Compensation is taking responsibility for unavoidable emissions

Compensation, when done responsibly, is an important tool to reach climate goals, yet avoiding emissions is always a priority.

What does carbon offsetting mean?

Compensation (also known as carbon offsetting) is like a voluntary carbon tax that we pay to take responsibility for the choices we make as consumers. Carbon offsetting never justifies causing emissions – it is a way to compensate for emissions that cannot be avoided. Responsible carbon offsetting is based on the following principle: most importantly emissions must be avoided, then unavoidable emissions must be minimised, and finally the remaining emissions should be compensated

You will find answers to some commonly asked questions here .


Why is it worth compensating?

Compensation is one climate tool among others. In order to limit global warming to 1.5°C as defined in the Paris Agreement, we need to both drastically reduce emissions and capture massive amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through compensation. Also, carbon offsetting makes the climate damage caused by consumerism visible by putting a price tag on carbon footprints, and hopefully guides our collective choices towards low emission alternatives.

You can read about the impact of carbon offsetting with Compensate here .


Where does my compensation payment go?

When you offset for the carbon footprint of your purchases through Compensate, the payment is used to purchasing certified carbon credits with built-in overcompensation. We buy these credits from projects that have passed our strict evaluation criteria, which means they have a proven and quantifiable climate impact. Carbon credits prove that the amount of carbon dioxide equivalent to the emissions caused by your purchases has been either removed from the atmosphere, or its leakage to the atmosphere has been prevented.

Get to know more about overcompensation here.

How does carbon offsetting work

What type of projects are funded by the compensation payments?

At the moment 40% of the compensation payments we collect are directed to forest conservation projects that protect crucial, existing carbon sinks (typically tropical forest) and preserve biodiversity. Another 40% are directed to projects where local communities plant and protect trees, or reforest areas that have suffered from deforestation. The remaining 20% of the compensation payments are used to fund innovative projects and technological solutions that capture and store carbon for centuries, such as biochar for instance.

You can view our current project portfolio in the project map below.

How do you verify the impact of the carbon projects?

Each project selected in our portfolio has passed a strict list of criteria that we have created together with the independent Network of Scientific Advisors, consisting of top climate experts. There are thousands of carbon offsetting projects with international certifications around the world, however only less than 10% of them pass our criteria. We purchase carbon credits only directly from developers of verified, ongoing carbon projects to ensure their impact.

You can explore our project selection criteria and evaluation process here .

How is Compensate different from other operators in the carbon offsetting market?

We are committed to finding the most sustainable and impactful carbon projects out there. Our approach is built on 3 pillars: tight collaboration with climate scientists through independent Network of Scientific Advisors, strict, independent evaluation criteria for projects, and overcompensation to mitigate risks.

Compensation involves many uncertainties and when done poorly, it has little or even no impact whatsoever on the climate. The amount of emissions caused by your purchase should not be underestimated, and on the other hand the climate impact of the carbon capture projects used to offset your purchase should not be overestimated. Our strict criteria for projects and built-in overcompensation ensure a true climate impact. In addition, we demand the carbon projects to have a positive impact also on biodiversity, human rights, social justice, and for local communities.

You can read more about our unique sustainability approach here .

Is compensation greenwashing or modern indulgence trading?

The current carbon market is full of flaws and issues, and most of the carbon offsetting projects, even those with international certifications, don’t deliver the climate impact they promise. But that doesn’t mean that things cannot be done well. By selecting carbon projects carefully, by working directly with project developers, and by overcompensating we prove to be a trusted, transparent and responsible operator that sets the standards high. Compensation, when done responsibly, can significantly support reaching our climate goals. Despite this, compensation never justifies causing emissions – emissions must always be primarily avoided, and only unavoidable emissions should be compensated.

You can read more about the typical issues with the voluntary carbon market and poor carbon offsetting projects, as well as how we address those issues with our selection criteria, here .

What else can I do as a responsible consumer?

According to the Paris Agreement, all of us should shrink our individual carbon footprints to 2 500 kgs of CO2 per year by 2030. It all starts by knowing your current total carbon footprint and what it consists of. You can download our free Climate Action Application , start your emission reduction journey, and compensate the rest already today! As a consumer, you have the power to support responsible brands and companies and to demand transparency about their emissions. Compensation is a statement to companies and decision makers that we are ready for the necessary change.

You can download the Compensate app in AppStore or Google Play , and compensate for your carbon footprint straight away (available in EU countries). The app is provided by the non-profit Compensate Foundation.

Our project portfolio

Compensate manages a diverse carbon project portfolio and allocates the compensation funds to purchase certified carbon credits from the projects in it. The portfolio is dynamic and frequently evaluated to deliver the best climate impact in the most sustainable way. 20% of the portfolio is dedicated to innovative methods of carbon capture.

Independent Network of Scientific Advisors, strict project criteria, and international standards assist Compensate in managing the portfolio. We take into account climate impact, biodiversity, social justice, and human rights. This way we strive to deliver the best, most reliable impact to your efforts and challenge the whole field to do better.

Click the map to discover projects

WithOneSeed
Timor-Leste

Soil carbon with biochar
Germany

TIST Kenya Community Reforestation
Kenya

Mangrove Restoration and Reforestation
Myanmar

Luangwa Community Forests
Zambia

Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve
Indonesia

NovoCarbo biochar
Germany

Running Tide Ocean Carbon Removal
Iceland

Qianbei Afforestation
China

Jubilacion Segura Agroforestry
Peru