Organisational form as a gGmbH (non-profit limited liability company)

To whom does atmosfair belong?

atmosfair is a non-profit limited liability company (gGmbH) that was founded in 2004 as part of a research project of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment. atmosfair was initiated in 2003 as a community initiative of the environmental organisation Germanwatch  and forumandersreisen. Since atmosfair was founded, the managing director has been physicist and environmental economist Dr. Dietrich Brockhagen. The sole shareholder since 2006 is the environmentally and development-oriented Stiftung Zukunftsfähigkeit. In addition, atmosfair is supported by an advisory board of experts with representatives from the German Federal Ministry for the Environment and two environmental organisations.


How is atmosfair financed?

atmosfair finances itself almost exclusively through donations, of which we use at most up to 10% for our administration, public relations work, and customer service. Our profits from the development and successful sale of our CO2 accounting software in the travel industry help us in this. The organisation does not receive either public aid or payments from its proprietor Stiftung Zukunftsfähigkeit. Thus, atmosfair is entirely financially independent.

What is a gGmbH?

atmosfair is a "gemeinnützige Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung," which means a non-profit limited liability company. The difference between a gGmbH and a GmbH lies in the gGmbH's orientation towards the public interest. Profits are not pursued within the gGmbH organisational form. The so-called profit entirely benefits matters of public interest, which in our case is climate protection. The purpose of atmosfair is altruistic, direct, and exclusive. In addition, a gGmbH is tax-privileged.

How high are the administrative costs?

In the years since our founding, we have been continually able to keep our administrative costs low. In the years 2005-2013, these remained under 10% of revenues on average.

With this, we surpass the German Charity Commission's (Deutsches Spendensiegel) guideline for the allocation of funds. Since atmosfair was founded, over 90 euros of a 100-euro donation were spent directly on the projects!

Who monitors atmosfair?

atmosfair is based on high standards that were developed in consultation with scientists and environmental organisations. An advisory board of renowned representatives from the world of science, environmental organisations, and the Federal Ministry for the Environment monitors its adherence to these standards. As a GmbH, atmosfair is subject to the German GmbH law. According to this, an annual income statement (Gewinn- und Verlustrechnung, GuV) as well as a balance sheet must be submitted to the Commercial Register. Each year, the tax office examines the public utility of the company.

Independent and liable auditors accredited by the UN audit the climate protection projects both before and during project operations. You can see and download the official audit reports at any time.

What distinguishes atmosfair from similar providers?

atmosfair has an excellent reputation. atmosfair's positive image and uniqueness is based on the following features:

  • Creation of atmosfair from a research project of the Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU)
  • Prominent patrons from the fields of politics and science (for example, the former Minister of the former Federal Minister for the Environment Klaus Töpfer and the physicist Hartmut Graßl)
  • An emissions calculator that captures the complete climate impact of flights including the indirect effects like cirrus clouds according to the latest scientific knowledge (certified by the Federal Ministry for the Environment)
  • Exclusively CDM Gold Standard projects
  • Low administrative costs of 8-10% of donations
  • Many-time test winner  in independent studies

Independent tests of various relevant institutions have shown that atmosfair can stand up to the competition in three areas: the scientific foundation of the atmosfair emissions calculator, the high project standards, and the use of allocation of funds are testaments to the respectability of the organisation.

atmosfair focuses exclusively on projects that can contractually ensure the amount of climate gases to be saved. For this reason, atmosfair can let its projects be monitored by the UN-accredited inspectors responsible. All atmosfair projects fulfil the strict criteria of the CDM as well as of the Gold Standard. Besides contributing to climate protection, they also contribute to the sustainable improvement of the local environmental and living conditions in the project region.

An unusually high percentage of 8-10 % of the donation payments are used directly in the projects.