In 2009, Duke University created the first university-based offsets program in the United States, and Sustainable Duke is responsible for developing and implementing the University's strategy for meeting its neutrality commitment by 2024. In pursuit of this goal, Sustainable Duke strives to showcase Duke University as a model for achieving climate neutrality and pass along the lessons learned through project successes and failures, implementation tools, and educational resources to ease project development within the academic community.

Sustainable Duke's Approach to Offsets

Sustainable Duke engages in purchases of offsets from existing projects as well as implementing and documenting projects for which it acts as the project manager. Carbon offset projects are evaluated based on their ability to definitively document their climate impact, to provide economic, social and environmental co-benefits beyond greenhouse gas reductions, and their replicability throughout North Carolina and within the academic community. Operating within an academic research institution, Sustainable Duke also collaborates extensively with students and faculty to produce meaningful reports that expand general carbon offset understanding and facilitate easier project implementation. 

Sustainable Duke has developed a portfolio approach to generating and purchasing carbon offsets, featuring methane destruction offsets from landfills and swine farms within North Carolina, residential energy reduction through efficiency upgrades and rooftop solar, and urban forestry. A portfolio approach is appropriate as different offset project types involve differing levels of risk to the project’s continuation. Similar to financial investments, a diversified portfolio provides insurance to achieve climate neutrality even if one type of project fails to impact climate as stated.


If you have any questions about Duke's offsets experience, please contact