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How can a tree and its CO2 offset appear in two forests?

CO2 assessments are designed with the premise that nobody other than the subject of the study takes responsibility for their pollution. In fact, CO2 offsets should be accounted for mutually between the buyer and the seller.

When a company offers a tree to a recipient, this tree will appear in 2 forests: the company's forest and the forest of the recipient. The CO2 captured as well.

This may look like this CO2 is counted twice. We explain below how it is in fact being mutualized.

The way CO2 emissions are usually calculated today reflects a sad reality: it seems that we live in a world where nobody takes responsibility for their pollution. This is why when we say that one person living in Europe, for example, on average needs to capture 9 tons of CO2 to offset their emissions, this includes all goods and services this person buys as well as all the emissions this person generates during their work. Simply, it's assumed that neither the companies this person buys from nor the company he works at are taking care of their emissions. While this is probably true in most of the world, Tree-Nation is this very special place where this doesn't happen. Let's see why.

Let's start with an example of a company that sells a product to a customer. What would happen if both the company and the customer have a CO2 impact calculator?

  1. When this company sells its product, it would account for the CO2e emissions of the product sold as part of its CO2 impact.
  2. When the customer buys this product, he/she accounts for the CO2e emissions of this product as part of his/her CO2 impact.

In theory, both would account for this CO2. If they would both also decide to offset this CO2, it will be offset twice. This looks very theoretical because the chances that both the company and the customer calculate their CO2 impact and both decide to offset this CO2 are very small.

On Tree-Nation, on the other hand, this happens every day as our platform is designed to offset the CO2 of both the company and the customer, and display their respective (and mutual) impact. Following the same example, a company can commit to planting a tree for every product they sell. With our Net Zero Products service, this company can not only plant the tree and account for the CO2 it captures, but also offer this tree to its customer. On the Tree-Nation platform, this will be reflected in both forests (the Company Forest and the customer forest) accounting for this tree and its CO2 offset.

*Please note that in the counter totals we display all around the platform, the tree and its CO2 are only counted once, not twice. Our database has been designed so that it is even impossible to count it twice. But the tree is indeed displayed inside the two forests.

The way we see it, a product sold/purchased has a CO2 footprint that is mutually shared between a producer and a customer. In our example, the producer is paying to offset it. But by also displaying the CO2 footprint on the customer's forest we allow this citizen to offset their own emissions without the need to offset this product a second time.

Let's take a simpler and quicker example: if a company decides to offset the emissions of its employees using the Net Zero Team, the trees planted will appear in both the company's and the employee's forests. The offsets correspond to about 3,6 Tonnes of CO2 per employee per year. If this employee decides to go Net Zero and offset all its citizen's emissions (not just work) which amounts to 9 Tonnes of CO2, those work emissions won't have to be offset twice. This is why they appear accounted for in this employee's forest. The employee would just need to offset the remaining emissions: 9 - 3,6 = 5,4 Tonnes.