Frequently Asked Questions

Some Basics

Who is Pure Leapfrog?

Pure Leapfrog is a registered charity (#1112249) dedicated to enabling positive social, environmental and financial impact for communities, in particular those in deprivation, by enabling their participation in and benefit from, a lower carbon life. We have been providing offsetting services to individuals and businesses since 2005 alongside providing support and finance to communities who wish to benefit from renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy systems in transition.

What is carbon offsetting?

Carbon offsetting is the process by which individuals and businesses take accountability for unavoidable emissions by investing in projects such as renewable energy, low emissions cook stoves or energy efficiency projects in developing countries, to reduce the amount of CO2 emissions in the environment.
In effect, carbon offsetting allows you to support environmental and social projects around the world and take responsibility for your carbon footprint by generating equivalent carbon savings elsewhere.
In practical terms, offsetting one tonne of CO2 (one carbon offset) will result in one tonne of CO2 less in the atmosphere compared to what could have been otherwise generated.

Offsetting is not a solution to climate change. To address this, we must all reduce emissions. However, well designed, managed and monitored offset projects can reduce the impact of our own emissions and help generate awareness of the need for others to do the same.

What do you charge for offsetting?

As a not-for-profit, Pure Leapfrog provides offsetting as a service. We seek to cover our costs and make a small contribution to our mission of helping communities to benefit from low carbon energy systems.
As part of covering our costs we charge a small handling fee to take account of transactional costs. Handling fee is 30p for transactions up to £10 and 50p for transactions above £10. This means that we also have a minimum offset charge of £1 to be sure these costs are covered alongside your offset purchase.

We track our transactional costs and the fees we charge and any ‘profit’ made on handling fees or minimum charges is passed to the British Airways Carbon Fund on a regular basis.

How do I access help and support

First please read the FAQs below. We endeavour to update them regularly based on feedback. 

You can also email us at BACarbonZero@pureleapfrog.org

Carbon Offsetting

What types of carbon credit projects are there?

The following types of carbon credit projects presently exist:
1. Renewable Energy – Including hydro, wind, and photovoltaic solar power, solar hot water and biomass power and heat production.
2. Energy Efficiency – these projects are fundamentally about using LESS energy (e.g. LED lighting or installing more efficient cooking stoves).
3. Forestry – Forestry projects can involve either afforestation (the establishment of a new forest or reforestation (rebuilding existing forests.) REDD+ (a UN standard) projects stand for Reducing Emissions from Reforestation and Forest Degradation.
4. Transport – These projects may involve switching transportation to less carbon intensive means or introducing new technologies to improve vehicle fuel efficiency.
5. Agriculture – By changing agricultural process techniques to methods which are more environmentally friendly, significant reductions in carbon emission can be achieved.
6. Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) – Projects which improve access to water, water treatment, improved sanitation and hygiene which contribute to climate change mitigation/adaptation can provide offsets.
7. Methane Capture – There are two types of methane projects. The first type captures and burns (flares) methane, convering it to less potent carbon dioxide and water. Alternatively, projects can capture methane and use it to produce hot water or electricity.
8. Waste management and handling – These include projects that reduce the emissions from waste or water management such as composting, biogas etc.

What makes for a high-quality carbon credit?
Key criteria that determine the quality of a credit include:
• Real – The offsets are tangible and measurable
• Additionality – The emissions reduction would not have occurred in the absence of the project.
• Permanence – The project delivers the claimed emissions reductions in a sustained manner over time.
• No Leakage – The emissions reduction achieved with the project does not lead to an increase in emissions elsewhere.
• Retired permanently – Following the sale of the carbon credit, it is permanently removed from the market mechanism, ensuring that the offsets
there is no double counting or double selling.
• Verifiability – A robust audit trail demonstrating the project’s goals and its delivery against those goals.
What is the price of a carbon credit? Why does it change?

The price of a carbon credit depends on many factors, including supply and demand in the market and the quality, type, size, and geographical location of the project – but most importantly, the value that credit creates.
The availability of credits will change depending on supply and demand factors as well.
As a charity we don’t profit from providing carbon offsetting as a service to British Airways customers. We have to cover some transaction costs when we buy, sell and retire credits but we minimise these as far as is practicable. Any surplus after we have covered these costs is used to support the British Airways Carbon Fund, supporting community based carbon reduction projects in the UK and Africa.

Can you offset with UK projects?
No. Whilst you can support carbon reducing projects in the UK, you can’t count these towards your carbon neutral status.
The reason for this lies in the Kyoto Protocol and the understanding that countries such as the UK that now have the Climate Change Act are mandated to reduce emissions through domestic efforts. As such voluntary carbon credits being generated are not seen as additional. In short, more developed countries can buy credits generated in developing or emerging markets. This could change in the future as the Paris Agreement commits many more countries to reduce emissions and we think in the future UK based offsets could be created.
What are the Sustainable Development Goals? (SDGs)
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of seventeen Global Goals and 169 targets adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 which provide “a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future”. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which apply to all countries – developed and developing, recognise that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.
Why do the SDGs matter in carbon offsetting?
Reducing carbon is just one component of making our world a more sustainable place. Carbon offset projects that have other social and environmental outcomes associated with them, help to create a more sustainable world where those in developing countries benefit more holistically from reducing/avoiding carbon.
What is the difference between voluntary and mandatory carbon offset schemes?
Regulated, mandatory or compliance carbon offset schemes are regional, national or international regimes, typically backed up with legislation. The most comprehensive and largest of these is the European Emissions Trading Scheme. Organisations falling into these schemes include heavy emitters such as cement manufacturers and coal fired power stations. Credits generated under these schemes are called Certified Emission Reductions (CERs).
Voluntary carbon offset markets enable organisations and individuals to offset their emissions by purchasing offsets that were created either through the Clean Development Mechanism (a UN led initiative born out of the Kyoto Protocol) or in the voluntary market. Voluntary credits help to serve micro projects that are too small to warrant the administrative burden or not covered under compliance schemes. Credits generated under these schemes are called Voluntary Emission Reductions (VERs).
Pure Leapfrog helps organisations and individuals to reduce carbon footprints by supporting communities to develop carbon reducing projects through the voluntary market. All the projects Pure Leapfrog supports reduce carbon emissions – both via the Carbon Fund and through carbon offsetting.
Who are ICROA?

The International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance is a non-profit organisation made up of the leading carbon reduction and offset providers in the voluntary carbon market.
ICROA is working with leading academic institutions to understand the drivers of the voluntary market, and to research and demonstrate the additional non-carbon benefits of voluntary offsetting. For example, a recent study by Gold Standard finds that for every carbon credit issued from a clean cook stove project, £219 in economic value is created. For domestic biogas projects, the average value created is £380 per credit.

About Pure Leapfrog

What is Pure Leapfrog's role?

We have been supporting people and organisations to reduce the footprint they have on the environment by providing carbon offsets since 2006.
We work with organisations who align with our mission to tackle climate change and address poverty. Our partners support communities to develop carbon reducing projects and obtain the necessary independent verification. The reason for independent verification is so that we can be sure that the reductions have actually taken place. The projects we support must demonstrate that the funding will enable the projects to either happen or scale (“additionality”).
Upon receiving your contributions, we purchase credits in the projects specified. The credits provide funding for the project.
We maintain a ‘registry’ account that ensures the credits we purchase are ‘retired’ from the market and cannot be purchased by anyone else, as is required by the International Carbon Reduction and Offsetting Alliance’s (ICROA) Code of Best Practice.

What is Pure Leapfrog’s relationship with British Airways?

Pure Leapfrog has worked with British Airways since 2011, managing the British Airways Carbon Fund. The Fund, which is created from customer donations at the point of booking has been used to create more sustainable local buildings for 48 local communities in the UK (at October 2019). More about the Carbon Fund can be found here.
We have been offering carbon offsetting to British Airways’ customers for a number of years and the carbon calculator provides a simple way for BA customers to offset their flight emissions.

How does your relationship with British Airways for offsetting work?
British Airways customers are given the opportunity to offset at Pure Leapfrog’s website (www.pureleapfrog.org) at the point of booking, or afterwards.
We have developed our approach in consultation with British Airways to ensure the website, process used, projects selected and customer receipts meet their standards.
All offset contributions are handled directly through Pure Leapfrog. British Airways is not involved in processing transactions or aquiring credits and receives no income from the offsetting process.
Why work with British Airways?
We know that much of our daily activity creates emissions that cause climate change. Equally we know that many communities are dependent upon tourism and that the transportation of goods and services is an essential part of our modern world. So how do we manage our impact when travelling in a way that protects our climate? We are working with British Airways to provide their customers with the opportunity to mitigate their impact by offsetting their flight emissions.

Cost & Pricing

What are handling fees?

As a not-for-profit, Pure Leapfrog provides offsetting as a service. We seek to cover our costs and make a small contribution to our mission of helping communities to benefit from low carbon energy systems.
As part of covering our costs we charge a small administration fee to take account of transactional costs (processing your transaction through banking and accounting systems). The handling fee is 30p for transactions up to £10 and 50p for transactions above £10. We track our transactional costs and the fees we charge and any ‘profit’ made on handling fees passed to the British Airways Carbon Fund on a regular basis.

Why do you charge a minimum fee?

To ensure we cover all administrative costs, the minimum charge for an offset is £1. If there are any surplus funds after the full offset is purchased, these are donated to the British Airways Carbon Fund scheme.

Why might my cost per tonne/mile vary?

Cost per tonne and cost per mile may vary as a result of:

– The project you select – projects vary in price

– Handling fees –  see FAQ about handling fees

– Emissions factors – see FAQ ‘why is it cheaper to go internationally via somewhere in Europe than direct?’

Why is it cheaper to go internationally via somewhere in Europe than direct?

This is because the emissions factors that are applied may differ.

Flights originating from the UK are governed by emissions factors set by UK government department, BEIS

Flights originating internationally (non Europe) are governed by international emissions factors which are less than those in the UK. 

Flights originating in the EU are subject to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and we have therefore applied a discount to ensure your emissions are not double-counted.

How much do the carbon credits cost?
The carbon credits we are offering vary in price from around £5-£6 per tonne.
Each project has a different price depending on technology, location, carbon standard etc.

Our Carbon Calculator

Why can't I do this when I book my flight?
Pure Leapfrog and British Airways are working towards enabling you to offset during your booking process as soon as possible. We have chosen to offer customers the opportunity to offset now rather than wait for changes to booking systems.
How does the carbon calculator work?
We gather data from you and combine this with data from the airline and the UK government to calculate your emissions. If your flight is within the EU, we adjust the emissions calculation to reflect the emissions already covered by British Airways’ participation in the EU Emissions Trading System so that we aren’t double counting these emissions.
Why do other calculators come up with different tonnes to be offset?
Our calculator uses the emissions factors set by the UK government. If your flight is within the EU, we adjust the emissions calculation to reflect the emissions already covered by British Airways’ participation in the EU Emissions Trading System so that we aren’t double counting these emissions.
Do I offset for my child?
This is up to you. Offsets are based on the number of passengers who use a seat on the plane. If your child is old enough to sit in a seat, then you can offset for them. If they are a baby in arms, then no offset is needed.
When I choose to offset with a mix of offset projects, how do you decide which projects?
If you choose to offset using a mix of the available carbon offset projects we evenly spread your contribution across the projects.
What are carbon emissions factors?
In order to report the greenhouse gas emissions associated with activities, ‘activity data’ such as distance travelled, litres of fuel used or tonnes of waste disposed must be converted into carbon emissions. Conversion factors are generated in the UK by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
How often is the data in the calculator updated?
The data in the calculator is updated regularly based on:
• Changes to flight destinations
• New emissions factor data issued by government (BEIS generally releases new emissions factor data on an annual basis in July/August).
• Other changes to emissions regimes

Our Offsetting Projects

How do you select offset projects?
We work with EcoAct and with British Airways to select projects with the highest sustainability standards and strong social, as well as environmental outcomes.
We are a not-for-profit charity so we keep all our costs to a minimum when sourcing and providing offset credits.
How do you know the projects you select are high-quality?
All projects presented are certified to a quality standard that is either the Gold Standard (GS), Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) aka Verra or the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Some of the projects also have additional co-benefit certifications to the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) and SocialCarbon standard.
The above certifications are also in line with the ICROA Code of Best Practice list of quality credible standards.
How often do you purchase credits?
We purchase and retire offset credits periodically, usually monthly and more frequently if volumes are higher.
Do you develop offset projects?
At this time, we do not develop offset projects. Instead, we select high-quality existing projects. Our partner, EcoAct, is a carbon offset project developer and also works with other project developers.
Who are EcoAct? What are their qualifications for offsetting?
EcoAct (https://eco-act.com) was founded in 2005, and Partners with people to manage their sustainability performance. EcoAct is a leading carbon offset project developer and retailer with unique expertise in planning for and implementing positive change in response to climate and carbon challenges.
EcoAct is a co-founder of the International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance (see below)
In accordance with ICROA’s Code of Best Practice, all EcoAct’s carbon offsets are certified by credible third parties and certification standards and are retired within 12 months of purchase. They correspond to real, measurable, permanent, additional, independently verified and unique emissions reductions. EcoAct carry out extra screening (above and beyond certification standards) on the carbon offset projects offered to ensure that the projects customers support are robust and really deliver CO2 savings.
What monitoring and reporting do you do on projects?
Projects are audited by an independent third party over a specified period and a verification report is then issued which confirms the number of credits the project can issue. Typically, this happens on an annual basis.
When I choose to offset with a mix of offset projects, how do you decide which projects?
If you choose to offset using a mix of the available carbon offset projects we evenly spread your contribution across the projects.

Flying and Carbon Emissions

How does flying create emissions?
Aircraft engines burn fuel in order to transport passengers from one place to another. This process creates CO2 and other gases – emissions.
These total emissions are divided among passengers, taking into account the fact that passengers in business and first class have larger seat room (and therefore more weight) and increased luggage allowances.
The factors that determine the amount of emissions are:
• Arrival and departure point – this determines distance and fuel consumption
• Number of passengers
• Travel class
• Carbon emissions factors
What is CORSIA?

CORSIA, the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, addresses the increase in total CO2 emissions from international aviation above 2020 levels.
CORSIA’s obligations have already started. As of 1 January 2019, all carriers are required to report their CO2 emissions on an annual basis.

What about radiative forcing?
Research by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicates that CO2 and other gases have a greater effect when released at altitude (than on land). However, the relative scale of impact is uncertain and subject to ongoing research. As a consequence, we are using a radiative forcing index of 1. This will be updated once information becomes available.