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UK Carbon Offset Providers and Schemes

Updated: Jun 27, 2022

Carbon offsetting schemes are a popular way for people and companies to achieve a net-zero carbon footprint. 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 net-zero.

There are only three 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 aims to plant 100,000 trees each year in the UK and create new woodland.

Based: Harpenden, Hertfordshire

Established: 2020 Status: Not-for-profit (limited by guarantee).

Certification: Woodland Carbon Code

Donations: typically £5 per month for individuals, programmes available for companies and councils.

Price per tonne of carbon offset: typically £6.50, can vary based on location in the UK.

2. Forest Carbon

Updated June 2022: we are advised that Forest Carbon no longer offer offsetting schemes in the UK.

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

Individual subscriptions: from £8.50 per month.

Price per tonne of carbon offset: not disclosed.

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 are 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.

Certification 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.

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: capturing carbon from the atmosphere (e.g. by planting trees).

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

Ready to offset? You can offset your carbon with a UK-based carbon offset provider from just £5 per month.

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

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