The Seller’s Pledge: How We Ensure Carbon Done Correctly

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Since Day 1, Cool Effect has put transparency at the forefront of everything we do. From our pricing of carbon offsets to our administrative fees, to our rejection of any hidden markups, to our guarantee that every single project on our platform has been thoroughly vetted and triple-verified, we feel that there’s no better way to ensure Carbon Done Correctly than through an unwavering commitment to transparency.

And now, we’re making our commitment to fully transparent transactions an official one.

Now available for download on our site, you’ll find The Seller’s Pledge, a document outlining our pledge to transparency, a legal promise we make to every single individual, business, university or organization using our platform to take action against climate change.

“We created our Model to bring integrity to the voluntary carbon market. It is essential if we are to achieve the success we seek and the planet requires.” — Cool Effect co-founder Dee Lawrence

So why now? When we started Cool Effect over five years ago, we knew there was an increasing demand from individuals, organizations and businesses who wanted to take direct action to reduce their carbon emissions — but over this last half-decade, the depth and intensity of that demand have become even more pronounced. The Seller’s Pledge has been our internal commitment from the very beginning, but now, in the spirit of true transparency, we’ve decided to make it publicly viewable for everyone.

We can now proudly point to our passionate community of 500,000+, who do their best to reduce their carbon footprint, then offset the rest, reducing over 2 million tonnes of carbon emissions since 2015. This growth made it clear to us that by demonstrating a true carbon benefit, displaying full transparency in our pricing, and highlighting secondary benefits of projects on our platform, we could provide a level of trust and comfort in our offerings that would inspire people to make the move from climate alarm to climate action.

Carbon Done Correctly isn’t possible unless you trust the platform providing those carbon credits, and The Seller’s Pledge is a key component of our commitment. We’re continuously honored, amazed, and humbled by the passion of our ever-growing community, but if we’re going to continue this incredible trajectory and have the success in the carbon market that we desire — and the world requires — we must continue to build trust through improved transparency of carbon offset transactions in the future. The Seller’s Pledge is the next step towards that future.

“In my 40 years in the financial markets, I have witnessed many cases where improved clarity and accountability of transactions led to remarkable growth. We hope The Seller’s Pledge will build trust with high-quality carbon offset buyers and that the entire market will embrace this pledge and help us bring trust to the carbon market for the buyers, the developers and the planet.” — Cool Effect Co-founder Richard Lawrence

To ensure that purchasers and sellers of carbon offsets and the public at large will always trust and respect Cool Effect and have full confidence in our platform and the projects we support, we pledge the following:

Our Carbon Credit Pricing Is Always Transparent:

Cool Effect always provides to all parties in advance complete pricing transparency for every project we support. The price per tonne quoted for each carbon offset available represents the exact price that Cool Effect has negotiated with the carbon emissions reduction project plus our fee of 9.87%.

Our Fees Are Always Fixed and Fully Disclosed:

Cool Effect charges a straight 9.87% fee on every carbon offset transaction handled through our platform. This fee covers project research costs, payment processing, registry fees, and our administrative costs, broken down as follows:

  • 1.5% Project Research Fee
  • 2–4% Payment Processing Fee
  • Registry Fee (where applicable)
  • Remainder for Cool Effect Administration Fee
We Never Charge Hidden Fees Or Receive Undisclosed Markups:

We never trade carbon offsets for our own account. The price per tonne paid or donated by each purchaser is always exactly the same as the price per tonne paid to the project, plus our straight 9.87% fee. We do not “round up” the price of offsets to the nearest dollar or other monetary units, or “bundle” offsets for averaged or discounted pricing.

“In daily conversations with potential buyers, one question always arises: ‘Why do your prices differ from other sellers?’ The answer is The Seller’s Pledge. Cool Effect commits to full disclosure on pricing. We want the buyer to know exactly what will be sent to the project, and we want the developer to know exactly what is being paid and what they will receive. We want every buyer to trust that their donation is going to make a difference.” — Cool Effect VP of Marketing and Partnerships, Jodi Manning

Every Project We Represent Is Triple-Verified:

Before being represented by Cool Effect, every carbon emission-reducing project has been certified by one of the major international carbon credit standards, subsequently reviewed by a third-party auditor prior to credit issuance; and then reviewed again by Cool Effect.

  • Here’s a simple checklist our team utilizes in that final review:
  • Has the project been issued credits by a major carbon standard
  • Is this project additional?
  • Is the science of the project verifiable?
  • Are the project’s financials in order?
  • Is the project being run by competent, experienced management?
  • Have we visited the project site (when possible)?

Through this verification process, donors and purchasers are ensured that the projects we support are scientifically and ethically sound and financially durable. We always follow up with evaluations of the project implementation to confirm that every project we represent is doing what it claims.

Even as the world’s economies face unprecedented challenges in the face of COVID-19, we’ve still experienced a significant increase of inquiries from businesses searching for carbon programs and high-quality carbon offsets.

In their June 2020 Equity Research report, Goldman Sachs noted that corporate use of offsets is likely going to accelerate in the near future, as the tangible impacts of climate change are becoming more and more apparent. “…we see significant potential momentum for offset usage as companies focus more intensively on climate strategy and reputational risk,” but a key component of that momentum is based on whether or not the carbon market can build the trust necessary to inspire corporate decision-makers to take action on climate with us.

Cool Effect was founded to provide buyers access to carbon offsets from transparently run, high-quality, trusted projects, and we encourage individuals and businesses to expect those high standards when considering their commitments to sustainability.

We’ve made our pledge to Carbon Done Correctly — now it’s your turn to take action.