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. Please note the following:

  • For flights between the UK and a European destination, the UK government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) emissions factors for short haul air travel are applied to calculate emissions. Flights originating in the EU are subject to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and we have therefore applied a discount to ensure that your emissions are not double-counted. For more information about this please read the FAQ entitled “How do we calculate the EU ETS reductions applicable to your flight?”
  • For long haul flights to/from the UK we apply the UK government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) emissions factors for “long haul to/from the UK”
  • For long haul flights to/from other countries, we apply the UK government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) emissions factors called “long haul to/from non UK”

 

In relation to long haul flights to/from other countries, BEIS notes: “aviation factors were introduced [in 2015] where aviation factors are now being presented for international flights between non-UK destinations. This is a relatively high-level analysis and allows users to choose a different factor for air travel if flying between countries outside of the UK. The international factors included are an average of short and long-haul flights, which explains the difference between the UK factors and the international ones”.

The BEIS approach reflects the need for balance between accuracy and complexity in modelling emissions factors.

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 Ecosphere+ in partnership 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 and Ecosphere+, 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.
Who are Ecosphere+? What are their qualifications for offsetting?

Ecosphere+  is a mission-driven business that helps companies create and implement nature-based solutions that enable them to succeed in a world aligned with global climate and development goals.

Ecosphere+ sell high-quality forest carbon credits, verified to two of the most widely used and well-respected standards. Whilst going even further with their industry-leading ESG and by translating tonnes of carbon into different measurable impacts that are relevant to our customers, such as number people directly supported, number trees saved, impact on women.

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, is the climate regulation agreed by the international UN body the International Civil Aviation Organisation.  The regulation addresses the increase in total CO2 emissions from international aviation above 2020 levels so that all growth after 2020 will be carbon neutral.

CORSIA’s obligations have already started. As of 1 January 2019, all carriers are required to report their CO2 emissions on an annual basis.  Airlines will be required to offset the growth in emissions from 2021 onwards, so after this date we will adjust the offset calculation to take account of these emission reductions.

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.
How does the EU ETS work?
The ETS works by setting a limit (or cap) on the amount of CO2 emissions that are allowed from EU-based industries e.g. power generation, aviation, fuels and chemicals production. Companies are required to reduce their emissions or buy emission credits from other companies in the system who have reduced their emissions. In the aviation ETS, the amount of emissions allowed overall is capped at 95% of emissions in 2005 (the reference year). CO2 allowance units equal to the cap (less a percentage held back for new entrants in the ETS) are distributed to airlines either freely or through auctions that are managed by EU states. Airlines which make emissions above their allowance must buy emission reduction units from other companies that have reduced their emissions below their allowance.
How do we calculate the EU ETS reductions applicable to your flight?
As British Airways knows the number of ETS allowances issued to it under the ETS, the percentage of ETS allowances that are held back for new entrants in the ETS and the percentage of emissions allowances that are auctioned under the ETS, it can calculate its individual ETS allowance and which of its emissions are already accounted for through the ETS. ETS CO2 allowance units purchased by British Airways above this individual allowance are treated as emissions reductions achieved through the EU ETS. To make your flight carbon neutral, for flights within the EU ETS, we subtract the CO2 allowance units above British Airways’ individual emissions allowance that British Airways has paid for through the ETS to leave the remaining residual CO2 emissions that need to be offset.

Some Basics

What is British Airways doing to address climate change?
British Airways is proud to be an industry leader in tackling climate change, driving urgent action towards net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and investing in the development of sustainable aviation fuel and zero emissions aircraft. Over the next 20 years, British Airways’ parent company IAG will invest $400 million in the development of sustainable aviation fuel. It is the first European airline group to commit to powering 10 per cent of all flights with sustainable aviation fuel by 2030.
Who is Pure Leapfrog?
Pure Leapfrog is a sustainability and decarbonisation charity dedicated to working with communities wishing to engage more and take more ownership in their own low carbon futures. Working with particular focus on disadvantaged and under-served communities, we provide a range of activities and interventions from advising on setting up and financing community owned renewables energy schemes to helping with energy efficiency measures and promoting carbon literacy where we can. We always aim at unlocking positive social, environmental and financial impact for communities.

We have been providing offsetting services to individuals and businesses since 2005.

What is sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)?
Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is an alternative to fossil-based conventional jet fuel that has significantly lower life-cycle carbon emissions. SAF is designed to meet the same strict quality standards as conventional jet fuel so that it can simply be mixed into existing aircraft and fuel infrastructure. SAF is made from renewable sustainable sources such as used cooking oil or household waste that would have gone to landfill. When the lifecycle emissions of SAF are calculated, they result in around 80-95% less CO2 emissions compared to conventional jet fuel.
What is carbon offsetting?
Offsetting one tonne of CO2 will result in one tonne of CO2 less in the atmosphere. Carbon offsetting enables individuals and businesses to balance their carbon emissions by paying for equivalent carbon savings made by specially designed projects around the world. Some examples of projects are renewable energy, low emissions cook stoves and energy efficiency projects in developing countries, that reduce the amount of CO2 emissions in the environment.

Offsetting is an important element on the journey to net zero emissions, providing finance to accelerate carbon savings that would not have happened without it.

What do you charge for offsetting?
As a charity, Pure Leapfrog does not make a profit. The offsetting price you pay includes a small margin to cover our costs, the costs of third-party payment platforms and a small contribution to our work on helping communities to benefit from low-carbon energy systems.

We track our transactional costs and the fees we charge, and any excess funds are passed to the British Airways Carbon Fund

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 BACarbonNeutral@pureleapfrog.org

Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Why is SAF more sustainable than fossil-based conventional jet fuel?
Sustainable fuels are produced using renewable or recycled waste carbon meaning that British Airways displaces a litre of conventional jet fuel for every litre of SAF that it consumes.

SAF has been shown to provide significant reductions in overall CO2 lifecycle emissions compared to fossil fuels, and for waste-derived fuels these can be more than 90%. Furthermore, SAF contains fewer impurities (such as sulphur), so it has lower air quality impacts than conventional jet fuel. Most of the SAF in production at the moment are based on waste oils and fats. British Airways is working on new supply chains using municipal waste that it hopes will be commercially available within the next 2 years.

How is my share of SAF calculated?
When you purchase the option for 10% of your flight emissions to be reduced using SAF, British Airways will source the SAF quantity necessary to make 10% of your flight emissions carbon neutral. The remaining emissions will be reduced using emission reduction projects to ensure your flight is carbon neutral overall. British Airways will not make a profit from any SAF payment received and will ensure that all funds go towards the cost of SAF supply and support for new sustainable fuel projects.
How do I know the SAF is allocated to me?
The CO2 emissions associated with the SAF you purchase will be allocated only to you and this will be audited for British Airways by an independent assurance company.
Will the SAF all be loaded onto my flight?
Similar to green electricity tariffs, there isn’t a special SAF infrastructure that sends SAF to particular flights. Instead, the SAF will be procured and ‘dropped-in’ i.e. mixed into the existing fuel infrastructure. This is because the SAF is blended with conventional fuel before it reaches an aircraft. To maximise efficiency, SAF is put into the fuel infrastructure system at strategic locations rather than at multiple locations. Nevertheless, this purchase-based approach to attribution of SAF means that the SAF you buy can be attributed to you. SAF can be purchased for a flight either in advance, during or after the flight you intend to make carbon neutral. British Airways will ensure that the SAF is sourced and consumed no later than 12 months after a customer has made a SAF purchase.
What are the sources of SAF I am purchasing?
British Airways purchase a combination of SAF supplies that are made from different sustainable feedstocks that may include used cooking oil, household waste or other feedstocks that meet strict sustainability criteria. The SAF sources you are purchasing are based on wastes and residues and this ensures they deliver high CO2 reductions, typically 80-95% lower than conventional jet fuel per litre.
What sustainability criteria does the SAF meet?
We ensure that the SAF supplied has been through a detailed sustainability assessment using recognised sustainability certification systems. These assessment systems are independently verified and ensure that the fuel has genuinely been derived from waste-based sources. The certification process also ensures that the whole life cycle greenhouse gas emissions are accurately calculated and that systems are in place to minimise the impact of producing the fuel.
Am I paying for 10% of all the fuel for my flight?
No, the price reflects the additional cost of SAF above that of conventional jet fuel. In addition, the price reflects any applicable reduction in the cost of other environmental charges for your flight. When you purchase the option for 10% of your flight emissions to be reduced using SAF, British Airways will source the SAF quantity necessary to make 10% of your flight emissions carbon neutral. The remaining emissions will be reduced using emission reduction projects to ensure your flight is carbon neutral overall.
Why doesn’t British Airways just buy the sustainable fuel?
SAF is not presently produced in large volumes and many technologies are still under development, so the production costs are much higher than for conventional jet fuel. British Airways and its parent International Airlines Group are investing $400m over the next 20 years to help development of this important industry. By selecting to purchase SAF, you are helping to accelerate the development of this new sustainable avenue for aviation as well as being one of the first in the world to have made their flight carbon neutral using SAF.
What acknowledgement will I get once I have supported SAF and offsets?
Pure Leapfrog will provide a certificate to outline the purchase that you have made and to confirm that the emission reductions will be made.

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 markets?
Regulated, mandatory or compliance carbon markets are regional, national or international regimes, enforced through legislation. The most comprehensive of these is the European Emissions Trading System. British Airways is a long-standing supporter of carbon trading to achieve robust carbon pricing at the least cost to customers.

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 mandatory compliance schemes. Credits generated under these schemes are called Voluntary Emission Reductions (VERs).

Pure Leapfrog helps organisations and individuals to reduce their carbon footprints by supporting communities to develop carbon reducing projects through the voluntary market. All the projects Pure Leapfrog supports reduce carbon emissions.

What is the 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.

We adhere to the International Carbon Reduction and Offsetting Alliance’s (ICROA) Code of Best Practice.

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 that 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.

Upon receiving your contributions, we purchase an equal mixture of credits in the projects described on the website. The credits provide funding for the project.

We ensure the credits we purchase are ‘retired’ from the market and cannot be purchased by anyone else. This is to ensure the emissions reductions are attributed only to you and 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 support carbon lowering projects in the UK and Africa. More about the BA 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 make their flight carbon neutral.

Since January 2020, British Airways has made all its flights within the UK carbon neutral using carbon offsetting.

How does your relationship with British Airways for offsetting work?

British Airways customers are given the opportunity to offset their flight using the service provided by Pure Leapfrog.

We have developed our approach in consultation with British Airways to ensure the service, processes used, projects selected and customer experience meet their standards.

All offset contributions are handled directly through Pure Leapfrog. British Airways is not involved in processing transactions or acquiring credits and receives no income from the offsetting process.

Why work with British Airways?

We believe that all parts of our economy and energy system need decarbonising. This includes transport, which includes air travel. There is no merit order that we subscribe to. We work with partners who demonstrate a clear and unequivocal commitment to understanding their own impact and then take steps to address it. This describes British Airways.

Air travel provides an essential part of our transport system, providing economic benefits through commerce and tourism to all parts of the world, including parts of the developing world that rely heavily on tourism for economic security.

This is why we work with British Airways to provide them with a way that their customers can use to mitigate their impact by making their flight carbon neutral.

Cost & Pricing

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 about emission factors

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.

Can I cancel my purchase?

Once you have completed the purchase, no refund can be made if you change your mind or in case of cancellation, rebooking or cancellation of the flight that you have made carbon neutral.

 

Our Carbon Calculator

How does the carbon calculator work?

We combine the data that you enter with data from the airline and the UK Government to calculate your emissions. If your flight is within Europe, we adjust the emissions calculation to reflect the emissions already reduced by British Airways’ participation in regulatory systems including the UK and EU Emissions Trading Systems 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 emission factors set by the UK Government. If your flight is within Europe, we adjust the emissions calculation to reflect the emissions already reduced by British Airways’ participation in regulatory systems including the UK and EU Emissions Trading Systems 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 using a seat on the aircraft. If your child is old enough to sit on their own in a seat, then you can offset for them. If they are a baby in arms, then no offset is needed.

What are emissions factors?

An emission factor is a number that has been calculated using historical information about an activity and its emissions to give the quantity of a particular emission per unit of activity. In order to calculate carbon emissions for your flight the total distance is multiplied by the relevant emission factor for the aircraft cabin that you have selected. The emission factor we apply is the carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) which takes into account the other greenhouse gas emissions produced by aircraft. CO2e factors are generated in the UK by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

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 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 Ecosphere+ in partnership 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 and Ecosphere+, is a carbon offset project developer and also works with other project developers.

What is EcoAct? What are its 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.
What is Ecosphere+? What are its qualifications for offsetting?

Ecosphere+ is a mission-driven business that helps companies create and implement nature-based solutions that enable them to succeed in a world aligned with global climate and sustainable development goals.

Ecosphere+ sell high-quality forest carbon credits, verified to two of the most widely used and well-respected standards (the Gold Standard, and Verra). It makes the positive impacts of carbon offsetting using such credits readily understandable by translating tonnes of carbon into different measurable impacts that are relevant to our customers, such as the number of people directly supported, number of trees saved, etc. Moreover, it carries out its activities in accordance with industry leading Environmental, Social and Governance principles.

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 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 increased luggage allowances.

The factors that determine the emissions for a journey are:

• Arrival and departure point – this determines distance and fuel consumption

• Number of passengers

• Travel class

• Carbon emission factor – this determines the CO2 equivalent per kilometre

How does emissions trading work?
The UK and EU Emissions Trading Systems (ETS) work by setting a limit (or cap) on the amount of CO2 emissions that are allowed from obligated industries e.g. power generation, aviation, fuels and chemicals production. Companies are required to reduce their emissions or buy emission reduction credits from other companies in the system that have reduced their emissions and thereby have allowances to sell. CO2 allowance units equal to the cap are distributed to airlines either freely or through auctions that are managed by States. Airlines that produce emissions above their cap must buy emission reduction units from other companies that have reduced their emissions below their cap and thereby have allowance units to sell.
How do we calculate the emissions trading reductions applicable to your flight?
British Airways calculates its individual ETS cap and which of its emissions are already accounted for through the ETS. ETS CO2 allowance units purchased by British Airways above its individual cap are treated as emissions reductions achieved through emissions trading. To make your flight carbon neutral, for flights regulated by emissions trading, we subtract the CO2 allowance units above British Airways’ individual emissions cap that the airline has paid for through the ETS to leave the remaining residual CO2 emissions that need to be offset.
What is CORSIA?

CORSIA, the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, is the climate regulation agreed by the international UN body the International Civil Aviation Organisation. The regulation addresses the increase in total CO2 emissions from international aviation above 2019 levels so that all growth between participating countries above that level in future will be offset.

CORSIA’s obligations have already started. As of 1 January 2019, all carriers are required to report their CO2 emissions on an annual basis. Airlines are required to offset growth emissions from 2021 onwards, so from 2021 we will adjust the offset calculation to take account of emission reductions required by CORSIA.

What about radiative forcing?

In addition to greenhouse gas emissions including CO2, aircraft also cause non-CO2 climate effects such as condensation trails. Research into these effects and the appropriate metrics to characterise them continues. Radiative forcing is a metric or measurement basis that aims to combine the CO2 and non-CO2 climate effects. Given that the relative scale of impact is uncertain and subject to ongoing research, we are using a radiative forcing index of 1. This will be reviewed when further information becomes available.