Frequently asked questions

It starts with fossil fuels, which are formed over millions of years from the fossilized, buried remains of long dead plants and animals. In the past 200 years, more and more of humanity's energy needs have been met with fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas. Burning fossil fuels emits gasses into the atmosphere, known asgreenhouse gases. These gasses form a barrier around the planet that allows heat from the sun to enter, but not to escape, in what's known as the greenhouse effect. This causes the planet to get hotter.

Greenhouse gases are also emitted by things other than fossil fuels. Cows burp methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases. This wouldn't be a problem with a small, natural number of cows on the planet, but today the demand from humans for beef and dairy products mean that the sheer amount of cows make it a big part of the problem. Industialised farming of other animals to meet human consumption needs also contributes greenhouse gases, particularly lamb and mutton (source:Environmental impacts of food production).

In short: human activity is causing more and more greenhouse gases to be released into the atmosphere, which in turn causes climate change and global warming. We need to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we release into the atmosphere to avoid the catastrophic environmental changes that are precicted to take place in the next few decades and beyond.

Carbon is the common term for these greenhouse gases that cause climate change.

Your carbon footprint is the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere caused by your activities. It's your personal contribution, the part of the problem you can directly do something about. The electricity used by your home, how you get around, and the food you eat are some of the things that contribute to your carbon footprint. With some basic information we can estimate what that footprint is, measured in tonnes.

There are many factors that determine your carbon footprint, but the main ones are:

  1. Where you live
  2. Lifestyle aspects
    • Diet
    • How you get around
    • How your house is powered
  3. How many flights you take

We ask you for some information on each the above, and from this are able to estimate your monthly carbon footprint.

Baseline: Where you live

We start with asking you in which country you reside. We do this because the country you live in has the single biggest influence on your overall carbon footprint. A person living in Australia has a bigger footprint than a person with an identical lifestyle and diet living in, for example, Portugal. This is mostly because of the difference in each country's energy mix: Portugal's energy mix has a bigger share of renewables (wind, solar).

The data we use is the most recent available, from 2019, and is sourced fromOur World in Data. Check out the map above to see how countries differ.

The amount of tonnes for the country you live in becomes your baseline carbon footprint.

Adjustments based on your lifestyle

Next we ask you about your typical diet, how you get around, and how you power your home. Based on your selection, for each of these categories we assign your answer a score between 0 and 100.

A score of 50, the default, is considered average, and causes no change to your estimated footprint. A score of under 50 means your estimated footprint is reduced, and a score over 50 means your estimaed footprint is increased. The exact amount of tonnes your footprint is reduced or increased is different for each category:

Adjustment for diet

The carbon footprint adjustment values for diet are calculated based on multiple sources of information, with the main sources beingProject Drawdown's research on diet,Environmental Impacts of Foodfrom Our World in Data, andThe role of trade in the greenhouse gas footprints of EU diets, Vilma Sandström et al.

PointsRoughly corresponds toFootprint adjustment in tonnes
75No beef+0.54
100Only meat+1.07

Adjustment for transport

For transport, which doesn't include flights (they are a separate category in themselves, see below), we focused on what for most people is by far the most common journey they take in a year: their commute. We took data on CO2emitted per kilometre for cars (all fuel types including hybrid and electric) and for public trains and buses from theEuropean Environment Agency. We then looked at commute time information from theSixth European Working Conditions Surveyas well asTrends in Commuting Time of European Workers: A Cross-Country Analysis. Next, we worked out average car and bus speeds in peak times fromEU Urban Roadmaps, taking additional data fromthis Dutch study. We used these combined sets of data to work out an average commute distance of 30.51 km by car and 10.17 km by bus.

Taking 254 as the average wokring days in a year (calculated from the annual working days ina number of different countries), we were able to estimate average CO2 emissions from one year of commuting. This worked out at 1.162431 tonnes for commuting with a (non-electric) car, and 0.17565624 tonnes for commuting via public transport. These numbers, along with information on CO2 emission data on hybrid and electric cars, were used to create the footprint adjustments for transport.

PointsRoughly corresponds toFootprint adjustment in tonnes
0I walk or cycle mostly, and/or work from home-1.162431
25I commute via public transport-0.5812155
50I commute via an electric car0
75I commute via a hybrid car+0.5812155
100I commute via a petrol/diesel car+1.162431

Adjustment for household energy

Mapping the carbon footprint of EU regionswas the main source of data we used for household energy adjustments, in which it's calculated that the average CO2 emissions for household electricity and fuels in the EU is 1.90892 tonnes per year. We also looked at additional data on US household emissions published in thisCarbon Footprint Factsheetby the University of Michigan.

PointsRoughly corresponds toCO2 adjustment in tonnes
0Live off-grid on 100% renewable energy-1.90892
25Live on-grid with mostly renewable energy-0.95446
50My home is powered by a mix of fossil fuels and renewables0
75My home is powered primarily by fossil fuels with some renewables+0.95446
100 My house is 100% powered by fossil fuels+1.90892


From an individual's perspective, flying causes carbon emissions on a far greater scale to diet, transport and household energy. Emissions from flights can also be calculated in a more accurate manner. With this in mind, as part of your carbon footprint calculation we ask you directly for the number of short-haul (6 hours or less) and long-haul flights you've taken in the last twelve months. We use an average carbon footprint of 0.2 tonnes per short-haul flight, and 2.863 tonnes per long haul. We calculated these amounts using data from theEuropean Aviation Environmental Report 2019and other sources.

We then do a simple sum up of the emissions from the flights taken, and add the result to your carbon footprint.

Final calculation

With all of the above information, the final calculation of your annual carbon footprint becomes:

  1. Average per capita CO2 emissions of the country you live in
  2. Plus or minus the adjustment for diet
  3. Plus or minus the adjustment for transport
  4. Plus or minus the adjustment for your household energy sources
  5. Plus emissions from flights you take, if any

Finally, we divide this annual total by 12 to give you your monthly carbon footprint, which you can then offset on an ongoing basis.

Carbon offsetting means investing in projects that reduce the amount of carbon that your lifestyle generates. Project such as solar energy, wind energy, and planting forests can help prevent more carbon from being released into the atmosphere. By investing in these projects, you can offset the carbon your lifestyle emits.

In addition to investments in carbon reducing projects, you can also offset your carbon footprint by making investments that contribute to systems change, things such as changing government policies and laws to be more climate friendly.

Our motivation in building Offsetter is to combat the climate crisis, by making it easier for others to do so. We need to be as certain as possible that our subscriber's money is invested in projects that are making a real impact on tackling the problem.

To that end, each one of the projects we invest in areGold Standard®certified. Gold Standard® was established in 2003 byWWFand other international NGOs to "ensure projects that reduced carbon emissions featured the highest levels of environmental integrity and also contributed to sustainable development". It's a certification that we trust, and it means that you can be sure your subscription money is being put to good use to reduce carbon emissions.

After your subscription is charged, you’ll receive an email detailing which exact Gold Standard certified projects your money was invested in, along with a link to the carbon credits your subscription money was used to purchase in theGold Standard Impact Registry.

A carbon credit represents the certified reduction or removal of one tonne of carbon from the atmosphere. We'll purchase at least the amount of credits required to cover your monthly footprint. Carbon credits expire after a time period. We never purchase expired credits, only valid issued ones.

We select a mix of high impact Gold Standard® projects that have a higher price per tonne of carbon credits, and other Gold Standard® projects that cost less per tonne but still give you good bang for your buck in terms of tackling the climate crisis.

A climate action group is simply a group of people that have come together to use their skills and knowledge to push for climate-positive systems change. By systems change, we mean changing national policies and laws to be more climate friendly - changes such as ending fossil fuel subsidies and introducing a tax on carbon.

These groups range from NGOs and non-profit grassroots lobbying organizations to green law firms that are focusing on environmental law.

Offsetter exists to combat the climate crisis, by making it simple for others to do so. We need to be as certain as possible that our subscriber's money is invested in a way that is making a real impact on tackling the problem.

We are deeply ingrained in the global effort to combat climate change, and we see it as part of our mission to keep abreast of the latest developments in this fight, across the world. When we hear of a climate action group making waves due to a victory in changing climate policy for the better, or doing great work likefiling a court case against local government for failing to consider climate change in decision making, we take note, do our research on that organisation, and reach out.

We also aim to have an option for climate action groups in a broad range of countries, allowing you to choose a group that's local. We are always looking for more.

Learn more about our chosen climate action groups

Per tonne of carbon, we charge €19.29 (when paying in Euros), US$23 (when paying in US dollars), £16.47 (when paying in pounds sterling) and A$29.56 (when paying in Australian dollars).

This amount is calculated based on the average offset cost per tonne for the projects that we deal with. We invest your money in a mix of high impact projects that have a higher price per tonne of carbon credits, and lower impact projects that cost less per tonne of credits but still give you good bang for your buck in terms of tackling the climate crisis.

The amount is also takes into account our running costs (see 'Where does my money go?').

To cover minimum charges by our payment provider, a minimum subscription amount applies. This amount is €1 (when paying in Euros), US$1 (when paying in US dollars), £1 (when paying in pounds sterling) and A$1 (when paying in Australian dollars).

If you access Offsetter from an EU country, then we also charge 21% VAT on top of the above. As a company registered in the Netherlands, we need to charge the Dutch VAT rate.

Quantifying an investment in climate action groups in terms of CO2 removed from the atmosphere is difficult, and in fact we're not sure if it's even possible to come up with a reasonably accurate conversion factor.

To keep things simple, we take the monetary amount that would be invested in carbon reducing projects (see 'How much do you charge to offset a tonne of carbon?'), and invest the same monetary amount in climate action groups.

Each time your subscription is charged, 85% of your money goes directly toGold Standard®certified emissions reduction projects. After your subscription is charged, you’ll receive an email detailing the exact projects your money was invested in, so you know precisely where it goes.

15% covers our running costs, which includes web hosting, project research, and payment provider-related costs.

We support payments in US dollars (US$), Euro (€), pounds sterling (£) and Australian dollars (A$). If you're in aEurozonecountry, your subscription will be charged in Euros, in the UK it will be pounds sterling, and in Australia Australian dollars. All other countries get charged in US dollars. Would you like to pay in a different currency? Let us know by clickinghere.

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Would you prefer to pay via a different method? Let us know by clickinghere.

Simply click the 'Delete Account' button on theuser detailspage for your account.

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We're John and Adam, Dads, mates, and tech industry veterans. We read the news, we follow climate science and like many people we're more and more concerned about the climate crisis. We decided to do something about it.

Putting our combined skills and experience to use, we created Offsetter - for the sake of our children's future and the future of the planet.

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