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Tree donations and carbon offsetting: the differences

22 May 2023

The general public sometimes regards planting trees as synonymous with carbon offsetting. However, these are two different things. What is the difference between our tree donation projects and our carbon offset projects?

Two types of projects

Trees for All donors can support various projects with us. We distinguish between tree donation projects and carbon offset projects. The trees we plant in both types of project sequester carbon. But the difference is that you can officially call it carbon offsetting only when a project meets the requirements of a certification standard


Bij Trees for All werken we daarvoor met Plan Vivo. For this certification, Trees for All works with Plan Vivo. This internationally renowned standard guarantees that the amount of carbon emitted by a donor is actually sequestered by trees. A project that is certified can offer carbon credits. One credit is equivalent to one ton of sequestered carbon. So a credit is proof of carbon offsetting. Of the many projects we support, only two – in Mexico and Bolivia – are intended for carbon offsetting.

Projectbezoek Bolivia

In Bolivia, we support local farmers in switching to sustainable agriculture. They plant native trees on their land, in combination with crops such as coffee and cocoa.

No profit motive

It is important to know that Trees for All works on a non-profit basis. So unlike many other commercial carbon credit providers, we have no profit motive. We think it is important that the local population participates in our projects and that a large part of the carbon income is intended for them. Plan Vivo takes care of this. Plan Vivo also checks on other matters, like land rights, sustainable land use and biodiversity

“For us, planting trees is not just about carbon offsetting, but also about improving biodiversity and living conditions.”

Broad impact

By no means every project is suitable for carbon offsetting. Some types of project, for example, sequester more carbon than others. And by no means can every project be certified, as it may be too small-scale in relation to the costs involved. Furthermore, some countries do not permit the sale of carbon credits.

At Trees for All, making impact is our top priority. We therefore deliberately choose to support both tree donation projects and carbon offset projects. Because we think that planting trees is not just about carbon sequestration, but also about increasing biodiversity and creating healthy living conditions. And that is what all of our projects do.

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