Carbon offsetting - more details?


Hello,

Is anyone able to provide more details about the carbon offsetting projects supported by Pure Planet? The most I've found is this post which links to this info.

So, the carbon offset is made through a REDD project to do with Brazil nut growing in Madre de Dios, Peru. However, the link provided suggests that this project was last audited 7 years ago. Pure Planet have noted several times that they plan to have more info about this on their website but it hasn't appeared (as far as I can see).

I'm currently paying quite a big more for my gas in the hope that the emissions are properly offset. Can I get more assurance that this is the case?

Thanks!

20 replies

Hi @Marthew
Welcome to the community!
Thanks for posting.
Just to let you know that I've flagged this with our comms/marketing team, for an update.
I'll keep you in the loop here, of course. 👍
Thanks Marc. Do you know when I might be able to get an update on this?
​​​​​​​
I'll chase this @Marthew 👍
Marc, I'm also looking for verification of Pure Planet's carbon offsetting.

Given that this is a key pillar in Pure Planet's offer, I'd have thought the information world be easily found and communicated loudly and proudly!
Hi @IanJ
Welcome to the community! Thanks for posting.
It is communicated loudly and proudly! We've written lots and talked lots about the work we do and support.
There's info here in the community.
On the PP website.
In our media coverage.
Here's more detail about the Amazon project.

What @Marthew is asking for, specifically I think, is more recent into on the Amazon carbon-offsetting.
So we're looking into that and we're working on a update, which of course I will share as soon as I can. But it's something we do take seriously, so it may take longer than you'd prefer.
But, rest assured, we're working on it.
🙂
Marc, the issue is that the only details you have provided about the carbon offset project seems very out of date. As IanJ notes, I would have thought Pure Planet would have this information to hand. There are statements from Pure Planet made on these forums since August last year about more information being made available soon on the website, but it hasn't appeared.

My main concern is that the carbon offset project is not actually fully absorbing the emissions produced by Pure Planet gas users. How does Pure Planet assure itself (and me!) that this is happening? How is the carbon offset project certified?
Marc,
I'd add that the links you provided mainly re-state that PP does carbon offset but without providing any details of how, or how much. It is the how and how much we are interested in. Your last link is to the Amazon project has previously been questioned by Marthew, particularly it's creditation which appears to have expired.

If the Amazon project is PP's sole source of carbon offsetting/credits purchased, then up-to-date info on that would be good. If there are other schemes, please provide details of those too. What I'd like to see (and I suspect many others) is evidence of the amount of tonnes of carbon that has been offset/credits purchased, on which schemes, and against how many tonnes of CO2 produced by your customers' use of gas.

As both Marthew and I have said before - PP's offer to the market is that it has, is, and will continue to offset carbon for its customers. The evidence and calcs should be transparent, available and continually updated. I can't think of a reasonable explanation as to why they wouldn't be.

Thanks in advance, IJ
Good morning @Marthew @IanJ
I hear you!
We are working on updating the info about our CO2 offsetting. Realistically I'll have news to share with you next week.
(Separately, a carbon-offsetter tool - showing per Member and for all PP Members as a whole - has also been on our roadmap for ages. It's one of those bits of work we know is important but tends to get bumped off the priority list by other business-crucial work and improvements.)
​​​​​​​Thanks Marc, appreciate it. Look forward to more info next week.
Marc,
You promised information in a week, over a month has passed. I appreciate this has been a difficult month for many, but carbon offsetting is one of Pure Planet's USPs. I'm getting the message PP can't back-up it's carbon offsetting claims.
I joined PP because both electricity and gas were claimed to be carbon neutral. The price was not a significant factor. If PP can't provide the information, I'll just switch to a cheaper supplier who at least won't be making claims it can't substantiate.
​​​​​​​Thaks, Ian
Hi Marc,

Is there any update on this? I notice that the only link you have provided so far about the project Pure Planet uses to offset emissions is now broken.

Verra, the organisation that certifies this project, seems to have updated its online database and it is no longer possible to see details of the project.

I have to agree with Ian above. You haven't provided any evidence that Pure Planet is fully offsetting the gas it sells. This is starting to look like false advertising.

​​​​​​​Matt
Marc,
You've had plenty of time to provide evidence of the carbon offsetting PP claims for gas it sells.

I've stated before, I chose PP for its 100% renewable or off-set claims, not for its tariffs.

But, I'm not paying higher prices for unverifiable claims. I feel somewhat shortchanged that I've been paying this premium without PP being able to evidence its claimed offsetting.

As for the future, I can at least stop paying a premium for nothing. I have applied to go to a different supplier today, saving me £200/year for renewable electricity and gas which they can't evidence is offset either (but they don't claim it's offset).

Regards, Ian
This is a scary thread!
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​​I am voluntary paying a premium for carbon offsets but PP cannot provide up-to-date evidence that they are actually doing it.

Questions like this should be answered within minutes, not taking months, and still being unanswered.

I have been happy until now, but I will now start looking for another provider!

Really, really disappointing!!
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Just a quick question for @tshotts @IanJ et al
Also waiting for a reply but just to add...

PP buy ALL of their carbon offset gas from BP.
Does any of BP's carbon offsetting count? (never enough I agree but...) I think it must, your thoughts?
Further to my thread about PP not providing up-to-date information about their carbon offsets (7-years old information!!); The link provided in the response from @Marc triggers my firewall. When I managed to bypass it displayed that the site is shut down!

This is really worrying! Is PP offsetting at all, and is this just a big scam?

Octopus has a fully green tariff AND they can backup their tariff with the relevant evidence! It's also 'Which recommended'.
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Userlevel 7
Badge +11
hi tshotts
the website has an out of date certificate, I doubt it's dodgy, I use https everywhere; here's a screenshot, see lower section
Their main website is HERE
It shouldn't be this hard, I agree but you can't blame PP for the website.

tshotts;54132:
Further to my thread about PP not providing up-to-date information about their carbon offsets (7-years old information!!); The link provided in the response from @Marc triggers my firewall. When I managed to bypass it displayed that the site is shut down!

This is really worrying! Is PP offsetting at all, and is this just a big scam?

Octopus has a fully green tariff AND they can backup their tariff with the relevant evidence! It's also 'Which recommended'.
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Hi @IanJ @tshotts
We haven't forgotten about this.
I know that our marketing team have on their 'to-do list' un update about our carbon offsetting.
They were working on this when @Marthew first raised it here in the community a couple of months ago.
However, since then, a few things have happened which our team needed to prioritise.
One, the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
Two, we announced a price drop.
Three, we announced a new fixed tariff.
All the above are big pieces of work for our small (but perfectly formed!) marketing team. They've been flat out for the last two months.
But I do appreciate that you guys are asking for important and valid reasons, so I'm going to chase them up and see what the latest ETA is on this.
👍
Hi @Marc,
thank you for your response but I must question PP priorities. Sure, the COVID outbreak has slowed things down but the core of PPs USP is the environmental factor. To not have that information at hand when requested is very poor.

​​​​​​​Again, no client who is requesting confirmation of the core USP, of any company, should wait longer than a day!
Good morning all
Just wanted to update everyone that we haven't forgotten you!
We're updating our blog v soon, and one of our co-founders is going to jump in here today, too, to help clear things up.
👍
Hi all

Thanks for your comments and questions on carbon offsetting.

Please, let me dive in to clarify a couple of things and outline what we’re working on.

First, a little context. When we launched Pure Planet in September 2017 our aim was to create as sustainable a company as possible, and to offer one of the most sustainable energy products available. This ambition resulted in our launching Britain’s first 100% renewable electricity and 100% carbon offset tariff. This was and remains, in our view, one of the best environmental combinations available today.

On the company front, sustainability is an aim we continue to advance every day - imperfectly, of course!
Sustainability is both an ambition and a process. And it involves much more than environmental matters - but more on this another time.

Back to offsetting: other suppliers have followed Pure Planet and there are now various flavours on the offsetting-and-renewables theme available.

Some firms offer renewable electricity only and do nothing to offset the carbon emission impact of the gas they sell to householders.
Others offer partial offsets on their gas.
A few offer a percentage of bio-gas in their mix and carbon offset the rest (note: green gas still causes emissions, though less than natural gas, but as far as I’m aware no firm yet offsets its bio-gas).
And in the details, you might find that most firms offset only the emissions involved in the burn of the gas, not its transportation emissions from well to tank. To offset both is considered to be the most environmentally-friendly best practice.

But most firms continue to sell ‘brown’ electricity and do not carbon offset any gas at all, of course. Sadly, this remains the norm.

At Pure Planet we try to keep things simple, which is why all of the gas is offset for both transmission and combustion emissions.
The methodologies and conversion factors by which emissions are calculated for different types of activities are published by the government each year.

The greenest practice, of course, would be for us not to burn gas at all; but given most of Britain’s homes are reliant on gas for heating and hot water, offsetting it is the next best thing - for now, at least.

Second, a quick note on price. Pure Planet aims to offer consistent, excellent value - to be around 20% cheaper than the market norms.
Today, our tariff savings against the Big 6 mainstay variable tariffs, for example, are indeed at 20% which means an average household will typically save several hundred pounds a year by comparison (£1,124 plays our £902).
Higher users - which the majority of our Members are - save much more. We don’t aim to be the very cheapest. It is unsustainable over anything but a very short term.

Importantly, the cost of the environmental aspects to our tariffs are included in the price, they are not add-ons charged at a premium.

Some suppliers do charge an additional premium to go green, we don’t. And some suppliers charge much more than the Big 6’s mainstay variable tariffs to go green - above the price cap, in fact - we don’t.
Today, I see one green supplier costs £1,275 versus our £902 for a medium average user - that’s a difference of more than £370 a year.
We believe green should cost less than brown - and at Pure Planet it does.

Third, let’s look into how we offset gas at Pure Planet in a bit more detail, which should help answer several of questions.

We purchase carbon offsets from a variety of registered carbon offsetting projects around the world to match the equivalent emissions from the gas shipped and burnt by our Members. We buy these through the BP environmental products team in London who, given their expertise, broker the purchase offsets for us, as well as many other organisations.
We currently buy offsets sometime after the end of our accounting years, when we know how much gas has been used throughout the period and what the offset volume needs to be.
As we’ve got bigger, and more gas is being consumed by our Members, more frequent offsetting makes the deals easier to manage - and with cash flow - so we may soon move purchases to a three or four times a year.

There are no rules about the timings of making offset purchases - what matters is simply that at some point the tonnage of carbon emitted is matched with a certified equivalent tonnage of carbon saved. This is unlike the process with renewable electricity certificates (REGOs) which need to be matched annually.

We’ve offset 277,000 tonnes of gas carbon emissions so far.

One of our early offsets comes from the Amazon Rainforest, the Madre de Dios project in Peru. This has been one of the Amazon’s most high-profile carbon offsetting projects - a web search will show you some of the many of the companies that have purchased offsets from this sustainable forest, biodiversity-protecting, Brazil nut farming programme. It’s a REDD scheme, registered under the Voluntary Carbon Standard, and protects and preserves the rainforest to sequester carbon and mitigate climate change, as well as helping to support a community of around 400 Brazil nut farmers working in a sustainable way.

Here’s a promo video which introduces the region.

With other more recent carbon offset projects we have invested in the offsets from a variety of renewable power projects around the world. This helps the energy transition away from fossil fuels to clean power generation - cutting the carbon society needs to light their lives.
These projects are registered under the Certified Emission Reductions Scheme and examples include hydropower in Brazil and the Philippines, and wind generation in China.

Lastly, as @Marc has mentioned, we’ve been planning to introduce much more content and details about our offsets onto our website and blog, and we’re looking into launching a carbon offset ‘shop’, so members will be able to easily offset other aspects of their personal carbon footprints beyond home energy use (which we’re really excited about).
But with so many other things having been on the go, it’s slipped. So my apologies, and thanks for your patience. We’ll let you know just as soon as we can when we have more to share.

Thanks for being part of Pure Planet.

Steven, co-founder Pure Planet

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