‘Sustainable’ Carbon

The role of carbon dioxide in our changing climate is now well understood – as is the need for ever more ambitious reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

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We all have a role to play – from the global corporation to the private individual. But it’s never easy to know how to act for the best.

At UBoC, we would suggest a three stage approach:

Stage 1) Find out what your carbon footprint actually is

Stage 2) Reduce your emissions as much as you possibly can, by changing how you live and work

Stage 3) Then, and only then, ‘offset‘ your unavoidable emissions by investing in projects that can safely store equivalent carbon in natural or man-made ‘sinks.’ Today this usually means trees, plants, biodiversity and soils, but soon, as the technology becomes available, it will also mean innovative Carbon Capture and Storage too.

United Bank of Carbon can help with all three stages.

( Note that when you support a project or offset carbon emissions though us, 100% of your donation goes to the forest project and we often encourage you to give directly to the project. We can afford to do this as our running costs and research are supported by separate donations and lots of good will!  Please get in touch if you would like to donate to either a project or our research). 

Stage 1 – Carbon calculation

We don’t provide an online carbon calculator because these can give a very misleading picture of your footprint. We would rather you contacted us by phone or email so we can help you to work it out. (There’s no charge to you for this service, because our business partners cover our running costs).

If you did want a very rough idea of your impact on the planet now, you could try one of the many calculators available on-line – bearing in mind our caveat above. Two designed by a colleague here at UoL and hosted by WWF and REAP Petite are admirably simple. As is The Guardian (for which you’ll need Flash). There are many more, some more accurate than others (it’s a good idea to run at least two to see how well they tally).

Stage 2 – Carbon reduction

We can then help you to decide how best to reduce your footprint. Lower carbon options for travel, buildings management and other key activities are becoming ever easier to access, but there may be complexities and anomalies to be worked through.

Stage 3 – Carbon Offsetting (and general tree planting)

Finally, we can help you to offset your unavoidable emissions while supporting worthwhile projects in the UK and around the world.

The schemes we work with all sequester carbon – that’s a prerequisite for our involvement – but they also protect existing greenery, promote biodiversity / ecosystem services, conserve water, and support local communities – providing food, employment, wood crops, fuel and other benefits for local people.

If you’d like to know more about how ‘Offsetting’ (note the capital ‘O’) with trees works, and/or about how many trees you might need to be thinking about planting, click here.

There are a number of approaches for supporters.

Individuals and Smaller Organisations – Tropical Projects 

The simplest solution for people wanting to support rainforest projects may be to buy Environmental Service Certificates from an approved offsetting agency, such as Plan Vivo.

The Plan Vivo Standard is different from other carbon standards. It is the only one that provides direct payments to communities, and which plants native or naturalised species. And it’s the only standard that ensures a minimum of 60% of revenue goes to communities. It surpasses other Standards by promoting the development of sustainable livelihoods, thus addressing the root causes of deforestation and forest degradation.LOGOwTagline Currently we are able to provide Plan Vivo Certificates from the Trees of Hope project in Malawi.

See the Plan Vivo Profile Brochure for details on this and other projects under the Standard. 

Please contact us if you would like to purchase Plan Vivo credits. Our business partners cover our running costs allowing us to provide Plan Vivo Certificates at a lower cost than other brokers.

Individuals and Smaller Organisations – UK Projects 

We also work closely with a number of organisations who plant trees and protect green infrastructure up and down the UK. Some are officially accredited for carbon offsetting purposes, others are worthy of support for different reasons. We can advise.

Cat Planting1

Larger Organisations

These might want to support our projects in a more interactive, engaged way.

We have close relationships with NGOs in many tropical regions (see the map for locations of existing projects, and ones we’d especially like to support in future), and we can tailor a package for you which both sequesters your excess carbon and provides valuable CSR benefits for your company.

But it may be that you would prefer to work with a UK project. At UBoC we have noticed a growing preference for schemes close enough for employees and other stakeholders to volunteer, or otherwise engage with local community activities.

We can assist with this through a number of local partnerships, but in an ideal world would hope that both UK and overseas projects would benefit – because both are, in their own ways, vital to the future health of both people the planet.


To this end, we are currently working to establish a new concept: Forest Twinning, in which two areas from different biomes (usually UK temperate forest and tropical rainforest), are twinned – providing opportunities for new beneficial direct relationships between the two ‘siblings,’ while also allowing supporters to invest in both environments, tailoring their support to deliver optimum impact and outcomes for all three parties.

Download our leaflet on Forest Twinning.

United Bank of Carbon is a not-for-profit collaboration between businesses and environmental scientists, which protects and restores forests and other greenery, through environmentally and socially-responsible partnerships with local communities. We undertake research, support forest and woodland projects in the UK and the tropics that deliver CSR/PR benefits, provide carbon reduction consultancy, and help to arrange compensation for unavoidable carbon emissions