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UK Carbon Offset Providers and Schemes

Updated: Mar 8

Carbon offsetting schemes are a popular way for people and companies to achieve carbon neutrality. Once people have measured their carbon footprint, and looked at ways to reduce their carbon usage; carbon offsetting schemes can be used to help achieve their carbon goals, and reach carbon neutral status.

There are only a handful of carbon offset providers in the UK that have a focus on delivering carbon offset schemes in the UK. Our research excludes companies and charities that purchase offsets from third-parties and where carbon offsetting may be ancillary to other initiatives.



1. My Carbon Plan







About: the only not-for-profit on the list - My Carbon Plan works with groups and individuals looking to create and manage carbon sequestration schemes in the UK. It is actively on the lookout for new projects to support with funding and insights.


In 2020, My Carbon Plan successfully helped create a short rotation coppice (SRC) willow planting scheme in the Lake District which planted 120,000 trees and is set to sequester over 10,000+ tonnes of CO2e during its lifespan.


In 2023 and 2024, My Carbon Plan provided funding for a second SRC willow scheme in South East England.

Based: Harpenden, Hertfordshire


Established: 2020

Status: Not-for-profit (limited by guarantee).


Certification: My Carbon Plan works with each scheme operator to determine the level of carbon sequestration, and monitors schemes through their lifespan.


Donations: typically £8 per month for individuals, programmes available for companies and councils.


Price per tonne of carbon offset: typically £10, can vary based on the nature of the scheme and the location in the UK.




2. Forest Carbon









About: a leading player in UK-based woodland creation and peatland restoration for carbon capture and offsetting.


Based: Durham


Established: 2006


Status: For-profit.


Certification: Woodland Carbon Code and Peatland Code


Price per tonne of carbon offset: not disclosed. Woodland Carbon Code PIUs (see below) are typically priced at £15-20/tonne of CO2e.



3. Carbon Footprint










About: Operates tree planting, Solar PV for schools and Biodiversity & Conservation schemes.


Based: Basingstoke, Hampshire


Established: 2002


Status: For-profit limited company.


Certification: Projects can be paired with projects in the developing countries which are certified; and Carbon Footprint is ISO certified.


Donations: n/a.


Price per tonne of carbon offset: not disclosed.



Compulsory and Voluntary Offsetting Schemes

As of 2020, the only carbon offset schemes in the UK were for Voluntary Offsetting.

Following the Kyoto treaty in 1997, some industries in some countries were required to reduce their greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions, including reducing carbon, and then offset to reach net-zero - Certified Emission Reductions (CER). Companies could then purchase carbon credits from these carbon offset projects - Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects.

Carbon credits for compulsory emission reduction (CER) are only available in developing countries, in accordance with United Nations protocols. There is some anticipation that following the Paris Agreement in 2018, eligible schemes may become allowed in developed countries, including the UK, but this has not yet happened as of 2020. (2023 update: some peatland restoration and Woodland Carbon Code schemes may be eligible for mandatory offsetting purposes).

Certification of carbon offset projects in the UK


Certification is helpful to ensure that a scheme is being operated appropriately. Whilst certification may not guarantee best practices, it can be a good indicator.

Woodland creation and peatland restoration are the only two types of offset scheme in the UK which have recognised validation codes, through the Woodland Carbon Code and Peatland Code respectively.

Internationally, groups such as the Gold Standard, Plan Vivo, Verra's Verified Carbon Standard Program - among others - operate certification and validation for CERs and CDMs.


Further, companies such as Certified Carbon conduct additional reviews on carbon credits offered through certified schemes, providing enhanced due diligence for the buyers of carbon credits.


PIUs (Pending Issuance Units) vs Verified Units


A pending issuance unit (PIU) is a promise to deliver a carbon credit within a certain timescale. For example, most Woodland Carbon Code projects operate over a 100-year time period.


The PIU is not guaranteed, and should not generally be used to report against emissions until verified. However, they can help companies to plan against future emissions, or to voluntarily offset their carbon footprint.


Due to a lack of available verified carbon units in the UK, some 99% of Woodland Carbon Code units transacted are PIUs.



Resellers of Carbon Credits


We have excluded a variety of UK-based companies which resell international carbon credits from our study here. However there are organisations that can assist you with your offsetting requirements in this way.


Carbon Reduction and Carbon Capture

There are two types of carbon offset schemes:

  1. Carbon Reduction: creating a cleaner alternative method of production (e.g. wind energy) or reducing demand (e.g. energy efficiency).

  2. Carbon Capture & Sequestration: capturing carbon from the atmosphere (e.g. by planting trees).

As noted above, only Carbon Capture schemes are currently certified in the UK.



Carbon Neutral vs Carbon Net Zero


Carbon neutral means that carbon offsets have been used to reach a balanced carbon footprint.


Carbon net-zero means that a company has removed all carbon from its activities and supply chain.






Ready to offset? You can offset your carbon with a UK-based carbon offset provider from just £8 per month.


Please contact us if you think we've missed a UK based carbon offset scheme operator from the list.



3 Comments


Martin Juckes
Martin Juckes
Jun 20, 2022

Does appear to be a problem. Forest Carbon have just sent their customers an email explaining that they can no longer meet demand in the UK ... to keep prices steady they will be doing most of their offsetting abroad. I sorry to say that I'm sceptical about the level of certification that can be achieved in the countries they list.

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Stephen Findlay
Stephen Findlay
Apr 25, 2021

Yes - acquiring land will be expensive & difficult. We have started working with a few farmers, and are also looking to work with landowners, who are willing/able to provide land at no cost to help make the scheme work. Otherwise, as you note, the cost per tonne of offset will likely need to be much higher, for tree planting schemes in the UK.

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Well done on having a go at this. I fear land aquisiton will be very tough and with around 10ha needed to offset one family (£200k) you may need to switch to more deliverable projects. UK farmers planted around 85m trees through the 1990's under the woodland premium scheme so many of the sites you are looking for went then.

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