The transport and production of any purchased item causes the emission of greenhouse gases. Manufacturers try to reduce this emission, but most fail to show actual progress. A purchase of *that* item you want can become climate neutral through CO₂-compensation.
Through CO₂ offsetting equal amounts of greenhouse gases are withheld from the atmosphere. In this way your purchase will not affect the climate negatively. It works like this:
- We compute the greenhouse gases that are emitted during production and transport. We convert these to equal amounts of CO₂, for example, 1 gram of methane equals 100 grams of CO₂.
- If you choose to make your purchase CO₂ok, you will pay a tiny extra amount upon purchase.
- This amount is used to finance projects of durable energy and CO₂-emission reduction (via our certified partner, Atmosfair)
- These projects actively reduce the amount of emitted CO₂. This CO₂ reduction matches the emission of your purchase – your purchase is climate neutral!
Read more about the different projects supported by Atmosfair.
So you plant trees?
No. Although trees absorb CO₂, there are reasons to doubt the effects of tree planting projects: only after 50 years does a forest positively affect the climate. If such a forest is cut, or dies otherwise, (for example, as a result of an infection, or plague) then no gain is yielded. Also, the protection of a forest cannot prevent cutting of the forest next-door – again no yield. Atmosfair provides more explanation.
How can we provide accurate CO2 emission data for all our retail partners? Calculating carbon emissions isn’t easy, after all. There are many different ways to calculate carbon emissions, all based on different assumptions and methodologies and all leading to different answers. The methods vary in their approach to alternatives, carbon-equivalent emissions, LCA cycles, allocation of the various emissions, what to take into account and what not. Even among sustainability researchers, there is no true consensus on how to deal with all these variations in outcome. Calculating the carbon emissions for long lists of products can easily take researchers 2 years, and few manufacturers know the exact emission data for their products.
Luckily, there are ways to estimate the carbon costs without having to wait for the complete data. That means that CO2ok can start fighting climate change today. We calculated that on average, CO2 can be compensated for 0.5 to 2% of the price of the product. To be on the safe side, we use a value of 1.65%, unless the product’s manufacturer supplies more accurate CO2 data. (Why 1.65%? Because in the Netherlands, including VAT adds up to a nice round 2%).
Of course, we are planning to increase this accuracy step by step. In the future, we will improve our estimates by including updated data from manufacturers and from comparable products. In the meantime, since the numbers vary so much, we would rather overcompensate than undercompensate!
For example, studies show that each cheeseburger (not the most environmentally friendly product :)) causes 2 to 6 kg of CO2 to be emitted. Since this number is so inaccurate, we choose to compensate 8 kg of CO2 per cheeseburger. This way, we can be sure that your purchase is fully compensated! Because occasionally, overcompensation is a good thing.