For Shopify business owners, carbon offsetting has never been easier. Thanks to the array of one-click installation offsetting apps available on the platform.
These apps help store owners understand their businesses’ emissions, and provide an opportunity to do reduce them.
In this article, we’ll point you in the direction of the best apps available in the Shopify marketplace, so that you can effortlessly improve your business’s environmental impact whilst knowing that your donations are making a real impact, helping the right initiatives.
How do ecommerce carbon offsetting apps work
Ecommerce carbon offsetting apps are a simple idea.
Your Shopify business creates harmful emissions. Delivery vans burn fuel. Factories producing your products emit greenhouse gases. And, shipping products from factories to your storage facility also requires fossil fuels.
On top of these, less obvious aspects of your business also create greenhouse gas emissions. Electricity is needed to send marketing emails, generated by burning coal. Any customer order return also needs a delivery van, burning more fuel. And if your product ends up in landfill, it may release methane as it decomposes.
Carbon offsetting apps connect you with projects around the world that are working to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Some apps calculate carbon emissions from product embodied energy, shipping, or a combination of both, and based on this donate to offsetting schemes.
Others skip the whole emissions calculation step and simply donate a portion of revenue or a fixed price per tree.
Depending on the app, the donation can be made by either the business or customers. If it’s the latter, then come checkout customers are given the option to add an extra amount (usually less than £1) to their order, which is then donated.
The offsetting scheme(s) can be anything from renewable energy projects to forest conservation, but more often than not are tree-planting initiatives with the aim of reforestation.
Effective Shopify Carbon Offsetting Apps
Over its lifetime, a single cotton t-shirt has a carbon footprint of 2.34kg/Co2e! This stresses the importance of making sure that your donations fund projects creating real impacts — not any old ‘planet saving’ scheme.
Offsetting apps are only as good as the schemes to which they donate, and the effectiveness of a scheme can depend on several factors such as:
- Type of scheme (renewable energy, tree planting, forest conservation/protection etc)
- Scheme location
- Type of trees being planted (carbon dioxide sequestration varies between species)
- Who plants the trees?
- Does the scheme create additional emissions offsetting, or simply increase funding for the same level of offsetting?
- How much commission does the app take?
The apps which we’ve selected score well across the above criteria, and for that reason we recommend choosing one of them to offset your Shopify business’s emissions.
|Cost (per offset or per kg emissions)
|Type of emissions
|Creates additional offsetting
|Business or customer donations
|Depends on customer order value
|Product embodied energy & shipping
|Climate Friendly Cart - CarbonClick
|£2 per offset
*As per site information although unclear
|more:trees - THG
|£1 per tree - 300kg CO2e / 25 years
|£0.75 per offset
|£2.97 / 453kg emissions
*option for business to match donation
|Depends on donation option
|Depends on customer order value
Gold Standard verified schemes
The Gold Standard is an independent carbon offsetting certification body. They lay out a set of regulations and principles for carbon offsetting schemes to abide by and ensure that credits are verifiable.
Schemes are held to strict additionality policies and to ensure that local communities benefit from their operation.
The Gold Standard is the cream of the carbon offsetting crop. With a catalogue of projects worldwide, there’s no reason to look further.
Ecologi makes the list thanks to its ease of use to business owners and the number of high-quality schemes with which it’s affiliated with.
Some of these schemes include a wind project in India creating a 200,000 tonne/CO2e per year reduction in emissions, and Amazon rainforest protection and restoration in Brazil.
Businesses pay donations, and have three easy options to choose from:
- Plant trees based on the number of products sold
- Plant trees based on the number of complete orders
- Plant a tree for every certain amount of revenue generated
Ecologi currently plants around 1500 trees a year, and to date has helped remove over 108 tonnes/CO2e from the atmosphere.
A straightforward emissions offsetting platform, we highly recommend them.
CarbonCroc calculates order emissions using data from the The United States Environmental Protection Agency and the French Agence de la Transition Energetique. Calculations are accurate and can even tell you the emissions created from a cup of coffee!
Adding to this, they also summarise to which of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals each project contributes.
The price of offsetting varies by order, but a highly transparent platform, CarbonCroc is a good choice to offset Shopify emissions!
Carbon Click takes a multi-scheme approach with donations split between both local reforestation and international clean energy projects.
Reforestation projects can be found in the USA, Australia and New Zealand, and energy initiatives in other far east territories, like this solar energy water heating project responsible for an offset of 3,337,495kg of CO2e in India, and this biogas programme in China.
With offsets priced at £2, Climate Friendly Cart is a little more costly, but as a carbon conscientious offsetter, we recommend using their interactive map to discover more about the schemes which you’d be helping.
Seesiu takes donations from customers, which means that the option to opt-out might make this app less effective than those which take donations from the business.
However, the schemes to which the app donates are high impact. One of these is the Negros Island Solar Project in the Phillipines, which supplies 200,000 homes with clean energy!
More inquisitive donors will want to see the Seesiu website bolstered with more information, however, we think that their schemes make them a worthwhile offsetting app.
Although, offsets cost £0.75 of which the app guarantees at least 60 percent is donated, which is lower than other apps, some of which guarantee a minimum of 80 percent.
A good backup choice, consider Seesiu for your Shopify business if the other apps that we’ve mentioned don’t meet your needs.
Carbon Checkout vies for the top spot in our list. The CEO’s background entails carbon policy and renewable energy project consultancy, as well as founding other environmental-related startups.
These guys understand that the climate crisis needs immediate action and in their own words, ‘aren’t waiting for governments to negotiate our futures’.
The majority of donations fund wind farm projects, such as the Oaxaca Wind Power Complex in Mexico, which creates enough power for 700,000 homes and avoids emissions of 670,000 tonnes of CO2e each year!
The company aims to diversify into solar projects worldwide, and has ensured that all of their projects are certified by either:
- Gold Standard
- Climate Action Reserve (CAR)
- Verified Carbon Standard (VCS)
- Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)
With offsetting priced at £2.97 per 453kg of emissions, they also claim to be the cheapest on the market.
A highly credible offsetting app developer, Carbon Checkout should be your first port of call when considering with whom to offset your Shopify emissions.
An international offset donor, Cloverly is affiliated with a plethora of projects throughout the USA and Europe and offsets emissions using standard, as well as renewable energy credits (RECs).
Projects span renewable energy generation, tree planting, forest conservation, as well as energy efficiency. Notable projects include:
The developer’s website gives users solid insight into their projects and will leave you feeling well informed about their efforts along with carbon offsetting in general.
Cloverly have some great unique selling points too:
- Transparent breakdown of offset cost
- Attempt to match donations with most relevant and local projects
The price of an offset donation varies and is calculated using customer purchase and shipping location data, but the total usually comes to less than £1.
You can use their demo website to see the app in action and help decide whether it’s the right offsetting app for your Shopify business.
Non Gold Standard verified schemes
Although we highly rate Gold Standard certification, carbon offsetting apps donating to effective schemes which are working towards this level of certification can also be considered.
The detail is in the name, and more:trees offset carbon emissions by planting mangroves around the world. Mangroves are known to be effective carbon sequesters, and your offset will contribute an average removal of 300kg atmospheric CO2e over a tree’s 25 year life.
A straightforward model, offset credits cost £1, and each credit plants one tree. more:trees have set out to ensure that their schemes also benefit local communities by partnering with projects in impoverished nations such as Haiti, Madagascar and Kenya.
At the moment projects to which donations are made aren’t Gold Standard certified, but the platform aims to achieve project-wide third-party certification in the near future.
However, trees planted through a more:trees subscription model are done so via Gold Standard certified schemes.
The most credible of the least certified Shopify offsetting apps which we reviewed, we still recommend contacting them for more project details before installing.
The best way to ensure that app developers and their affiliated schemes have legitimate carbon concerns and that their product contributes to additional emissions offsetting is to do a little bit of digging.
Start at the app developer’s own website — we’ve linked to them in this article.
Snoop around for information about the schemes which receive donations, as well as the company. Do the app developers themselves run offices using renewable energy? What in-office recycling policies are there? Do they even have an environmental policy? How trustworthy can they be if they themselves aren’t committed to the cause?
Apps donating to genuine, accredited offsetting schemes won’t be afraid to show it. Furthermore, many offsetting schemes don’t have a dedicated website, so the more information provided the better!
If a developer’s website doesn’t bare all, don’t hesitate to contact them. If after this you’re still in doubt, choose another app!
More than emissions
Carbon offsetting should be only one of several measures taken by businesses to deal with greenhouse gas emissions.
But for Shopify business owners, using a transparent and accredited emissions offsetting app which also communicates well with donors, is much better than having no environmental policy at all.
And in the time of sustainably aware consumers, showing your Shopify customers that you donate to genuine carbon offsetting schemes is a great starting point to improving your business’s environmental image.
Begin offsetting Shopify emissions today by installing one of the apps mentioned in this article!
Learn more about reducing carbon emissions in all areas of your business by checking out our other advice-packed articles for SMEs.