Behind the scenes: How do we choose our projects?
At Treepoints, we work hard to find the most effective climate projects to offset your carbon footprint. From wind power in China to solar cookstoves in Chad, our broad portfolio of projects are spread all around the world. But you might be wondering exactly how do we choose our projects? So let’s take a behind the scenes look at our project selection process.
Offsetting your carbon footprint with Treepoints
Over at Treepoints, we know that it can be hard to know where to start in the fight against climate change. There’s so many choices and information out there that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
That’s why we created Treepoints. We make it simple for everyone and anyone to take meaningful action to save our planet. We help you first understand your impact on the planet, and then do something about it. Every month, we donate on behalf of our members to the most efficient carbon reduction projects around the world. By curating certified initiatives of the highest standards, we take the stress out of choosing a project, so you know that your money will have the maximum impact.
Read on to learn about how we pick our projects and how they’re working towards a greener future for everyone.
What is a carbon reduction project?
Treepoints supports carbon reduction projects. Put simply, this means projects that reduce CO2 emissions, either immediately or in the future. These projects can take a variety of forms, such as renewable energy, planting trees, and improving agriculture. Every tonne of CO2 removed from the atmosphere is represented by 1 credit. Treepoints purchases these credits on your behalf to offset your carbon footprint.
We are careful only to choose the very best carbon reduction projects around the world. Every project that we work with goes through a rigorous selection process and must meet multiple sustainability criteria.
Our sustainability criteria
Effective carbon offsetting
First and foremost, our projects must be effective in fighting climate change. Every type of project that we work with, from renewable energy to landfill gas capture features on Project Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. The effectiveness of a project takes into consideration the amount of CO2 removed from the atmosphere, the timeframe, and the added value for the environment and local community.
For example, the wind farm that we support in Guyuan, China eliminates the need to burn polluting fossil fuels by providing a reliable source of clean energy. And it also creates jobs for local people, offering stable incomes and training opportunities, contributing to economic growth in rural China.
Additionality is an important measure of success and effectiveness for every carbon reduction project. Put simply, this means that the reduction in emissions would not have taken place without the project. This means that we are taking an active role in fighting climate change, rather than just recording changes that would have happened anyway.
For example, in Turkey we support a landfill gas extraction project which captures methane and prevents it from going into the atmosphere. Instead the gas is used to power turbines that feed electricity into Turkey’s grid, providing affordable electricity. Without this intervention, the methane released at the landfill sites from decaying rubbish would go into the atmosphere.
World class verification standards
At Treepoints, we only work with projects that have been verified to the highest standard by internationally recognised independent organisations. This includes the Gold Standard and Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) certification. These organisations have their own rigorous requirements for offsetting projects, and monitor the projects closely.
By doing this, we can guarantee the efficacy and impact of the project we support. It also adds an extra level of transparency as we receive certificates for every purchase of carbon credits. This means our members can see exactly where their money is going and how it is being used to fight climate change.
Contribution to Sustainable Development
Our final requirement is that all of our projects contribute to sustainable development. Research shows that the climate crisis is disproportionately affecting communities and eco-systems in the Global South.
By supporting carbon reduction projects in these countries, we can contribute to their sustainable development. This means supporting local communities and native eco-systems, and making sure that the project is sustainable and has long-term benefits for future generations. This ensures that our offsetting also contributes to climate justice around the world. In this way, carbon offsetting helps the lives of those least responsible for the problem of climate change, and least economically equipped to adapt to the changing conditions.
We measure this according to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
What are the UN Sustainable Development Goals?
The Sustainable Development Goals are 17 goals designed to be “a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”. They were set by the UN General Assembly in 2015 and include targets such as No Poverty, Gender Equality, and Climate Action. The aim is to achieve them all by 2030.
We make sure that every project we work with meets at least 3 of these goals to promote long-term sustainable development for our planet.
Treepoints works with a broad portfolio of projects
Inevitably, no single project can meet all of these sustainable development goals. Some projects focus on economic growth for communities, others on restoring the natural environment, and others on health and wellbeing. This is why we donate to a broad portfolio of carbon offsetting projects to spread our impact widely and support sustainable development around the world.
To give an example, let’s take a look at one of our recent projects and how it meets these sustainable development goals.
Improved Cookstoves in Myanmar
Myanmar is the third largest contributor to deforestation worldwide. As the forests disappear, the price of wood gets higher, driving more and more families into energy poverty. Rural families in Myanmar spend as much as 40% of their income – or the time equivalent – on purchasing or collecting firewood.
This project brings fuel efficient stoves to families in Myanmar. These stoves reduce wood consumption by at least 50% and release 60% less CO2 emissions. Cutting the amount of wood required for stoves relieves the pressure on forests and household incomes. What’s more, the improved air pollution from these stoves results in better health and safety for the whole community.
To date 30,000 stoves have been distributed, improving the lives of over 140,000 people and avoiding 4 tonnes of CO2 per stove every year.
Our verification standards
Now you might be wondering about these verification standards that we keep referring to. All of the projects we support have been verified by one of these standards, including the Gold Standard and the Verified Carbon Standard, which are widely agreed to be the best and most rigorous standards out there. Let’s take a closer look at the verification standards we use that guarantee the efficacy of our projects.
The Gold Standard
The Gold Standard Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. Their role is to ensure carbon offsetting projects make a measurable impact on sustainable development. The organisation was founded by WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) in 2003. They guarantee that carbon credits are real and verifiable and that the projects are actively contributing to sustainable development.
The Verified Carbon Standard
The Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) is another certification for carbon reduction projects, similar to the Gold Standard. The VCS is administered by Verra, a not-for-profit organisation. To date, over 1,600 certified VCS projects have collectively reduced or removed more than 500 million tonnes of carbon and other GHG emissions from the atmosphere.
The price of carbon offsetting
Like most commodities, carbon offsets are cheaper if you can buy them in large numbers. This means that large corporations like Google and Amazon, who offset thousands of tonnes of CO2, pay less per tonne than an individual like you or me, offsetting our carbon footprints.
We think it’s unfair that individuals pay more for their offsetting, just because they aren’t buying huge quantities of offsets. This is why at Treepoints we pool demand from our users, then buy credits in bulk on their behalf, meaning that we can access lower prices closer to the wholesale original. We pass this cost saving straight on to our members. As a result it costs just £3.25 per month to offset the average UK citizen’s carbon footprint.
Start supporting carbon reduction projects today
Now that you understand how we choose our projects, join Treepoints and start your carbon reduction journey today.
With our tiered membership programme you can choose to offset depending on your lifestyle. If you fly more and eat more red meat your carbon footprint will be much higher than someone with a plant-based diet who commutes by bike.
But we encourage you to think beyond carbon neutrality and aim for carbon positivity. This means you offset more than you emit. We send regular updates on the fantastic projects that our members are supporting around the world, helping our planet to achieve a more sustainable future.
If you’re interested in understanding how you can offset your company’s carbon emissions, then more information is also available on our website.