General Offsetting FAQs

What is carbon offsetting?
Climate change is a threat to our world and everyone who lives in it, now and in the future.
Every day we take actions which require energy and result in carbon emissions, be that driving, flying or keeping our house warm.
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 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 make a 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 as far as is practicable. Any surplus after we have covered these costs is used to support the Carbon Fund, supporting community based carbon reduction projects in the UK and Africa.
Why is your price for projects different from what I see elsewhere?
The price of each credit will differ based technology type, location etc.
Pure Leapfrog endeavours to provide high quality carbon credits to customers. We monitor pricing elsewhere in the market and aim to keep our margins and transactional costs low. Unfortunately, where small numbers of credits are being purchased, transaction costs do tend to be a higher portion of the credit’s cost.
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, $267 in economic value is created. For domestic biogas projects, the average value created is $465 per credit.
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 do you select offset projects?

We work with EcoAct to select projects with the highest sustainability standards and strong social, as well as environmental outcomes. The projects we select for website offsetting are those suitable to small purchase volumes by individuals and small businesses. If you wish to purchase large volumes please contact us directly on

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 donations, we then purchase credits in the projects for each tonne of emissions that they reduce. 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.
Who purchases the offsets?
Once customers have purchased an offset Pure Leapfrog works with its partner, EcoAct to purchase and retire the specific customer offset.
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.
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.
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.

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.