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frequently asked questions

On this page you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions about CO₂ offsetting and the work of FairClimateFund. Click on one of the questions below to see the answer.

Carbon offsetting

1What is carbon offsetting?

With carbon offsetting you ensure that, in exchange for the CO₂ emissions that you cause, less CO₂ is emitted elsewhere or CO₂ is removed from the air. Herewith, you compensate your CO₂ emissions. There are various ways to offset your CO₂ emissions, such as planting trees or investing in projects that focus on sustainable energy.

2What is a carbon credit?

A carbon credit is a tradable unit that enables organizations and individuals to offset their CO₂ emissions by reducing CO₂ emissions elsewhere. Each carbon credit represents the reduction of one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO₂e) from the atmosphere - roughly the monthly energy consumption of an average Dutch household. After you have reduced your CO₂ emissions, you can compensate your unavoidable CO₂ emissions by buying carbon credits and you become carbon neutral.

3Why would I become carbon neutral?

By becoming carbon neutral, you contribute to the climate and help limit the temperature rise on earth. You first reduce your CO₂ emissions and compensate unavoidable CO₂ emissions. In addition, you not only reduce CO₂ emissions in the world, but in some projects you also contribute to better living conditions for people in developing countries who are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

4What about other greenhouse gases?

In the calculations of the number of tons of CO₂, we always use CO₂e. CO₂e is an abbreviation for "carbon dioxide equivalents". It is a way to compare the emissions of various greenhouse gases based on their ‘global warming potential' or GWP. CO₂e compares how much CO₂e would be required for the same contribution to global warming as the relevant greenhouse gas over a period of 100 years, and thus represents the contribution to global warming for that greenhouse gas. For example, methane is about 23 times more harmful for the environment than CO₂. By using CO₂e values in the calculation FairClimateFund takes other greenhouse gases into account.

5What is the difference between energy neutral, carbon neutral and climate neutral?

Climate neutral, energy neutral or carbon neutral are terms that are widely used, but what is the difference? For example, energy neutral means that all energy used is generated sustainably. Carbon neutral indicates that no CO₂ is released during a process or product and therefore has no negative effect on climate change. The term climate neutral is usually used to indicate that no greenhouse gases are emitted during a process at all. FairClimateFund prefers not to use the term climate-neutral, just like many experts, because many more processes and substances affect our climate and the climate is not manageable.

Buying carbon credits

6How do I buy carbon credits?

After you have calculated how much CO₂ you emit via a CO₂ calculator, you can purchase carbon credits. Private individuals and small and medium-sized businesses can purchase carbon credits via the FairClimateFund website. Companies with a large carbon footprint and/or events that want help with calculating their carbon footprint can contact us. After paying the carbon credits you will receive a certificate with a unique registration number. The credits that you have purchased are canceled in the register and can no longer be used by someone else.

7Why do the prices of carbon credits vary so much?

First of all, there are many different types of projects that generate carbon credits, such as projects that focus on cleaner cooking, wind energy or reforestation. In addition, issues such as the location, size and quality of the project play a major role. More information can be found here: goldstandard.org/blog-item/carbon-pricing-why-do-prices-vary-project-type

Finally, prices depend on the price model with which you work. For example, prices can be based on market dynamics, so primarily driven by supply and demand, regardless of the implications for the project in terms of long-term viability. Most prices of CO₂ credits are based on this model. A more sustainable model is based on the cost price of the project. This model calculates a minimum price that ensures that the costs of the project are covered, ensuring sustainability of the project. All FairClimateFund projects are based on this model. More information about the different price models can be found here:
goldstandard.org/blog-item/carbon-pricing-what-carbon-credit-worth

8Which emission factors do you use for the CO 2 calculator on your website?

To prevent discussion and confusion about CO₂ emission factors, SKAO, Stimular, Connekt, Milieu Centraal and the national government have drawn up a uniform list together with various experts. We use these uniform emission factors for the majority of our calculations, see www.co2emissiefactoren.nl.

However, the calculation of the carbon footprint of air travel is more complex. The aforementioned list of emission factors is, for example, unclear about the exact difference between flight classes, the radiation factor used and the validity of these values. The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) of the UK government has conducted extensive research into emission factors for air travel and reported here on it. We have chosen to use this data because they are well supported by BEIS in extensive reports and take into account several factors, such as different seating classes, distances, radiation factor, take-off, landing, possibly delay and non-direct routes due to weather conditions.

About FairClimateFund

9Who is FairClimateFund?

FairClimateFund is a non-profit private company or social enterprise. We were founded in 2009 by the ICCO Foundation, an international development organization in Utrecht. ICCO is the sole shareholder. FairClimateFund aims for a fair climate: a world in which those who contribute most to climate change invest in CO₂ reduction projects. These carbon reduction projects with high social impact, that meet the Gold Standard and Fairtrade Climate Standard, benefit people who are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Our goal is to work together with our partners to provide cleaner cooking solutions for half a million people, and to plant half a million trees in order to reduce a million tonnes of CO₂ before 2025.

10What does FairClimateFund do?

Together with our partners, we finance and implement climate projects. We focus on introducing cleaner cooking solutions and planting trees. These climate projects result in less CO₂ emissions, the protection of trees, and the creation of improved living conditions for people in developing countries.

Our projects are Fairtrade certified and generate Gold Standard/ Fairtrade Carbon Credits. We sell these carbon credits at a fair price to private individuals and companies in Western countries that want to offset the CO₂ emissions that they cannot (yet) reduce.

Revenues from sale of carbon credits cover the costs of the climate projects. Local households pay off their cookstoves with the carbon credits they produce and they also receive a Fairtrade premium which is invested in climate adaptation activities.

Fairtrade carbon credits and additionality

11What are Fairtrade Carbon Credits?

Carbon credits from Gold Standard projects that are also certified according to the Fairtrade Climate Standard. The Fairtrade Climate Standard was developed by Fairtrade International in collaboration with Gold Standard.

In these projects based on Fairtrade principles, local communities play an active role and are themselves the owners of the project and the carbon credits. A minimum price ensures that the costs of the project are covered and producers receive a Fairtrade premium for each credit sold. They invest this income in climate adaptation activities.

Also, buyers of Fairtrade Carbon Credits must be able to show that they are taking active measures to reduce carbon emissions themselves. We therefore do not speak of reducing versus compensating, but reducing and compensating.

12What is the Fairtrade minimum price for carbon credits?

Carbon reduction projects are, in addition to income from the sale of carbon credits, usually dependent on other sources of income (eg donations). The carbon credits are then sold for a price that is not sufficient to cover the actual costs of the project.

Fairtrade International has set a minimum price per purchased credit, depending on the type of project. The prices were developed through a model that took into account the real-life costs of producing a carbon offset, similar to the way Fairtrade minimum prices are calculated for any other commodity. As a result, the buyer of the carbon credits can actually 'claim' the credits for the realized CO₂ reduction. The additionality of the compensation is guaranteed.

The minimum price for carbon offsets is set at 13 Euros (US $14.1) for tree-planting projects,
8.2 Euros (US $8.9) for energy efficiency projects, and 8.1 Euros (US $8.9) for renewable energy projects.

13What are the benefits of Fairtrade Carbon credits for the local communities?

The Fairtrade Climate Standard, which our projects meet, offers local community organizations several advantages:

  • The people are closely involved with the project organization and…
  • … own the carbon credits that they produce themselves.
  • They receive a minimum price for the credits with which all costs of the project are covered.
  • In addition, they receive a Fairtrade premium. They invest this income in climate adaptation activities.

For example, in our projects training is given to raise awareness about climate change. But there are often also vegetable gardens and seed banks built to improve diets and shade trees planted to protect the crops.

Projects of FairClimateFund

14How reliable are the projects of FairClimateFund?

Our projects generate Fairtrade/ Gold Standard Carbon Credits. Gold Standard guarantees the additionality of the project and the environmental and social benefits. The Fairtrade certification guarantees that a fair price is paid for the carbon credits which ensures that the costs of the project are covered. This benefits the sustainability of the project. In addition, households receive a Fairtrade premium that is invested in climate adaptation activities to help strengthen the most vulnerable farming communities.

15What does Gold Standard mean?

Gold Standard is a certification for carbon credits. It is currently the strictest standard for carbon credits. The carbon reduction of the climate projects is checked and it is ascertained whether this reduction did not take place without the project (additionality). It also examines whether the local communities are sufficiently involved in the project, that there are no negative environmental effects and whether the local households benefit from it socio-economically.

16What are the Sustainable Development Goals?

In 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's) were adopted by the United Nations as a new global sustainable development agenda. These must put an end to poverty, inequality and climate change in 2030. Our projects contribute to a number of these SDGs. The webpage of our projects states which sustainable development goals the projects contribute to.

17How can I see the difference I make?

Anyone who buys carbon credits via FairClimateFund will receive a certificate with a unique number. This indicates which project, according to which standard and where the carbon credits have been produced, but also what the impact of your CO₂ compensation is. You can find more about these projects on our website. You can read information and view photos and videos about the lives of the local households and the benefits that the project generates for them.

18Is FairClimateFund interested in new projects or partners?

FairClimateFund is always interested in new projects and partners. We only support projects where reliable carbon credits are produced, preferably with Gold Standard and Fairtrade certification. There must be sufficient local capacity and input to run the project properly and to give customers insight into the local impact of the project. Please contact us for more information.

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