Frequently Asked Questions
Switch2Zero will soon have a calculator you can access from our website, but in the meantime, we recommend using the WWF Calculator because it’s been refined over a number of years and offers a good balance between the amount of information you’re asked for and the level of accuracy of the calculation.
That depends on a number of factors such as age, species and environmental conditions but the most common estimates range between 400-900kg of CO2 captured in a tree’s lifetime. We’ve decided to be cautious in our estimation, using 200 kg as a lifetime estimation for each tree planted. As a result we’re confident that 200 kg is very much on the low side by anyone's measure and at Switch2Zero we don’t want to oversell the potential impact.
Switch2Zero only works with projects that have robust, third-party verified approaches to how they calculate costs and offset equivalencies. Working with partners at The United Nations and Gold Standard means we can trust the figures we’re given and be confident our customers’ contributions go where they’re supposed to.
Your Switch2Zero subscription has three key components:
- CO2e Offset
- Plastic Waste Collected
- Trees Planted
To offset your estimated CO2 footprint we invest in 3rd party verified projects such as wind farms, hydro electric power and energy efficiency through two highly reputable partners, the United Nations and Gold Standard. Each investment purchases a number of CO2e tons (the ‘e’ stands for equivalent) which are certificated to ensure no double counting, each project has a capped amount of CO2e tons available depending on its type and size. We also partner with Plastic Bank to fund plastic waste collection projects around the globe. On top of this we also plant trees through our partner Eden Projects, we don’t count these towards your CO2e offset number, we view these as an act of goodwill to future generations, investing now in future reduction. All Offset, Plastic and Tree projects provide a formal certificate for each contribution made, this helps ensure there is no ‘double counting’ as each certificate has a unique code which can be traced from source to purchaser. We keep all these certificates in our Public Ledger so you can be confident we buy what we say we do from who we say we do.
We don’t believe it would be responsible or accurate to count a sapling tree’s future carbon capture when calculating the offset of your footprint in today's terms. While trees do reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide (we’ve conservatively estimated 200kg CO2 in a lifetime), we consider the planting of trees a “pay it forward” gift to the next generation, not just capturing CO2 but encouraging biodiversity and providing an economic boost in the communities that plant and tend them.
The cost per ton of CO2e captured or reduced can vary significantly depending on the project type and its location. We invest across a range of projects (8-15 each month) , with the aim of getting a blend of project types and geographic locations while at the same time averaging out at $5.00 per ton $ CO2e We aim for this overall average price per CO2e ton as we feel it’s the right balance between maintaining a relatively consistent monthly costs for you, combined with the ability to invest in as broad a portfolio as possible.. For trees ($0.15 per tree) and plastic ($0.55 per kg) it’s simpler, they both have a fixed cost. We add 20% to the gross cost of the projects to cover our costs such as payments fees, research, system maintenance and development, climate awareness activity and staff costs. Read more about our projects here.
Every payment to Switch2Zero goes towards carbon offset projects in the ratios selected with your plan. We invest in a diverse range of projects to ensure that we can maintain our $5.00 price per ton of CO2e. We also charge $0.55 for every kg of plastic collected and $0.15 for every tree planted.
All our project providers give us a verification certificate, which you can view on our public ledger. We do take a 20% fee to cover multiple payments fees and our own operations costs, but this is already included in your subscription price. We’re proud to have the lowest fees of any carbon offset company.
We are building functionality to enable you to make changes yourself on the platform but this isn’t quite ready for release yet. So in the meantime feel free to contact us here and we’ll be happy to make these changes for you manually behind the scenes.
CO2e is shorthand for Carbon Dioxide Equivalent. When talking about climate change and global warming you often hear the term ‘greenhouse gases’ too, that’s because there are a number of gases (such as methane) that contribute significantly to global warming by trapping heat in the atmosphere in a similar way that Carbon Dioxide does. CO2e is used as a metric so that it is possible to bundle together all the greenhouse gases and articulate their size and impact in one consistent metric. The benefit of this is that we can focus on the reduction of all greenhouse gases, not just Carbon Dioxide.
Great question. There are lots of challenges levelled at offsets and rightly so. At Switch2Zero we are certainly not suggesting they are the singular solution to climate change. Purchasing offsets mostly funds the reduction of future emissions and sometimes carbon capture, but it can also mean you're paying someone else to reduce (or not increase) their emissions so you can maintain yours, which isn't ideal.
No, they do not. Voluntary carbon offsets are outside the scope of VAT, as sales of these credits do not meet the conditions to be ‘consumption’ envisaged by the VAT system.