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What is climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG)?


Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. These shifts may be natural, but since the 1800s, human activities have been the main driver of climate change, primarily due to the burning of fossil fuels (like coal, oil, and gas) which produces heat-trapping gases. (Source; United Nations)

A greenhouse gas is a gas that absorbs and emits radiant energy within the thermal infrared range, causing the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone. Greenhouse gases have far-ranging environmental and health effects. They cause climate change by trapping heat, and they also contribute to respiratory disease from smog and air pollution. Extreme weather, food supply disruptions, and increased wildfires are other effects of climate change caused by greenhouse gases.

Video: Why is the world warming up?


What is carbon offsetting or compensation?


Every single activity in our daily lives creates a carbon footprint. The energy and water we consume, the waste we generate, what we eat, how we shop and when we travel, can all be measured and converted into a carbon emission unit. We must reduce our footprint at the source. But even if we cut all emissions today, excess carbon will remain in the atmosphere for decades. By voluntarily contributing towards planting trees and supporting renewable projects, we take a big step to offset/compensate the unavoidable emissions and remove more carbon from the atmosphere.  Carbon compensation is essential because climate change is a non-localized problem. Greenhouse gases mix throughout the atmosphere, so reducing them anywhere contributes to overall climate protection.

Video: Where does all the carbon we release go?

What does it mean to be climate positive?

Scientists tell us that we have already exceeded the safe level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We now need to go beyond zero emissions. We need to remove the excess carbon generated decades ago by the industrialized world. To do this, for each tree planted Trees4Travel assumes it absorbs 164kgs of CO2 in its first ten years, but to ensure that a travelers emissions are removed immediately, Trees4Travel always backs up its claim by assigning each tree with a share of a certified carbon credit (from the United Nations Certified Emissions Reduction Program). Trees4Travel invests into renewable energy projects, essentially ‘doubling the promise’ – this is climate positive action and this will help reverse climate change. In other words taking us out of the ‘red’ and into the ‘black’ for the Earth’s global carbon account.

Video: What is net-zero?.

Why are trees important and why is reforestation, rewilding critical to combat climate change?

Forests are the most efficient natural storehouses of carbon on our planet. However, when forests are cut down to make way for agriculture and other activities, they actually re-release large quantities of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases back into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. Standing forests address the impacts of climate change. They absorb greenhouse gases, regulate water flows, prevent soil erosion, and protect coastal communities from extreme events and sea level rise. In addition, they provide migrating plant and animal species routes to resilient habitats. Trees4Travel focuses on reforestation projects that grow trees in developing countries, not only to remove GHG emissions, but to help restore forests, biodiversity, and support local communities.

Where are the trees planted and who are they planted by?

Our tree planting ethos is based on key objectives: working closely with verified tree planting organisations in developing countries who are experts in their local environments, with the full engagement and consent of indigenous peoples and local communities in a way that respects their cultural and ecological rights. Planting a variety of tree species that are native to a region to maximise biodiversity and restore natural ecosystems, whilst maintaining those forests, supporting nature and people together. Trees4Travel will only invest in reforestation projects - reforestation is the natural or intentional restocking of existing forests and woodlands that have been depleted, usually through deforestation, but also after clearcutting. We will never invest in monoculture plantations – these are when all the same species are grown on a plot of land – this is not a good way to plant trees & does not help to restore the massive loss in biodiversity - the world's wildlife populations have plummeted by more than two-thirds in the last 50 years (WWF).

Can I choose where to plant my trees?


With so much work to do, it is vital that we pool and direct resources to enable impactful results. Trees4Travel is focused on using the collective purchasing power of travellers to scale and deliver a large volume of trees and support the areas which need it the most. In this way we are able to measure and demonstrate real and rapid progress in our planting, make significant investment in local employment and begin carbon absorption/reduction more quickly.  Diluting our impact by offering too many projects at once would make them unviable.  We therefore guide our planting toward one project at a time.


What are carbon credits & why does Trees4Travel use them?

A carbon credit is defined as “a quantified environmental benefit that is designed to compensate for or neutralize impacts to habitat, environmental functions, or ecosystem services.” These credits specifically refer to the reduction of the equivalent of one metric ton of carbon dioxide, avoided by an entity to compensate for emitting that metric ton elsewhere. Reforestation will help reverse climate change, but trees can be fragile and take time to grow. So for each tree planted, Trees4Travel assumes it absorbs 164kgs of CO2 in its first ten years, but to ensure that a travelers emissions are removed immediately, Trees4Travel always backs up its claim by assigning each tree with a share of a certified carbon credit (from the United Nations Certified Emissions Reduction Program). 

How do the certified renewable energy projects work?


The United Nations oversees a scheme called Certified Emission Reduction units (CERs). CERs are issued against trustworthy climate-friendly projects called Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects. CDM projects take place in developing countries and contribute to their sustainable development. Each project goes through a strict and thorough vetting process. The CDM process involves a variety of stakeholders such as the project participants who own the projects, host-country national authorities who oversee national implementation, independent auditors known as the Designated Operational Entities, the UNFCCC CDM Executive Board and its secretariat.

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