What is a BEF Water Restoration Certificate® (WRC)?

A WRC represents 1,000 gallons of water restored that directly contribute to the economic, recreational, and/or ecological vitality of national freshwater resources.  All WRC projects are certified by a third party verifier using a strict set of criteria to ensure that water is restored in locations that will generate optimum benefits.

Does a WRC have any greenhouse gas benefits?

While many WRC projects do have greenhouse gas benefits, the measurable benefits accounted for in each certificate only applies to water. There are no verified metrics in a WRC for greenhouse gas emissions.

Why is BEF involved in homelessness issues?

Watersheds and communities across Oregon are facing a challenge, as the humanitarian and environmental impacts of the housing crisis extend far beyond built spaces. BEF seeks to be an intermediary and convener, bringing together community, grassroots and agency partners to develop compassionate solutions to this crisis. 

Does BEF fund watershed restoration and conservation?

BEF typically does not fund watershed restoration and conservation work directly but may be able to help you gain access to resources for your watershed work by facilitating partnerships that are attractive to potential donors or connect you with local entities that can assist you in accessing funding.

Can BEF help me obtain native plants for my restoration project? What if my project is not in the Willamette Valley? 

If your project is in the Willamette Valley we likely can help you obtain native plants for your project by connecting you to one of our local conservation/restoration partner organizations or by supplying you directly through our Collaborative Grow-out Program if you have a large order. If your project is outside of the Willamette Valley, but in the Northwest region we may be able to connect you to some partner organizations. Outside of the Northwest, we encourage you to work through your local conservation/restoration organizations. Please contact info@b-e-f.org for more information.

Can BEF help me obtain funding for native plants for my restoration project? What if my project is not in the Willamette Valley?

If your project is in the Willamette Valley, we may be able to connect you with resources through our Collaborative Contract Grow program. If your project is outside of the Willamette Valley feel free to contact us and we may be able to connect you with local entities and/or initiatives that fund native revegetation projects.

Can my nursery be a native plant supplier for BEF’s Collaborative Contract Grow program? 

If you are a native plants wholesale supplier in the Willamette Valley please contact us. Our Contract Grow program is not currently active outside of the Willamette Valley but please feel free to contact us and we may be able to connect you to native plant distribution efforts in your area.


What is a Carbon Offset?

Put simply, it’s a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to compensate for emissions made somewhere else. Purchasing a carbon offset enables people and businesses, then, to reduce their carbon footprints.  Offsets are measured in metric tonnes (mT) of carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2e) One mT is about 2,205 lbs. A mT of CO2e is about the equivalent of the carbon sequestered by 16 tree seedlings grown for ten years.

Is my purchase a donation? Is my purchase tax deductible? 

BEF is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Please consult with your tax advisor to determine if your purchase is tax deductible.

What kind of carbon offset is the best?

All carbon offsets represent the same amount of greenhouse gasses reduced or removed from the atmosphere – 1 metric tonne. Beyond this baseline, there are many factors that can influence your decision about which one might be “best” for you or your business. You should consider the type of project, co-benefits, and how these align with your sustainability or other goals. For example, a forestry project may have benefits for habitat, freshwater resources, and local economy, while a landfill gas offset may be a lower cost and you can offset more, hence reduce more greenhouse gasses with your budget. You may also consider purchasing a Stacked Offset to support a BEF program directly with your purchase.

How do I know a carbon offset is really doing something?

BEF only sells third party verified carbon offsets that are tracked, registered, and validated. All of our offsets meet the PAVER criteria – permanent, additional, verified, enforceable and real. All of our offsets are registered in one of these industry accepted registries: Climate Action Reserve, Verified Carbon Standard, America Climate Registry and the Gold Standard. These criteria and the rigorous standards and verifications, tell us that each carbon offset we sell is making a real impact. And all of our offsets are retired once, so they cannot be double counted.

What will I get after my carbon offset, REC or WRC purchase?

You will receive a certificate with the project name, description, volume, registry and vintage of your environmental products.

Does it matter where in the world my carbon offset is coming from? 

Global warming is a global issue, so the greenhouse gas emission reductions associated with your carbon offset purchase will be helpful no matter where the project is located. That said, the co-benefits of a project, such as habitat, watershed, community impacts will be local, so that may influence where you wish to purchase offsets from.

Shouldn’t I be reducing my carbon footprint, not just offsetting it?

Yes! We advocate reducing your carbon footprint and offsetting what you cannot avoid.

What are Scope 1, 2 and 3 Emissions?

To calculate a business carbon footprint, we recommend using the Greenhouse Gas Protocol framework which categorizes emissions into Scope 1. Direct emissions from owned mobile or immobile assets such as fuel for fleet vehicles or natural gas in your operations, Scope 2. Indirect purchased electricity , steam heat and cooling, and Scope 3. All other indirect emissions such as business travel, commuting, shipping and supply chain emissions.

How do I calculate my footprint?

Calculating a carbon footprint can be a challenge for any size of business. We have created business and residential footprint calculators to make things easier for you. These calculators are a great first step, but for businesses, they do not encompass some of the more nuanced pieces of your footprint. We recommend you reach out to us if you would like guidance on how to complete a full greenhouse gas assessment of your business.

Does BEF help develop new carbon offset or REC projects?

We do not develop our own projects. BEF is a carbon offset retailer, which means that we sell carbon offsets that we vet and purchase from wholesalers and developers which allows us to represent a very diverse portfolio of projects from around the world. 

I am interested in developing a carbon offset project, where do I start?

Developing a carbon offset project requires a few main elements to be a viable project. 1. The project needs to meet a current methodology or protocol (these terms are used interchangeably). A methodology is the science behind a project that has been carefully developed, reviewed and accepted by one or more registries. 2. The project must also have enough volume of metric tonnes of CO2e reduced or removed to make it financially viable. In other words, the larger the project, the more likely that it will make financial sense. And 3. The project must be additional which means it would not have happened in the absence of a carbon offset market. 


What is a Renewable Energy Certificate (REC)?

A renewable energy certificate, or REC (pronounced: rěk), is a market-based instrument that represents the property rights to the environmental, social and other non-power attributes of renewable electricity generation. RECs are issued when one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity is generated and delivered to the electricity grid from a renewable energy resource. (source: EPA.gov)

What is the difference between a REC and a Carbon Offset? 

RECs and offsets are fundamentally different environmental instruments. There are four main differences between carbon offsets and RECs. 1. Unit of measure, 2. Source, 3. Claims and 4. Additionality. The unit of measurement for a REC is in kilowatt hours while offsets are measured in metric tonnes of greenhouse gasses. The source of a REC is always renewable energy whereas the source of an offset could be many, such as forestry, landfill gas, or energy efficiency AND may also include renewable energy projects. If you purchase a REC you may claim to be using renewable energy, whereas if you purchase an offset your claim is that you are offsetting greenhouse gas emissions. Finally, additionality (see additionality in the glossary of terms) – a REC is not required to meet additionality criteria whereas a carbon offset is required to meet additionality criteria.

Does the BEF Renewables Program install renewable projects like wind and solar?

The Renewables Program at BEF aims to catalyze innovative applications of renewable energy, prove new concepts, and work towards mass market adoption. Wind and solar are mature technologies where a small non-profit cannot affect large change. When we do support solar projects it is with an equity focus on supporting tribal or low-income projects. 

Do you provide funding for renewable energy projects?

When BEF supports projects financially it is typically to prove out unique models or to serve a core set of BEF partners such as utilities and tribes in the Pacific Northwest. 

What type of STEM education does BEF provide?

We focus on solutions-oriented clean energy education through our CE – Clean Energy. Bright Futures. program. CE is working to transform education through supporting Clean Energy Fellows – local teacher leaders – who develop wealth-building STEM skills for the next generation who will lead an equitable, clean energy transition and a low carbon future. We do this by working with Clean Energy Fellows, stipended local educators, who lead the development of clean energy STEM and Career and Technical Education (CTE) efforts in their communities with the goal of transforming education and student career pathways in their Districts for the next ten years. 

What grade levels does BEF’s education program, CE – Clean Energy. Bright Futures. engage?

CE works with educators across all grade levels, from pre-K through 12th grade, and collaborates with higher education and industry/trade organizations to illuminate career pathways in the wide array of clean energy career options. CE does not typically provide direct instruction to students, rather we train and support teacher leaders who train fellow educators in their communities or across their Districts to provide clean energy education to all students more equitably.

How is BEF’s education program, CE – Clean Energy. Bright Futures. ensuring equity in clean energy and STEM education?

Our work here evolves weekly as our learning journey expands and our practices refine. CE is committed to taking active stances on issues of race, justice and oppression as they exist in energy, STEM and education. In order for our nation to succeed in an equitable and clean energy transition, we need to set all students up for success. CE collaborates with local leaders that address barriers to success for students that arise from factors unrelated to a student’s actual potential for success in STEM subjects, such as race, gender, socioeconomic status and geography.

To do this, CE seeks partnerships that center efforts to foster equity and justice in STEM/CTE with emphasis on addressing racial injustice, gender inequity and other barriers to success for minoritized identities in STEM fields. Minoritized identities in STEM include but are not limited to: students experiencing low incomes or homelessness; Black, Indigenous, Latina/o/x and other communities of color; immigrants; non-English speakers; girls; people with disabilities; members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community or students residing in remote and rural locations with limited access to resources.