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 compensate for the carbon footprint of your purchases through the nonprofit Compensate Foundation, the payment is used to capture carbon dioxide by purchasing certified carbon credits. 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.

If you want to investigate further what happens to your compensation payments, you can access our bank statement 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 capture projects?

Each project selected in our portfolio has passed a strict list of criteria that we have created together with a scientific panel 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 capture 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?

Our approach to carbon offsetting is based on the idea of significant overcompensation. It means that when dealing with Compensate, more carbon dioxide is captured from the atmosphere than what has been caused by your purchase.

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. Also, there is already far too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere anyway, and by overcompensating we take responsibility for the emissions we have caused in the past too.

You can read more about overcompensation 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 capture 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. Interested in 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).

Our project portfolio

Compensate manages a diverse carbon capture portfolio and takes no cuts from compensation payments, using these 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.

Compensate’s Scientific Advisory Panel, project criteria, and international standards assist Compensate in managing the portfolio. We take into account climate impact, biodiversity, social issues 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


Soil carbon with biochar

TIST Kenya Community Reforestation

Mangrove Restoration and Reforestation

Luangwa Community Forests

Safe drinking water

Liangdu Afforestation

REDD+ Brazil Nut Concessions

Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve