some frequently asked questions


  1. What difference do my actions make?

  2. How many emails will you send me?

  3. Do you save my contact details?

  4. Why is the sponsorship period two months?

  5. Can I eat fish when doing Veg Out?

  6. Why just CO2?

  7. How do you calculate the carbon savings?

  8. How do you know if I really do my DoAction?

  9. What happens if I don’t fulfil my pledge?

  10. ROCs (renewable obligation certificates)  - what are they?

  11. The challenge I’m looking for doesn’t appear in the search, where is it?

  12. Can I make up my own DoAction?

  13. Is climate change really happening?

  14. Is climate change really caused by us?


What difference do my actions make anyway?

Alone, very little. Especially on a global scale.

But they make a very real difference towards your friend’s sponsorship target, combining with all their other friend’s efforts to make a meaningful impact. And if you then combine all the doers of The DoNation together, as the nation grows and grows, the difference could be pretty staggering.

42% of the UK’s carbon emissions are a result of individual’s actions, at home and in travel. Not companies and not the government. That means that our actions, collectively, influence almost half of the nations carbon. So together we could make a pretty big difference…

How many emails will you send me?

Not too many. We’ll send the bare minimum needed to make sure the process runs smoothly and that sponsors don’t forget what they’d pledged to do, as well as a prompt for them to return and let us and their friends know how they got on at the end of the two months.

We will also send monthly newsletters to members of our mailing list - you can subscribe or unsubscribe from that here.

See our privacy policy for more info.

Do you save my contact details?

Yes, but we keep them nice and safe, naturally. And we don’t share them with any third parties. Check out our privacy policy.

Why is the sponsorship period two months?

We can’t ask people to change their ways forever – that would be far too daunting a prospect. When asking friends to sponsor you you’re just asking them to try out the DoAction for a short stint.

Two months is a nice amount of time – it’s short enough not to be too overwhelming or intimidating, but it’s long enough for people to get a true taste of the DoAction, and perhaps form some nice new habits. Which is obviously our ultimate goal.

It’s also just about long enough to have a reasonable impact on its own.

Can I eat fish when doing Veg Out?

Now this is a tricky one. In one sense, this is all about cutting carbon emissions, because they’re the most measurable and ubiquitous cause of our problems. And fish consumption doesn’t have much of a carbon footprint, so it should be ok to eat fish.

But (there’s always a but!), the fish industry is one of the biggest environmental nightmares at present, clearing our oceans of all their natural stocks. So what we say is this:

It’s fine to eat fish in moderation, so long as it’s sustainably sourced.

Look out for the MSC logo (Marine Stewardship Council), or for more info take a look at the Good Fish Guide.

Why just CO2?

CO2 is the currency of The DoNation, not the soul.

We believe in a lot more than just carbon, and are strong advocates of a more holistic view of sustainability. Hopefully that’s made clear through the site.

But as yet there’s no broad measurement that encompasses the impacts of carbon, biodiversity, water, health, social wellbeing and resource depletion. If only I could invent one, I’d be a Nobel laureate.

For now, Kg CO2 will have to do.

How do you calculate the carbon savings?

With the help of ERM. For each DoAction there are a few short questions that allow us to calculate the difference between the carbon used by the existing and pledged behaviours. Clearly there are a few (very sound) assumptions involved, and the numbers are more indicative of scale of impact than anything else.

It’s not designed to give you a robust and all-encompassing carbon footprint report, just an indication of the impact each DoAction could have.  We used national averages where appropriate and made a few other reasonable assumptions to help make the sponsoring process as straightforward as possible. Some of these are:

• People do the DoActions over the full two months.
• When single sponsorship actions have a long-term impact, their savings are calculated for the most appropriate period (e.g. three years’ worth of savings from Soak in the sun, Sun power, and Clean your bills are counted).
• An emission factor of 0.544Kg CO2 per kWh of grid electricity (Defra conversion factors 2009) was used.
• A fuel price conversion factor of 0.13 £/kWh of electricity (Act on CO2 July 2009) was used.
• The average household has 2.34 occupants.

How do you know if I really do my DoAction?

We don’t, but your friends probably will. And you’re making your commitment to them, not to us. They know you and your ways, and will probably have a good idea if you’re being honest about your actions.

A bit of gentle peer pressure goes a long way…

What happens if I don’t fulfil my pledge?

You tell us. After two months you’ll be asked to return to the site to confirm how you got on; at that stage you can simply say that you weren’t able to complete it.  If that’s the case, your carbon savings won’t be donated to your friend.  Lots of people don’t complete the actions, a lot of them are easier said than done, so there’s no need to feel bad about it. We’d just love to hear what got in the way and made it tough.

ROCs (renewable obligation certificates)  - what are they?

Electricity generators are given Renewable Obligation Certificates for electricity they produce from renewable sources.

The UK government has set an obligation for all electricity suppliers to produce a set proportion of their electricity from these renewable sources; the exact proportion increases year on year – from 3% in 2002/03 to 11.1% in 2010/2011. This obligation is met by electricity producers when they present their Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs).

ROCs can be traded separately from electricity, and so if a producer falls short on renewables production they can buy additional ROCs from other suppliers who have produced excess.

The economics of it get complicated, but in short this means that some of the ‘greenness’ of a green producer is sold off to other producers, and so by simply switching to a green energy supplier you don’t suddenly become carbon neutral. It’s still a great thing to do nonetheless.

If you want to find out a bit more, head over to ofgem’s website.

The challenge I’m looking for doesn’t appear in the search, where is it?

First of all check that you’ve spelt the name of the challenge or person doing the challenge right. Keep your key words simple; you don’t need to match the entire challenge title.

The search list is updated each evening, so if the challenge was only created today you will have to use the direct URL to find the page, or wait until tomorrow. Sorry, it’s just one of those things…

Can I make up my own DoAction?

No, I’m afraid not. It makes consistent carbon calculations very difficult you see. But if there’s something that you think should be up there then let us know in this nifty little feedback form and we’ll take a look.

Is climate change really happening?

With 96% of climatologists believing that mean global temperatures are rising, I think we can safely say that there is a scientific consensus on the matter.

And we’re beginning to see it with our own eyes – we can’t escape the photos of melting ice caps, catastrophic floods, bush fires, droughts, and hurricanes.  They’re happening more and more often, and nearer and nearer to home.

Is climate change really caused by us?

Our first answer to this is that contrary to popular belief, the scientists rarely dispute the answer it: 97% of climatologists believe that human activity is a significant contributing factor to climate change. Sure, it might not be the only factor, but it’s the one that we can control. My second answer involves a touch of high school science and a dose of intuition:

Over the past 300,000,000 years plants have been using the suns energy to trap carbon from the atmosphere and turn it into plant tissue. In turn, these plants die, rot, and gradually (over millennia of geological processing) this carbon is locked tightly away as fossil fuels deep under the Earth’s surface.

In the course of a single generation we are likely to have exploited and burnt almost the entirety of these fossil fuel reserves. 300,000,000 years of natural investment, squandered in a mere 100 years. Surely that’s got to have an impact on nature’s finely balanced systems? So let’s ask that question again: are humans causing climate change? Intuition tells me there’s a pretty good chance we are…

This isn’t the place to go into it – but you can read more on the debate through the Energy Saving Trust or Skeptical Science.