signed the Kyoto Protocol use carbon offset credits to meet its established emission reduction targets. One certified carbon offset credit confirms that one tonne of greenhouse gas emissions has been reduced.

How can we know offsets are real?

For an offset credit to be real, it must be generated according to a recognized standard. This requires a serious certification body to ensure that the emission reduction project adheres to strict standards and is verified by an independent third party. Each credit must be traceable to one project in a given year. It is the only guarantee that emissions have been reduced. Credits can then be traded on the market or retired.

Who supports carbon offsetting?

A number of the most influential environmental NGOs support offsetting, including Conservation International, the David Suzuki Foundation, Équiterre, Environmental Defense, Greenpeace, NRDC, the Pembina Institute, and WWF, among many others. Offsetting is also a key mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol. Companies and organizations that use voluntary offsetting include, Dell, Edelman Canada, the FIFA World Cup of Soccer 2006, Fortis, Google, HSBC, NewsCorp, Swiss Re, and the World Bank.

Where will the offset money go?

The money will go to Planetair, a Montréal-based non-profit supplier of high-quality carbon offsets. Planetair invests the funds it receives in emission reduction projects that are Gold Standard certified and provided by the world’s best suppliers of carbon offset credits. Project examples include the following:


The primary goal of the project is to reach poor families and organizations that are unable to obtain water purification devices and efficient stoves. The potential revenue from offset credits has been leveraged to subsidize the manufacture and sale of these two products. To date, 30,000 stoves have already been distributed. At full capacity, the project will provide more than 300,000 Kenyan families with clean air and potable water.

The efficient stoves are distributed at a reduced cost, allowing needy families to reduce their consumption of firewood by about 50%. That reduces the burden of wood collection, traditionally the duty of women and children, reduces deforestation and improves the quality of the air inside dwellings.

In rural areas of Kenya, over 65% of the population has no access to potable water. To increase water treatment capability and improve local health standards, chlorine distributors were installed at communal water collection sources and borehole wells. A local volunteer continuously sensitizes the community to the advantages of the water distributors, encourages their use and maintains the supply of chlorine. In addition to health advantages, these initiatives reduce the demand for firewood, which is otherwise used to purify water by boiling.

It is estimated that the reduction in deforestation will reduce climate impact by preventing the release of 20,000 tonnes of CO₂ per year.


85% of Ugandans use wood and charcoal for cooking. These combustible fuels are burned using inefficient technologies, raising environmental, sanitary and economic challenges. Use of wood and charcoal for cooking drives deforestation and puts pressure on Uganda’s remaining forests.

The efficient stove project began in 2006. Since then, project developers have successfully built an efficient stove manufacturing business and created distribution networks throughout the country. Marketing and distribution by local suppliers, working in close collaboration with local partners and complemented by social marketing campaigns, have all stimulated demand. Before the project, these stoves were not available in Uganda.

To date, the project has distributed 88,000 cooking stoves in urban and peri-urban areas where charcoal use is endemic, reaching over 440,000 individuals with clean cooking technology.

The poorest Ugandan families spend up to 15% of their income on combustible cooking fuels.

Reforestation in the Montreal Metropolitan area

According to the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), deforestation is responsible for almost 20% of greenhouse gases. Despite the fact that the Canadian north comprises approximately 30% of the world’s boreal forest and that Québec holds 21% of the Canadian boreal forest, Quebec comprises over 100,000 hectares of abandoned land. Concentrated in the southern part of the province and mainly in certain regions such as the Montérégie, they are often perceived as a landscape nuisance; however they can potentially generate economic, ecological, social and environmental benefits once reclaimed for use.

Launched in the Greater Montreal Metropolitan area, the project focused on the reforestation of degraded and unused land in urban and semi-urban areas, as well as the revaluation of forest ecosystems and creation of green spaces. The new forests created by planting 375,000 trees are strategically located in the administrative regions of the Laurentians, Lanaudière and Montérégie.

Of this planting, 41,890 offset credits were accredited through reforestation of over 110 hectares of abandoned lands, equivalent to the surface area of 800 skating rinks. More concretely, planting 10 different species of trees created green corridors encouraging the gradual return of biodiversity, including the Kirtland’s Warbler, a bird on the verge of extinction which only nests in young jack pine. The project will also generate benefits in reducing runoff and air purification.

These forestry offset credits derive from the first and only Gold Standard accredited transition project in North America.

What are gold standard offsets?

Not all offsets are created equal. The Gold Standard is widely considered to be the highest standard in the world for carbon offsets. Gold Standard certification ensures that these credits are real, measurable, unique, verified by an independent third party, permanent and additional. A public registry allows the carbon credits to be traced by a serial number from their creation to their withdrawal from the market. This standard requires that the projects also contribute to sustainable development for local communities (increasing living standards, passing on knowledge and skills, job creation, pollution reduction, etc.). External organizations authorized by the United Nations rigorously evaluate the environmental quality of all Gold Standard projects.

The Gold Standard is an independent quality certification supported by over 80 nongovernmental organizations worldwide, including the David Suzuki Foundation, Greenpeace, the Pembina Institute and WWF. It is administered by the Gold Standard Foundation, an independent foundation based in Switzerland.

Who is Planetair?

Founded in 2005, Planetair, a not-for-profit program, is Canada’s first provider of Gold Standard carbon offsets, as well as Canada’s first bilingual, pan-Canadian offsetter. Planetair specializes in providing high-quality offsets, pioneering offset quality as its overriding mission in Canada. Planetair exclusively invests in Gold Standard projects. As a result of its efforts, Planetair has been ranked the top supplier in Canada by carboncatalog.org for the quality of its offsets and the transparency of its services. We guarantee that at least 80% of our offset revenue will go directly to the projects, placing us among the most costefficient offset providers.

We are proud to count among our clients some of Canada’s leading environmental figures and organizations, including Al Gore’s Climate Project Canada, the David Suzuki Foundation and Équiterre. We have further worked with institutional clients such as BC Hydro, Bell Canada, Concordia University, Deloitte, Desjardins, Dundee Wealth Management, Edelman, Grand & Toy, the Montreal Climate Exchange, NATIONAL Public Relations, Nissan Canada, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Quebec Congress Center, the Toronto Congress Centre, and the University of Sherbrooke.

Planetair is a program of the Unisféra International Center, a non-profit sustainable development think tank, with experience working for the United Nations, the World Bank, and the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation, among others.

Planetair offers individuals, enterprises and organizations the ability to quantify their greenhouse gas emissions, identify opportunities to reduce them, and offset their climactic impact by means of carbon credits.

Planetair also certifies the carbon neutrality of activities, events and organizations, creating value for its clients. Planetair assists its clients in their strategies to disseminate and communicate information on their climate activities and efforts