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CO2 compensation: With these providers you help climate protection

CO2 contributes significantly to climate change because it prevents heat from escaping into space. The motto is therefore: emit as little CO2 as possible!

If that doesn’t work, a balance can be found: Anyone who contributes to climate change with a flight, for example, can limit the damage by paying a small surcharge to organizations such as Atmosfair, Klima-Kollekte, Primaklima and Myclimate. The money is used, for example, to finance reforestation projects in the rainforest or the use of solar lamps in developing countries. CO2-Compensation means that the same amount of CO2 is saved, which the customer consumes – for example by using an airplane. The comparison by Stiftung Warentest shows that the four providers mentioned have different degrees of success.

CO2-Compensation: Why our comparison is worthwhile for you

  • test results. We examined four organizations through which consumers can offset (self-generated) greenhouse gases. We wanted to know where customer money ends up – and who can do it best to actually offset the emissions. The grades for CO2 compensation range from very good to sufficient.
  • Airline check. Even with airlines and Flixbus, customers can directly their CO2-Compensate emissions for flight or journey. We checked whether the providers calculate correctly and say how good the respective compensation offer is.
  • background and tips. We explain how the ecological “footprint” is calculated, how you can calculate your personal CO2Calculate emissions – and which route your money takes if you transfer it to one of the providers we have tested.
  • Magazine article as PDF. If you activate the topic, you will also have access to the PDF for the article from Finanztest 11/2022.
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Compensating for flights: Which projects do providers support?

Three of the four compensation providers in the test – Atmosfair, Klima-Kollekte and Myclimate Germany – mainly support climate projects in the field of renewable energies or to increase energy efficiency in developing countries.

Examples are:

  • efficient stoves
  • biogas plants
  • solar lamps

An exception is Primaklima. This organization only supports projects with forest, such as reforestation.

How well does the CO work?2-Compensation

We wanted to know what the providers are doing specifically to protect the climate and how they are accountable for their actions. To do this, we looked at the certificates for greenhouse gas savings (quality of compensation) and evaluates whether the provider discloses its finances (transparency). We have determined whether there is an external audit and whether there are clear rules for project funding (management and control). We also evaluated how consistently on the Principle of “avoidance before reduction before compensation” is pointed out on the homepage (see also How we tested).

CO2 compensation
All test results for CO2 compensation

Can Atmosfair repeat its test win?

Back in 2018, we tested six organizations that have a CO2-Offer compensation. Two of the providers, Arktik and Klimamanufaktur, are no longer there. The four remaining organizations, including the test winner at the time, Atmosfair, are targeting private customers with their compensation offers. We took a closer look at these four.

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The decisive factor for the test verdict was above all the quality of the compensation. In order to be able to measure them, we have, among other things, evaluated the certificates with which the projects reduce the CO2-Saving is certified. The best certificates ensure that projects not only benefit the climate, but also people.

Tip: Our Sustainable Tourism special shows how you can reduce your ecological footprint. And how you can eat more environmentally friendly, we reveal in the special climate-friendly food.

Where does the provider’s money go?

Because it is not their own money that the providers of CO2compensation work, but that of consumers, we place high demands on transparency. Anyone who voluntarily pays more for their flight should know where their money is going. Our overall assessment also included how professionally the providers organized themselves. In this way, they should prevent money from being misappropriated, for example through a consistently applied four-eyes principle or external auditing.

How well does the CO work?2-Compensation at airlines?

If you book a flight, you can often offset the emission of greenhouse gases with society itself with just one click. With Easyjet, this even happens automatically. But how exactly do providers calculate their own CO2emissions and how much of it is actually compensated? We looked at Lufthansa, Easyjet, Ryanair and the bus provider Flixbus to see how they calculate.

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