Frequently Asked Questions

What does being carbon neutral mean?

Carbon Neutral means that a person does not actively contribute more carbon emissions into the atmosphere. 

You can think of it like a seesaw - on one side you have how much carbon you use and on the other side is how much carbon you remove from the atmosphere. When the seesaw is perfectly balanced and both sides are equal, that would be ‘carbon neutral’.

The amount of carbon we use, or ‘emit’, comes from almost everything we do. The food we eat, the ways we travel, the products we buy. Becoming carbon neutral is incredibly difficult. Reducing your emissions such as by switching to veganism, recycling, or travelling using sustainable methods can only go so far. 

ZeroSmart helps you ‘offset’ your carbon emissions, such as by planting trees to remove carbon from the atmosphere, so you can become carbon neutral today.

What does 'climate positive' mean?

Climate positive means that a person removes more carbon from the atmosphere than they put in. Being climate positive means that you are actively improving the quality of our atmosphere and actively helping to stop climate change.

You can think of it like a seesaw - on one side you have how much carbon you use and on the other side is how much carbon you remove from the atmosphere. When the seesaw is heavier on the ‘removed’ side, that would be ‘climate positive’. 

The amount of carbon we use, or ‘emit’, comes from almost everything we do. The food we eat, the ways we travel, the products we buy. Becoming carbon neutral is incredibly difficult. Reducing your emissions such as by switching to veganism, recycling, or travelling using sustainable methods can only go so far. 

ZeroSmart helps you ‘offset’ your carbon emissions, such as by planting trees to remove carbon from the atmosphere, so you can become carbon neutral and climate positive today.

 

What is carbon offsetting?

Carbon offsetting means that you prevent or remove an equivalent amount (or more!) of greenhouse gas emissions than you create. Carbon offsetting is the quickest and most effective way to reduce your carbon footprint and to become carbon neutral.
 

For example, if you contribute the average UK amount of 13.4 tonnes of CO2 per year, you would need to plant 6,780 trees each year to remove those 13.4 tonnes of CO2. That tree planting activity to remove the CO2 would be ‘offsetting’. 

 

Offsetting can take many forms. Popular methods include planting trees, switching to more environmentally friendly energy sources (such as wind farms), gas capture, methane abatement, and improving energy efficiency (such as improving insulation). ZeroSmart supports a variety of different offsetting projects in order to make you carbon neutral. 

 
 
 
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Why is removing carbon from the atmosphere important, shouldn't we be focusing on reducing our emissions instead?

The amount of carbon we use, or ‘emit’, comes from almost everything we do. The food we eat, the ways we travel, the products we buy. Becoming carbon neutral is incredibly difficult. Reducing your emissions such as by switching to veganism, recycling, or travelling using sustainable methods can only go so far. Emission reduction is also an incredibly slow process.

We are past the point where emission reduction alone can save us. Almost every scientific study (such as this, this, and this) agrees that if we are to have any chance at containing global temperature increases at no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius then we must not only reduce our emissions but start actively removing carbon from our atmosphere.

Removing carbon is an incredibly complex process which isn’t readily available to individuals. You usually have to be an incredibly large organisation, an expert, or a government to take part. We have set up ZeroSmart to use our expertise to make carbon removal easy for individuals to do so that we as a species have a fighting chance of averting the climate crisis. Offsetting is the quickest and most effective way to reduce your carbon footprint and to become carbon neutral.

How does planting trees help reduce my carbon footprint?

Trees are natural 'carbon sinks'. This just means that trees are great at taking CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it in their trunks, leaves, roots, and the surrounding soil itself. CO2 can be locked up this way for a long time. By planting trees we can take carbon from the atmosphere and store it securely in places where it doesn't contribute towards climate change.

 

How much CO2 does one tree remove?

Around 308 kilograms per tree.

 

The amount of CO2 a tree removes depends on a large number of factors - including the species of tree, the age of the tree, the size of the tree, where it is located, and many other things.

 

Based on scientific research of mangrove forests, we know that a hectare of mangroves can sequester 3,082 tonnes of CO2 over a 25 year lifetime. That is the equivalent of 308kg (kilograms) per tree. We plant many mangrove trees as well as other species. We carefully calculate the carbon impact of each tree we plant and this is verified by independent third party experts.

 

Trees are one of the best tools we have in removing carbon pollution from our atmosphere.

I'd like to offset my carbon footprint, how can I do that?

Great news! Offsetting is the quickest and most effective way to reduce your carbon footprint and to become carbon neutral.

 

If you have lots of land and hundreds of hours of extra time available, then you should plant at least 6,780 trees per person per year that you would like to offset.

 

If you would rather trust experts to plant, manage, care for, and protect your trees and offsetting projects then please head over to our individual and family subscription pages where you can offset your carbon footprint.

If you'd like to offset the carbon footprint of a loved one - from a colleague to a pet, then check out our gifts options.

 
 
 
 
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What kinds of projects do you fund?

We only fund the most trustworthy, fully-accredited, climate positive projects. We primarily work with organisations like the Eden Projects and Gold Standard to plant trees and remove carbon emissions from our atmosphere. 

 

Unlike some other services, we only work with voluntary emissions removal. This means we do not fund projects that remove emissions that would have been removed anyway, such as when governments have made it compulsory. We do not just fund the cheapest possible projects, we ensure that our projects pay fair wages to all involved at every step of the process. 

 

I have heard tree planting isn't always good for the environment, is it true?

It is true, tree planting isn't always good. Planting the wrong species, planting monocultures, or planting on inappropriate land (such as wildflower meadows) can do more harm than good. That is why all of our tree planting projects are regulated, accredited, and regularly monitored by independent third parties to ensure that they are the right kinds of projects that are having a positive impact on the environment. 

 

We ensure that all tree planting activities use a diverse variety of native species of flora and that our trees are responsibly planted in the best possible, highest impact, locations so that you can be confident that every tree that you help us plant is good for the environment.

How do you measure the carbon you have sequestered?

Independent experts such as ecologists visit our projects every year to measure the carbon sequestered. Annual reports are available as part of our activity reporting, each time we fund a project you can see the independent scientific reports outlining how much carbon has been sequestered and how it has been measured. 

How can you prove my impact?

We publish certificates each month of how many tonnes of CO2 ('carbon credits') have been offset. We also publish the receipts and certificates from our tree planting activity so you can see exactly how many trees we have planted for you. If you have signed up to our email list you will receive updates on what impact you have had including photos of the trees you have planted.

Are you a registered charity?

We are a social enterprise, not a charity. This means we are officially registered as a limited company and that we have a legal obligation to use our funds to have the biggest possible positive impact on our planet.

 

We have chosen this model because we want to reforest and reduce carbon footprints as much as possible. Charity structures have a number of legal limitations that would prevent us from helping the most amount of people to become carbon neutral. To have the biggest impact we need to attract funding from investors so we can help millions of people become carbon neutral, hit the UN’s climate goals, and avert the climate crisis.

How big is the average carbon footprint in the UK?

13.4 tonnes of CO2e per person per year. 

 

Carbon footprint measurements vary from around 6 tonnes of CO2 per person to 13.4 tonnes of CO2 per person. This is because different organisations measure emissions in different ways and some measurement methods do not take into account the wider impact of activity involved, such as how cutting down forests for wood leads to a larger carbon footprint as less carbon is being ‘sequestered’. 

 

We use the highest 13.4 tonnes per person per year figure. We use this higher measurement because it takes into account every known aspect of emissions activity. This helps us to ensure that you are offsetting enough to be carbon neutral and/or climate positive.

 

How big is my carbon footprint?

It is VERY difficult and time consuming to measure any single individual’s carbon footprint. Almost everything you can imagine or do has an impact on your carbon footprint, from the thickness of the insulation in your house to what your shoes are made of. 

 

Carbon footprint calculators do exist, but they still only provide a rough estimate of your carbon footprint based on factors such as how many miles you have travelled by each transport method and roughly how much you spend on food each year.

 

As such, we use the average UK person’s carbon footprint (as per the highest calculations from numerous scientific studies) to help us ensure that you are offsetting enough carbon to be carbon neutral and climate positive.

 

How can I get involved? How can I help?

The simplest way you can get involved and help remove CO2 from the atmosphere is by signing up to become carbon neutral or climate positive today.

 

You can also help by spreading the word about ZeroSmart to help others learn why carbon offsetting is so important and to help more people become carbon neutral. We have made a bunch of handy resources to help you do that - such as posters you can use, words and images you can share, and even social media cover photos you can use to shout about how proud you are to be carbon neutral and how easy it is for other people to become carbon neutral too. You can access our community resources for free here.

 
 
 
 
 

ABOUT US 

ZeroSmart helps you to easily remove your carbon footprint by enabling verified offsetting projects that have both immediate and long-term positive impacts on our planet's climate.

With ZeroSmart you can become carbon neutral and climate positive the smart way by offsetting your emissions today.

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