How We Choose Climate Projects

At GoClimate, we prioritize quality and efficiency in our support for climate projects. Our rigorous selection process is based on the following criteria to ensure that every project we support truly contributes to climate improvements.

Certification: We require that an independent third party certifies the projects, guaranteeing that they meet continuously updated and increasingly higher standards.

Additionality: It’s crucial that the projects would not have been realized without funding from climate initiatives. This principle ensures that our investment leads to a real change.

Verification: The climate benefit of each project is verified by an independent third party, ensuring its efficiency and credibility.

Traceability: We ensure that funding is traceable through transparent and open databases. This prevents double counting and ensures the project’s uniqueness.

Durability: The projects must offer lasting effect, meaning the benefits do not disappear over time.

Contribution to Sustainable Development: Beyond the direct climate benefits, the projects should also contribute to sustainable development, such as creating job opportunities or contributing to cleaner air. It’s important that the projects do not contribute to negative social development where they are implemented.

At GoClimate, we focus on supporting the best climate projects. We have chosen to work only with projects certified by Gold Standard. This is because we believe that Gold Standard has the strictest and best requirements for climate projects.

What Makes Gold Standard So Special?

Stringent Requirements: Gold Standard has stricter rules compared to other standards. They ensure that the projects really need the money to be implemented and continue to make a difference.

Focus on the 1.5-Degree Target: Projects supported by Gold Standard are those that help us reach our global climate goals. This means that they do not support projects linked to fossil fuels or nuclear energy.

Updated Requirements: Gold Standard regularly updates its requirements to ensure that the money is used where it is most beneficial for the climate.

Our conclusion is that supporting Gold Standard-certified projects is the best way to make a difference right now. However, we are open to changing our approach if we find other ways to achieve even greater climate benefits in the future.

Please feel free to contact us if you think there’s something we’ve missed, as we are always open to learning more!

Climate projects reducing greenhouse gases

Projects focusing on reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere can be divided into two main types: nature projects and technical projects.

3.1 Nature Projects

These projects include tree planting and conservation of existing forests. They are strongly encouraged by leading climate initiatives such as Science Based Targets and Exponential Roadmap, and are critical in addressing the climate crisis and the perhaps even greater crisis in biodiversity. Trees are a proven method for capturing carbon dioxide and require no new technology or cost-reducing innovations to be effective.

3.1.1 The Reason We Do Not Support This Type of Project (Yet)

Despite the importance of these projects, there are complexities surrounding land use and the durability of biology that must be addressed. Issues such as the alternative use of land, suitability of tree species, and tree growth under changing climate conditions are important. There is also uncertainty about how long the carbon dioxide actually stays stored in the trees. In addition, many previous tree projects have not lived up to their quality expectations. Higher costs per ton of greenhouse gas compared to emission reduction projects is another challenge.

3.2 Technical Projects

According to the IPCC, it is necessary to remove large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in the coming years. Technical projects, or ‘removals,’ are a rapidly growing and exciting area where many companies compete to develop the most effective and cost-efficient methods. For example, ClimeWorks uses giant fans similar to technical trees, and other companies are creating biochar for storage in the soil. This type of project is continuously monitored and evaluated by several initiatives.

3.2.1 The Reason We Do Not Support This Type of Project (Yet)

Currently, the cost of removing one ton of CO2e from the atmosphere using these methods is extremely high, for example, ClimeWorks costs about $1,200 per ton CO2e. Cheaper alternatives include biochar, but they are still costly. Critics argue that these technologies have difficulties scaling up to necessary levels and can distract from the main task of reducing emissions. In addition, paying private companies involves a lack of transparency and third-party certification of climate benefits.

However, we are convinced that the development of this type of project is necessary and are excited to see how the market grows!

Please get in touch at [email protected] if you think we have missed something, we are always open to learning more!

Projects Contributing to Reduced Emissions

This is part three of our article series about how we consider the climate projects we support. This part is about the projects that contribute to reduced emissions and covers the projects that GoClimate primarily supports today. 

This category includes, for example, energy-efficient stoves that reduce the need for wood and thus deforestation. There are also projects in renewable energy that reduce the need for coal power plants and those that handle harmful methane gas by converting it into electricity, replacing fossil energy sources. More examples of these climate projects are available here.

2.1 Why We Support This Type of Project

There is scientific consensus that it is urgent to reduce the world’s emissions. Therefore, it is reasonable that at the present time, when there is so much left to do, the focus should simply be on supporting projects that reduce the world’s emissions.

2.1.1 The Technology is Already Here

To reduce emissions, both capital and technology dissemination are required. The necessary technology to cope with climate change already exists to a large extent, but it needs to be spread, financed, and implemented. The type of climate financing that we, our members, and customers contribute to plays a big role here; this is exactly what is needed to speed up the transition. But it’s not just a question of investing money, the projects must be effective and well thought out too.

2.2 Challenges with These Types of Projects

The climate benefit of the projects is often calculated based on hypothetical scenarios, which can be problematic. Changed subsidies, norms, and knowledge levels can affect the projects over time. Some projects may no longer need support due to technical development and price reductions in renewable energy. However, the role of climate financing is crucial. It has historically contributed to economies of scale and price reductions, meaning that some projects no longer need the same support. To manage these dynamic factors, one can choose to support newer projects or specific years.

Despite the complexity of these projects, we are convinced that they can be supported effectively, especially if the right type of project is chosen.

2.3 Projects We Do Not Support in This Category

In this category are projects that we consider to be less efficient or problematic. For example, we do not support the construction of large-scale hydroelectric power plants, as they require large land areas and can have a negative impact on both the environment and local communities.

New renewable energy projects in countries not on the UN’s list of least developed countries are also not certified according to the standard – Gold Standard – that we go by. These projects are often considered to not need financial support to the same extent as they did in the past.

However, it is important to understand the climate credit market and how it affects the lifespan and financing of projects. We still support certain energy projects that would not be certified today, because if we stop supporting certain projects that were certified because climate financing was deemed necessary earlier, it could undermine the confidence in the climate credit market and make it more difficult for future projects to get financing.

We also do not support local projects in Sweden, as the country already has access to financing and relatively low climate emissions compared to other regions. Our strategy is to support projects where they can have the greatest positive climate impact. Even though projects like solar cell support in Sweden can be beneficial, financing does more good when used in other countries, for example, those with a higher mix of fossil fuel sources in their electricity mix.

Please get in touch ([email protected]) if you think there’s anything we’ve missed; we are always open to learning more!

Climate Organizations Influencing Society

This is part two in our article series about how we consider the climate projects that we support. This part focuses on climate organizations that influence society.

There are many organizations trying to stop climate change by influencing society in various ways, such as by developing political proposals, organizing demonstrations, or through lobbying. We at GoClimate work for systemic changes just like other climate organizations in this category, but we also support certain other organizations such as Klimatriksdagen (Sweden) and Shado (UK). We choose to support organizations where even small contributions can make a big difference, which ensures that our contributions provide what is called additional climate benefit. This means that we want our money to contribute to a climate benefit that would not have occurred if we had not contributed the money.

In addition, we support projects and individuals where our contribution, in addition to providing direct climate benefit, also indirectly contributes to us getting more funds for further climate work. An example could be sponsoring a climate conference with 10,000 SEK, which not only creates direct climate benefit but also attracts corporate customers who contribute an additional 20,000 SEK to climate projects, effectively more than doubling the climate benefit for the invested money.

Supporting society-influencing organizations is complex. We do not want to support any concrete party politics and do not support specific political parties. But we believe it is crucial to show, among other things through debate articles, to politicians that the climate crisis is urgent and that political solutions are an essential part of the answer

When we support different climate organizations, we believe it is important to carefully evaluate them and try to calculate the benefit they provide, something we think the organization Giving Green does well. The challenge in evaluating these organizations lies in how to calculate the climate benefit they achieve in terms of tons of carbon dioxide. Giving Green uses a method where they calculate backwards from previously achieved results and make a series of assumptions about what proportion of the result for a specific action is thanks to the organization.

A simplified example: An organization drives a political proposal that leads to the U.S. reducing its emissions by 1%. When the proposal is implemented, 1% of the U.S.’s annual emissions equals an incredible 63 million tons of CO2e. To calculate the organization’s share of this, one can assume that the organization expedited the proposal by six months. This means that the organization may have contributed to 31.5 million tons of CO2e climate benefit in half a year. If the organization achieved this with a budget of 10 million dollars, it means that each dollar contributed to eliminating 3.2 tons of CO2e, which corresponds to a cost of 0.3 dollars per ton CO2e. This is a cost-effective result, but the calculation also contains some uncertainties.

1.1 The reason we do not exclusively support such projects

We believe that it is possible to achieve significant climate benefit through these types of organizations. In fact, it can be one of the most cost-effective ways to make a climate impact. As an example, the article’s author gives 50% of their donations to GeEffektivt’s recommended climate organizations and 50% to GoClimate’s measurable and certified climate projects.

1.1.1 Uncertainty in the assumptions

Despite this, there are uncertainties in these calculations. It is not always certain that the organization actually contributed or that they could do more good with additional funding. However, we are strong advocates of trying to evaluate the benefit, even if it poses challenges. The efficiency of charitable organizations can vary greatly, so we recommend supporting organizations that GeEffektivt and Giving Green highlight.

1.1.2 By definition political

Moreover, support for certain proposals driven by these organizations often involves a political stance. This can be problematic for some of our corporate clients. Therefore, it is important to be aware of these aspects when supporting politically influencing organizations.

1.1.3 Measurability

At GoClimate, we value being able to specify the exact climate benefit that each contribution provides. We have seen that both individuals and companies appreciate traceability and are willing to contribute more when they know exactly what their money accomplishes. Therefore, we focus on climate projects where the benefit is measurable, clear, third-party audited, and transparently reported.

We also believe that there is strength in each individual and company taking responsibility for their own emissions. This means that those who emit more carbon dioxide should contribute more to climate work. If someone has caused 10 tons of CO2e in emissions during a year, they should pay proportionally more than someone who has only caused 1 ton of CO2e. This principle places high demands on the measurability of the climate projects we support and it is not at all certain that a specific sum of money will prevent or neutralize an exact amount of CO2e moving forward through these organizations.

However, it is important to emphasize that uncertainty exists in all types of climate projects. In the case of the projects we are discussing here, the uncertainty and traceability can be particularly high, even though the potential benefit can also be very significant.

Please feel free to contact us at [email protected] if you think there is anything we have missed on this topic, we are always open to learning more!

Keep an eye out for the next part in this article series which will be about climate projects that contribute to reduced emissions.

Popular environmental bonus leads Edge to reduce emissions

Mia Border, a landscape architect at Edge and one of the firm’s driving forces in sustainability.

The landscape architects and engineers at Swedish firm Edge aims to encourage its employees to be mindful of their carbon footprint when traveling. Therefore, everyone receives a bonus when they choose environmentally friendly modes of transport, a benefit that has been utilized by over three-quarters of the staff.

“In a time of climate crisis, it’s necessary to act. Through our environmental bonus, we want to encourage and facilitate our employees to live more climate-smart, which also brings health benefits,” says Mia Border, a landscape architect at Edge and one of the firm’s driving forces in sustainability.

In the Lokstallsområdet area in Kirseberg, Malmö, one finds Edge, a company dedicated to designing the landscapes and urban spaces of the future. Known for their strong focus on sustainability, Edge’s philosophy is rooted in leaving each place they work with in better condition than they found it. 

Mia Border shares insights about Edge’s vision: ‘Our work revolves around conscious choices for a sustainable future, where we combine vision with goodwill to benefit both individuals and society.’

Edge stands out with its comprehensive sustainability strategy, reflected not only in their projects but also in their corporate culture. They have implemented a comprehensive environmental policy for business travel, prioritizing train, bus, and carpooling over flights. Additionally, they have introduced unique climate benefits for their employees. These include reimbursement for business travel by bicycle and a special environmental bonus. This bonus rewards employees who choose environmentally friendly modes of transport and has been used by over three-quarters of the staff.

Want to encourage employees to live more climate friendly

Border explains the purpose behind the environmental bonus: “In a time of climate crisis, it’s necessary to act. Through our environmental bonus, we want to encourage and facilitate our employees to live more climate-smart, which also brings health benefits.”

This approach is part of Edge’s larger commitment to be climate neutral by 2030, a promise that is part of the global LFM30 initiative.

It’s not just Edge’s projects that reflect their focus on sustainability, but also their internal culture and policies. Their efforts to reduce the company’s carbon footprint have not only led to a stronger team spirit among the staff but also to appreciation and recognition within the industry. The employees take pride in being part of a company that takes concrete steps towards a sustainable future, and this commitment permeates the entire organization.

Despite the financial and administrative costs that come with offering these climate benefits, Edge sees them as essential to driving society towards a sustainable future. Through their commitment to sustainability, both in their projects and internal policies, Edge stands as a shining example of how companies can play an active role in creating a more sustainable world.

Read more about, and get inspired by, Edge’s climate work here!

“Working sustainably requires daring to try new alternatives and exploring groundbreaking solutions.”

Olle Sundemo, CEO at Undersåkers Snickeri.

Undersåkers Snickeri, a versatile construction company in Jämtland, is actively working to simplify the construction of sustainable houses. The company offers a range of services that extend from renovation and fine carpentry to new construction and design of low-energy houses.

By prioritizing simple material choices and awareness of their CO2 footprint, Undersåkers Snickeri aims to show the construction industry how small decisions can contribute to significant positive changes for the planet.

We spoke with Olle Sundemo, CEO at Undersåkers Snickeri, about the company’s sustainability work. Olle talks about how Anders and Tore, two of the company’s craftsmen, focus on renovating and restoring kitchens, windows, doors, and furniture that would otherwise be thrown away. The company heats its premises with wood shavings and waste material and minimizes its waste by only having a small trash can for plastic and metal. To further reduce their climate impact, they have switched from diesel cars to electric cars, optimized their logistics to reduce transportation, and strive to minimize non-recyclable waste. They also focus on replacing materials with a high CO2 footprint with more environmentally friendly alternatives and inspire other craftsmen to do the same.

Construction industry stands for 21 % of Sweden’s emissions

With the construction industry responsible for about 21% of Sweden’s total greenhouse gas emissions, according to the National Board of Housing, Building and Planning (Boverket), sustainable construction is an important part in reducing overall emissions. As a smaller construction company, Undersåkers Snickeri faces the challenge of finding new sustainable solutions within the framework of the customer’s budget.

“Working sustainably requires daring to try new alternatives and exploring groundbreaking solutions,” says Olle Sundemo.

One of the company’s main products, wood fiber insulation, is entirely based on recycled material and has the potential to make a huge difference for the climate. By using wood fiber in their climate shells, the energy requirement is minimized while carbon dioxide is sequestered. Undersåkers Snickeri is proud of this solution, which replaces the use of wood chips for energy and instead contributes to better insulation and reduced energy needs.

The goal for Undersåkers Snickeri is to lead the construction industry towards a norm where low-energy houses built from natural materials become the standard. By continuously seeking new ways to replace environmentally harmful materials with eco-friendly alternatives, they hope to inspire other craftsmen to follow their example.

“We want to continue delivering complete solutions and material deliveries for low-energy houses made of natural materials to our customers. We also want to be an obvious partner in sustainable construction projects throughout Scandinavia and actively contribute to ensuring that all houses built in Jämtland have a minimal climate impact,” concludes Olle Sundemo.

“Electric cars are among the most fun and comfortable cars to drive”

Anna Ståhl, founder of Femobility.

Anna Ståhl, founder of Femobility, has created a blog aimed at explaining in an accessible way how to drive and charge electric cars. While men are welcome, her specific target is to engage more women in an area traditionally dominated by men.

Discussing how she came up with the idea for Femobility, Anna shares her journey: “I had previously written posts in various Facebook groups and noticed that many appreciated my way of explaining things. By starting an open webpage, my texts became accessible to everyone. I also looked forward to learning new things, like building websites and creating logos, as the curious and inquisitive person I am.”

Regarding her commitment to electric cars, Anna states that her interest started in 2020 when her housing association installed charging boxes. This led her to consider switching from her diesel car to an electric car. Initially set on a plug-in hybrid, she soon realized that electric vehicles were the only option for her.

“Originally, it was the thought of reduced emissions that attracted me to electric cars. But I soon discovered all the other advantages of them, such as being among the funniest and most comfortable cars to drive. Although electric cars are definitely a better choice for those who choose to drive, I am well aware that they are not without emissions or problems. Discussions regarding electric cars often focus on new, expensive cars and how fun they are to drive, but obviously the best thing is still not to drive at all.”

Learn more via Anna’s blog Femobility!

GoClimate’s thoughts on financing climate projects

For us at GoClimate, it is incredibly important that we maximize the climate benefit of the funds for climate projects contributed by our members and corporate customers.

We have therefore started writing a series of articles diving into how to do as much climate impact as possible with money.

First, a short disclaimer: We are aware that climate financing is part of a larger whole, which includes behavioral changes and systemic changes. Our work spans three main areas: driving systemic change, enabling behavioral change reducing emissions and support for financing climate projects. This article series will focus on financing climate projects.

In this series of articles, we will look at different types of initiatives to support if you want to make a climate impact with your money:

  • Projects that influence society: There are many initiatives working for greater change in society. We try to support projects where our contributions are ‘additional’, meaning they contribute to climate benefits that would not otherwise occur. This area is complex and requires careful evaluation of the climate projects’ effectiveness. Despite the challenges especially in quantifying future impact that additional financing could bring, we strongly believe in supporting these types of organizations and initiatives to achieve changes at the societal level.
  • Projects that reduce emissions: This is the main type of project we support and what members or corporate customers contribute to when they buy tons of CO2e or carbon credits as they are also called. It includes support for projects that contribute to reduced carbon dioxide emissions, such as through energy-efficient stoves or projects in renewable energy. We see these projects as critical because they contribute to reducing emissions – which is the most important thing for us as a society to do right now. However, we are aware that these projects are not perfect and that their climate benefit can sometimes be difficult to quantify, especially in terms of calculating different future scenarios when the projects are started.
  • Projects that remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere: These projects include both nature-based and technical solutions. Nature-based solutions such as tree planting and conservation of forests are important, but also complex in terms of issues about their permanence, land use, and what would have happened without climate financing. Regarding technical solutions such as carbon capture, these are promising but still in an very early stage and small scale and often very expensive – which means that you don’t achieve much impact per dollar spent. We actively follow developments in this area, however, and are open to including them in the future.

At GoClimate, we use strict criteria for selecting climate projects, which include certification, additionality, verifiability, traceability, permanence, and contribution to sustainable development. Our main focus has so far been on projects certified by Gold Standard, which we consider to have the highest requirements for climate projects right now.

We are always ready to adapt and reconsider our strategies to ensure that our efforts provide the greatest possible climate benefit.

We will go through the different types of projects and the ins and outs of them in the next articles in this series. Stay tuned!

“It feels rewarding to be able to make our small contribution to making the planet a little better.”

Michaela Bruneheim, CEO of Evident Life.

Evident Life is a young and completely digital life insurance company with a business idea that focuses on digital innovation, data-driven operations, and preventive health measures. From the beginning, sustainability has been a cornerstone in their development, something they have actively integrated into every phase of their growth.

CEO Michaela Bruneheim shares that their goal was to “do it right from the start” by minimizing their carbon footprint and maintaining environmentally and socially sustainable business practices.

Evident Life is committed to several of the UN’s global sustainability goals, especially goals 3, 5, 8, and 12. This includes measures such as encouraging employees to use bicycles, walking and public transport, and in their digital business model, they continuously strive for energy-efficient technology. Their digital focus also leads to significantly less paper consumption, which they see as a distinct advantage compared to competitors.

Gender equality is also a core aspect of their operations, with an aim for balance in gender distribution both operationally and at the board level. Flexibility in working hours and location is part of their corporate culture, which they see as crucial to maintaining a healthy balance in life for their employees, which in turn contributes to the company’s long-term success and sustainability.

Evident Life conducts an annual climate analysis with GoClimate, where they evaluate and take responsibility for their emissions by financing climate projects, chosen through a democratic process among the employees. This method of climate financing is not only effective but also engaging, as it allows employees to participate in the choice of projects and see the direct effects of their contributions, which Bruneheim describes as a meaningful way to contribute to a better planet.

“It feels rewarding to be able to make our small contribution to making the planet a little better”, says Michaela Bruneheim.

“It is important to remember that our travel choices have direct consequences on our planet.”

Evelina Utterdahl.

Evelina Utterdahl is a Swedish climate activist and advocate for sustainable travel. She has abandoned flying and instead focuses on exploring the world through more environmentally friendly means of transportation, inspiring others to make more sustainable choices.

“Flying is not an option for me, instead I focus on exploring the beauty in my immediate surroundings and Sweden as a whole. There is so much beauty in our country that I have not yet experienced. When I do feel like discovering places outside of Sweden, I dream of train adventures or road trips (with electric vehicles) through Europe with my family. I also see small adventures, like visiting a new restaurant in my city, as a form of travel.”

Her transition to a sustainable way of traveling began with an eye-opening insight:

“In 2018, I came across an article that pointed out the large amount of carbon dioxide emissions from air travel. When I realized how enormous the impact of a single flight can be, I decided to stop flying entirely. I could not justify the pleasure of flying with the serious consequences it has on our planet and its inhabitants.”

Evelina’s tip: Try to be flight-free for a couple of years

Evelina wants to highlight how our choices in travel affect our environment:

“It is important to remember that our travel choices have direct consequences on our planet. Many people in the world have never even flown, and it is actually just a small percentage that flies regularly. Europeans have the luxury of being able to explore so many fantastic places through sustainable travel methods, like trains or carpooling.”

For those who are ready to take the step towards more sustainable travel, Evelina recommends starting by aiming to be flight-free for a couple of years.

“Give yourself the chance to discover the wonderful sustainable alternatives that exist. Once you try these alternatives, the thought of flight-free travel will feel less overwhelming. For example, if you are unsure of how to travel by train, there are Facebook groups and travel specialists who can guide you.”

Follow Evelina on Instagram to experience her love for both our planet and the people who live there!