See all publications

One month of Compensate: Sweat, tears and carbon dioxide

Compensate launched a month ago on Friday the 24th of April. The air in the main hall was thick with carbon dioxide and aspiration as almost 700 people were immersed into the world of Compensate at the University of Helsinki. After that day the weeks have flown by and trees have begun to green, but what exactly has happened after the launch?


About our numbers in May

We constantly aim to full transparency, because we believe people deserve it. Figuring out key figures in compensation projects is detailed work. 

In this blog post in May of 2019, we inaccurately said that the amount of absorbed carbon tons was 12 137 tons of CO2. Calculating the number again we have learned the actual accurate amount is 11 625 CO2 tons. This is the figure we reach through our five-time overcompensation model, ie. 2 325 times 5. 

This mistake happened because of a simple human error. Still we wanted to report it openly. We promise such mistakes will not happen again. 

If you have any questions about our key figures or the way we report them, you can always reach us via email at

I started at Compensate two weeks before our launch ceremony. The first month has been both extremely hectic and inspiring! I’ve been lucky to catch the dream job of every millennial: a job that can make a difference in the world. We are here to tackle climate change by reducing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, one carbon ton after the other.

“I never imagined carbon compensating to be this easy.” This is a message that echoed throughout social media that day – a message written by people, who had calculated their own carbon footprint on the Compensate website.

As a climate activist and a climate anxious person myself as well, I found the concept of Compensate inspiring. We finally had a way of turning our climate anxiety into concrete actions. Together we can show that it’s positive to be carbon negative.

Compensate is a mix of visionary world-saving ideas, determined, strategic brand building and an enthusiastic start up spirit. To me – the youngest member of the team – the mundane work at our office looked like a fascinating ants’ nest. What should I do today? Jump into the world of 3D modelling? Answer a hundred emails? Maybe contact young climate activists? All of this and more is a part of our everyday work at Compensate.

Our mindset change drives the change in consumption

When people are given the right tools, they start to act.

During the first 4 weeks of Compensate 2749 people have joined the monthly compensation payment program.

We’ve bought carbon credits worth 46 500 euros.

This secures the planting of an estimated 174 375 trees and the conservation of an area equivalent to 70 football fields. The amount of absorbed carbon tons is 11 625 tons of CO2. *

Compensate has also created a community wanting to help with the creation of a new carbon negative way of thinking and acting. It has been fantastic to see how our message has been received and amplified by the public”, says Antero Vartia, the founder of the Compensate foundation.

And truly, people have told our story as if it was their own. Perhaps our way of telling it has suited our time. We don’t condemn, but rather present solutions and possibilities. Our brand leader Minna once said after a group meeting on a Thursday afternoon:

The fact that our message has been inspiring and understood shouldn’t really be taken for granted. I’m glad we used a relatively long period to think how we want to present our idea to the public. Climate change is a difficult, abstract concept, which at least for the time being is not a concrete part of our everyday lives here in the Western World or Finland. We want to emphasize that normal people and their way of consumption habits affects and helps with tackling climate change.

In addition to individuals, companies have also shown great interest in our project after the launch. So far more than a hundred companies have been in contact with Compensate to discuss the possibility for co-operation.

Many Finnish companies are pioneers when it comes to climate thinking and responsibility. Yet bringing the possibility to compensate to be a part of the retail chains is a long process. It’s also vital, that the compensation payment is enough in every situation and the necessary calculations have been prepared carefully. Otherwise our work won’t be credible and transparent. For the time being we are holding some extremely good and constructive discussions,” says Severi, head of partnerships.

What will happen next?

An academic at the University of Helsinki, Markku Kulmala, is gathering a group of climate specialists that will be responsible for approving future carbon sequestration projects. The support of the scientific community is one of our founding values.

Planting and preserving forests is for the time being the most effective way for establishing carbon sinks and reducing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. Together with the scientific community, we are also continually looking for new effective and trustworthy means and ways of acting – what sounds like science fiction today might well be common very soon.

We are building a system where the emissions caused by consumption can be compensated easily with a payment at the time of the purchase. Multiple companies have started to negotiate with us about implementing compensation payments as a part of their customers’ journey. These negotiations will soon be successfully closed.

All of this is just the beginning. We are excited to see what else we’ll be able to achieve together with our partner companies and people.