Q&A

What is climate compensation and what does it entail?
Countries and companies which are bound by the Kyoto Protocol have the opportunity to trade emissions quotas and to receive credit for financing emission-reduction projects in developing countries, as a complement to their own emission reductions. The supporting of projects in developing countries has become popular even outside of the context of the Kyoto treaty, including by companies and organisations who wish to take a greater responsibility for climate issues. A project may, for example, include planting trees to bind carbon dioxide, investment in renewable energy sources and/or increasing energy efficiency. When it comes to having a positive impact on climate-change, it doesn't matter where emissions are reduced; the most important thing is that they are reduced.

Why did you choose to climate-compensate by planting trees?
The planting of trees to achieve climate compensation is most closely-related to our product - coffee. Coffee shrubs constitute a good element in the mix of plants in tree-planting projects, partly for the quality of the coffee and partly as a source of income for the farmer.

Are you not just buying yourself out of the climate question?
Climate compensation is just one part of our wider work with environmental and climate issues that we have been conducting for some time, and we view it as a natural extension of this work.

Is it possible to visit the tree-planting areas?
We work together with the sustainability consultants U&We, who regularly arrange trips to the tree-planting projects, in cooperation with the Good Travel organisation. To find out more, visit www.uwab.se.

Is it possible to follow the development of the tree-planting?
We provide continuous reports and you can follow developments here at our website.

Why is it good to buy climate-compensated coffee?
By choosing climate-compensated coffee, you are contributing to the absorption by trees of the emissions generated by the production of the coffee which, in turn, reduces the global greenhouse effect.

Which greenhouse gases are included in your calculations?
We take into account the six greenhouse gases that are covered by the Kyoto Protocol: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, HFCs, PFCs and sulfur hexafluoride.

Why are all your tree-planting projects in developing countries?
Trees grow 10 times more quickly in tropical climates than in the colder, northern parts of the world so this allows for faster and more-efficient results. The preservation of forests and planting of trees in forested agricultural areas is beneficial to the biological diversity that is particularly threatened in southern latitudes. Besides this, we are helping to create jobs, to combat poverty and to stimulate the development of societies where there is a greater need for this.

How can we be sure that these tree-planting projects really work?
Each project is continuously monitored and checked by Plan Vivo and is subject to regular verification by a third party, which ensures that everything is working as it should. The goal is that the farmer's cultivation of forested areas shall result in dividends in the form of, for example, fruit, wood and timber; the main motivation for preserving the forest.

What happens if a tree dies?
The farmer will then be required to plant a new tree. According to the Plan Vivo standards, the farmers must also cultivate an extra 10%, to constitute a safety margin.

For how long can a tree absorb carbon dioxide?
Different species of tree have different rotations, i.e. the time between planting and felling. This makes it difficult to specify an exact time but, as soon as a tree is felled, a new one is immediately planted. The farmers themselves usually determine which tree species they want to have on their land, from fast-growing species that are used as fuel, to hardwood species that grow more slowly.

It is possible to sell the same emission quota more than once?
No, Plan Vivo certificates are numbered and registered in a system known as Markit, which prevents double-selling.   Why does conventional coffee have so much more of an impact on our climate than organic coffee? Organic farming uses neither fertilisers nor pesticides, and this means that emissions are significantly less than in conventional farming.

Why have you chosen to participate in a so-called voluntary project instead of a UN-regulated project?
The forestry projects regulated by the United Nations have experienced significant difficulties in getting started and generating certificates. We wanted to get up and running as quickly as possible and to work specifically with tree-planting in collaboration with small-scale farmers. The Plan Vivo system suited our objectives very well and we feel happy and secure in our choice.   Do different species of tree absorb different quantities of carbon dioxide? Yes. Some grow rapidly and are felled within only a few years, whilst others grow more slowly and are not felled until after 20 years or more. The climatic benefit depends on how quickly they grow and bind carbon dioxide but also, to a certain extent, on how the tree is used once it has been felled. Using a felled tree as building material, for example, is of greater benefit to our climate than using it as fuel.