Archive for the ‘Updates’ Category

New Pricing & Projects – Effective February 1st, 2020 (Jan 1st, 2020 for Benevity donors)

October 16th, 2019

Important news!  This page is still being updated, please check back in the coming weeks for additional information…

Updated Pricing

  • Effective February 1st 2020, pricing will be US$15.00 per tonne, with projects receiving US$13.50 per tonne.  COTAP’s margin will be 10% instead of 9.09%.
  • For online donations and checks received on or before January 31st, 2020 – existing pricing, margins, monthly/€/£ options, and project allocations will remain in effect until then. If, after January 31st, out-of-date portions of our website result in funds received at our old pricing, your acknowledgement will reflect the new pricing.  If that is not acceptable to you, email us at donate at cotap dot org and your donation will be refunded.
  • This new pricing is effective for funds received by COTAP on or after February 1st.  For indirect channels where COTAP receives donations from an intermediary in the month following the month in which the donation was actually made, this price change is effective January 1, 2020.  For Benevity, our largest indirect channel, COTAP receives donations 3 weeks after the end of the month during which donations are made.  This means that COTAP’s updated pricing will be applied to donations made via Benevity beginning December 1st.
  • For recurring monthly plans, existing plans will be discontinued and monthly Cotappers will need to sign up for the new plan after February 1st.
  • There will be minimum offsetting levels (which are to be determined) for both one-time and monthly donations.
  • Updated pricing in € and £ is to be determined.  As before, €/£ pricing is subject to change and is more “padded” in terms of margins to allow for fluctuations in currency exchange rates.  Projects will still receive US$13.50 per tonne.

Updated Project Portfolio

  • We’re in the process of adding at least 3 projects effective February 1st, at which time offsetting to “all projects” will be evenly allocated across the updated project portfolio, even if the new projects’ profile pages are still under construction at that time.
  • Similar to pricing, this new portfolio allocation applies to funds received by COTAP on or after February 1st, and thus applies to donations made through intermediary channels (primarily Benevity) beginning January 1st.
  • All new projects will be registered under the Plan Vivo Carbon Standard, which requires that project organizers share at least 60% of carbon revenues with local communities.
  • These projects will also have their own donation pages for Cotappers who wish to support a specific project.

What’s NOT Changing

  • COTAP is still 100% tax-deductible for U.S. residents.
  • Cotappers are still creating the world’s highest percentage of community income per dollar.  Specifically, that’s 54%+.  This is the $13.50 projects will receive from COTAP multiplied by Plan Vivo’s 60%+ carbon revenue sharing requirement, divided by COTAP’s overall price of $15.00.  $13.50 x 60% = $8.10.  $8.10/$15.00 = 54%.
  • 100% of employer matching funds still goes towards COTAP’s operations and expansion.
  • COTAP’s margin still covers PayPal and Stripe processing fees.
  • Donations which are 1) anonymous and 2) have no explicit offsetting designation also go towards COTAP’s operations and expansion.

Rationale for Updated Pricing, and Other Thoughts…

  • It’s about time!  We haven’t touched our overall pricing, also referred to as our donation rate per tonne, since we launched in 2011.  To put this in perspective, if we had increased prices by a modest 5.33% each year, $9.90 per tonne would now be $15.00 per tonne.  Finance nerds out there refer to this 5.33% as the compound annual growth rate or “CAGR.”
  • Many projects which we support also have other buyers, and they are frequently able to command US$13.50 per tonne, or higher.  Projects have finite supply and they choose whom they do business with, and when… and so COTAP needs to increase its pricing in order to be a competitive source of funding.
  • Even after the increase, COTAP still has “middle of the road” pricing.  We’ve never sought to be the cheapest option out there, nor the most expensive.  Our goal is income creation for the poor through substantial and direct sharing of carbon revenues.  We continue to strive to be the best option worldwide for those who are interested in maximizing poverty alleviation per tonne and/or poverty alleviation per dollar.
  • Yes, Cotappers will technically be offsetting fewer tonnes for the same dollar amount… but they’ll also be creating more income and alleviating more poverty for every tonne that they offset!
  • Demand for offsets in general is going up!

Trees for Global Benefits 2018 Year in Review

January 18th, 2019

Part 3 of Our Interview with Pauline Nantongo Kalunda

Kicking off our 2018 Trees for Global Benefits (TGB) highlights is the final installment of our 3-part discussion about the project, one of about 20 video interviews we conducted during our visit in March (more on that below). It begins with a discussion about “additionality,” or how the project wouldn’t be occurring as a result of government policy or without sales of its certified carbon credits. You’ll also learn about Uganda’s Constitution Amendment Bill of 2017, how the project helps participants obtain formal recognition of their land rights (a topic often referred to as “land tenure”), and how TGB facilitates participation by individuals with extremely small landholdings. We also cover the Community Carbon Fund (CCF), TGB’s large waitlist of future beneficiary farmers, and how Ecotrust manages supply and demand.



Celebrating 15 Years of TGB

Started in 2003 with 33 farmers in the Rubirizi and Mitooma districts, TGB has now expanded to over 12 districts and nearly 7,000 farmer participants, making it the largest agroforestry carbon scheme in the world! To celebrate, Ecotrust published this cool and informative ‘story map’ which charts TGB’s growth (click image to open):


2018 also marked 10 years of TGB support from Max Burgers, a climate-conscious Swedish hamburger chain which, among other things, lists each food item’s CO2 emissions on its menus. Ecotrust marked this milestone with another story map focusing on environmental and social impacts created by Max’s support.

Jane Goodall Recognizes Ecotrust as part of HWC Resilience Fund

At the Jane Goodall Institute Uganda (JGI) Annual Event in June, Ecotrust was among several implementing partners  recognized by Jane Goodall herself for their role in the implementation of the Human Wildlife Conflict (HWC) Resilience Fund. JGI, Ecotrust, and Chimp Trust are implementing an 18-month conservation project which aims to enhance community resilience to losses from wildlife incursions in the in the Albertine Rift, which ranks first out of the 119 distinct terrestrial eco-regions of continental Africa in terms of endemic animal species. The project aims to enhance wildlife protection by mitigating negative HWC livelihood impacts for communities living in and around the vital wildlife migratory corridors which connect forest reserves protected under the jurisdiction of the National Forestry Authority (NFA).

Multiple Appearances on NTV Uganda

In 2018, Ecotrust had two high-profile appearances on NTV Uganda which can be viewed below. The first is a general feature of TGB as part of the NTVGREEN series, and the second is Pauline discussing the conservation of Uganda’s big cats with WWF country director David Duli and Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, Minister of Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities.

Additional Ecotrust/TGB Updates

Here’s a roundup of selected items straight from Ecotrust’s news page:

  • In Q1, the project announced grants of UGX 15 million (about US$ 4,042) to four community groups. One grantee, the Mubuku Integrated Farmers Association (MIFA), received solar lamps worth UGX 4,053,000 for their project “Kick Kerosene lamps out of Mubuku landscape,” an initiative for empowering MIFA members by simultaneously improving health and literacy.
  • In March, the project endured a weeklong visit by COTAP! We spent 7 days learning about farmers’s TGB experiences by talking to about 16 participants in the Kasese and Rubirizi districts. In addition, we spoke with Ecotrust ED Pauline Nantongo Kalunda in Kampala, field staff like Winnie Namwirya, and Richard Akora, owner of a nursery which supplies seedlings to TGB farmers.
  • Ecotrust participated in conservation events across the country, inncluding a World Wildlife Day festival in Kasese, Water and Environment Week in Entebbe, and World Wetlands Day in Arua district, as well as various government policy/planning/training workshops and meetings which are too numerous to list!

Get Future Updates Directly from Ecotrust

You can get caught up on Ecotrust’s news through their website’s archive here and sign up here to get future TGB updates directly and as soon as they’re announced.



When you donate to TGB, you’re not only offsetting your unavoidable CO2 emissions, you’re also restoring landscapes and supporting farmers like Beatrice Tubamwenda, pictured below. She is earning a total of $610.40 for planting and maintaining 400 trees which are capturing and sequestering 203.4 tonnes of CO2!

Spotlight on Nicaragua

November 27th, 2018

Update on Political Unrest

In April, hundreds of thousands of Nicaraguans took to the streets to protest the policies of president Daniel Ortega and demand that he step down. Our partner Taking Root issued an initial update on this situation in April, and then another in June.  These updates explained how CommuniTree’s operations have been largely unaffected and emphasized how community reforestation – a long term bet on livelihoods, the planet, and the future – is now more important than ever.  Although things have settled down somewhat since June, these political issues remain unresolved and so tensions and anxiety remain.



Improving outcomes by analyzing data from Outer Space

In October, the project announced that it partnered with Belgian data scientist Pello Múgica Gonzalez (pictured) to analyze satellite reforestation data combined with data collected on-the-ground through the project’s pioneering Farm Trace system.  Gonzalez’ work will help CommuniTree optimize its data-driven and cost-effective approach to ensuring tree survival in the remote regions where the project operates, including the creation of predictive algorithms which identify problems and recommend fixes… before the problems even arise! To learn more about CommuniTree’s application of technology to smallholder reforestation, go here.

Presenting Taking Root’s Model to the United Nations

Dr. Kahlil Baker and Elvin Castellon, Taking Root’s Canadian and Nicaraguan directors, presented CommuniTree’s smallholder reforestation model to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome, Italy. FAO invited Taking Root to present how the project generates millions of dollars of farmer income and utilizes a sophisticated and data-driven approach to manage its activities.

Additional Updates

  • Photo albums of this year’s planting season can be found here for Q3, here for Q2, and here for Q1. In case you missed them, all photos from 2017 are here.
  • This month, Taking Root’s co-founders were presented with the Meritorious Service Cross from Julie Payette, the Governor General of Canada. They were recognized alongside 36 other Canadians – including community volunteers to scientists, actors, members of the military, scholars, and everyday citizens – as individuals who have performed exceptional accomplishments which set an example for others to follow while bringing honor to Canada as a whole.
  • The project has partnered with Peter Schleifenbaumn, founder of one of Canada’s largest and most sustainably-managed private forests. Peter is supporting Taking Root’s model through a new form of conservation finance, where funds invested into the launch of the project’s woodcrafts business will be re-invested into sustainable forest management and expansion.  Check out the project’s woodcrafts for sale here.

Get Future Updates Directly from Taking Root

You can sign up here to get updates about CommuniTree, Nicaragua directly and as soon as they’re announced by our partner Taking Root.



When you donate to CommuniTree, you’re not only offsetting your unavoidable CO2 emissions, you’re also restoring landscapes and supporting farmers like Doroteo Benavidez Cruz and Elba Catalina, pictured below. They’ve earned $1,798.04 for planting and maintaining 3,355 trees which are capturing and sequestering 744 tonnes of CO2!

COTAP featured on OZY

April 20th, 2018

OZY media covers COTAP April 2018

An OZY piece titled “Americans on Climate Change: All Talk, Little Action” includes a candid interview with COTAP founder Tim Whitley about some of the challenges individuals face when seeking to reduce their carbon emissions. The article also includes highlights from an OZY & SurveyMonkey poll of nearly 4,000 American adults about their climate actions.

COTAP and Expedia covered by GreenBiz & Sustainable Brands

August 15th, 2017

GreenBiz and Sustainable Brands cover COTAP's partnership with Expedia

On August 2, COTAP issued a press release about working with Expedia, which became the first Fortune 500 company to choose carbon offsets which directly share 60% of revenues with people who live on less than $2/day.  The news was covered by both GreenBiz and Sustainable Brands, two of the longest-standing and most respected news organizations covering (you guessed it!) green and sustainable business.

Sustainable Brands’ August 3rd coverage was titled “Expedia Combating Poverty, Climate Change with Revenue-Sharing Carbon Offset Program.”

GreenBiz Editorial Director Heather Clancy interviewed COTAP founder Tim Whitley about how we can make carbon offsets go miles further. The 35 minute interview appeared in the GreenBiz 350 Podcast on August 11th. On Monday August 14th, we were the GreenBiz’ lead story titled “Why travel giant Expedia paid a premium for these carbon offsets.”