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TrustPower's Tararua windfarm from which it sells carbon credits to a number of businessesAs attempts to curb the release of carbon dioxide grow, mainstream New Zealand businesses are paying environmental projects to offset their greenhouse gas emissions.

Airlines now encourage their passengers to pay an extra fee to offset the effects of their travel.

Taxi companies, orchardists and even banks are spending millions of dollars to polish up their green image and do their bit for the planet.

But what are the projects behind such schemes, and do they really provide the long-lasting environmental benefits they promise?

Picture:TrustPower's Tararua Windfarm from where it sells carbon credits to a number of businesses