Frequently Asked Questions

Blue Hand

Making pledges

How do you know if I really do my Do Action?

After two months, we ask you if you completed your pledge or not. If you don't answer, we have to assume you didn't do it (brutal, but fair).

Of course, you could lie, we wouldn't know. But your colleagues, friends or family probably would, and you’re making your commitment to them, not to us.

They will probably have a good idea if you’re being honest about your actions.

A bit of gentle peer pressure goes a long way…

Can I edit my pledge once I've made it?

Unfortunately not. At the moment it's not possible to go back and edit your pledges - but it is something we are working on for the future!

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 added to your campaign's total.

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 love to hear what got in the way and made it tough though - it's super useful to know that stuff.

How long am I committing to try this action for?

Two months.

Why two months? We can’t ask you for a life-long commitment upfront - that would scare most sane people right off. Instead, we ask you to try yourchosen Do Action for two months.

Two months is a nice amount of time – it’s short enough not to be too intimidating, but it’s long enough for you to get a true taste of the Do Action, and hopefully to form long lasting habits. Which is obviously our ultimate goal.

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

How many emails will you send me?

Not too many. We’ll send a five in total: four to make sure the process runs smoothly and that you don’t forget what you’d pledged to do, and one at the end of the two months asking you to let us know how you got on.

This is part of the pledge service, so I'm afraid the only way to unsubscribe is for us to delete your pledge. Contact us if you'd like us to do that. See our privacy policy for more info.

We will also send fortnightly Do Action of the Fortnight emails to members of our mailing list - you can subscribe from that here.

What difference do my actions make anyway?

Alone, very little. But together, they really do add up to make a big difference. Cliche, but true.

Each pledge makes a very real contribution towards that campaign's target - you can see that on the campaign page itself.

Within organisations, each of their campaigns then combine to form an even more meaningful impact. And if you then combine all the doers of Do Nation together, as we grow and grow, the difference could become pretty staggering.

42% of the UK’s carbon emissions are a result of individual’s actions, at home and in travel. That means that our actions, collectively, influence almost half of the nations carbon. So together we could make a pretty big difference…

The Do Actions

The Do Actions

We want to make it as easy as possible for you to complete their pledge so we’ve done the research for you and, where appropriate, recommended some good, reliable and truly green products that can help you out.

For some referrals, we receive a small commission, which we feed back into developing and improving Do Nation.

We have developed a clear affiliate selection policy to enable us to maintain our values and promote the best products possible, that truly help to deliver on sustainable living. If you have any queries, concerns, or feedback on any of our affiliates, please drop us a line.

How did you choose the Do Actions?

Initially, we came up with a long list of possible Do Actions through literature research and a string of brainstorming sessions with a team of volunteers.

We wanted to build a selection that would appeal to a broad range of people, whether they own a palace or live in student digs; drive a Porsche or are welded to their bike; are up for a challenge or just want to make a quick one-off contribution.

We were also careful to make sure they really did have all-round environmental benefits, as well as helping boost people’s finances and health if possible.

Over time, we are adding to this list through requests and suggestions from users like you. We're even broadening out to include a wider range of sustainability impacts.

So please send us your suggestions!

Can I make up my own Do Action?

No, I’m afraid not. It makes consistent impact measurement very difficult, and it also makes it harder for you to see how many people are doing the same action as you. We always think it’s nice to see that, so you don’t feel so alone.

But if there’s something that you think should be up there then let us know and we’ll add it to our wishlist.

Why do you only measure CO2 impacts?

CO2 is the currency of Do Nation, not the soul.

We also measure waste and water metrics, although this impact data is only available to Pro subscribers.

We believe in a lot more than just carbon, water and waste though. We're strong advocates of a more holistic view of sustainability: health, wellbeing, community, biodiversity, pollution - all of it matters.

Hopefully that’s made clear through the site. And one day, we might even have metrics for these too...

How do you calculate the carbon savings?

With the help of ERM. For each Do Action there are a few short questions that allow us to calculate the difference between the carbon emissions created 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 Do Action could have. We used national averages where appropriate and made a few other reasonable assumptions to help make the pledging process as straightforward as possible. Some of these are:

  • People do the Do Actions over the full two months (this gets adjusted when they return to confirm how they got on, depending on how they did)
  • When single pledge 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 0.4836 CO2 per kWh of grid electricity (Defra conversion factors 2013) is used.
  • A fuel price conversion factor of 0.16 £/kWh of electricity (Act on CO2 July 2009) was used.
  • The average household has 2.34 occupants.

Some Do Actions have no obvious or calculable carbon saving, yet we have decided to include them anyway because they are worthwhile actions that have a strong positive impact elsewhere. Sustainability isn't only about climate change, after all.

However, our system was designed to block any pledges with 0 kgCO2 carbon savings, as we are all about encouraging new actions and additional impact. In order to overcome this, we have given actions that have a strong but non-carbon impact a negligible saving of 1 kg CO2. Sure, it's not ideal, but we think it's a pragmatic work around for now. One day, we'd like to have a full range of impact metrics to measure actions by. Watch this space...

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What browsers does Do Nation support?

We always recommend downloading the newest version of your browser for the best experience on Do Nation. We have designed and tested our site on the following browsers:


The following desktop browsers are officially supported:

  • Google Chrome - the latest version and one previous
  • Firefox - the latest version and one previous
  • Safari - the latest version and one previous
  • Edge - the latest version and one previous
  • IE11

Tablet and Mobile

The pledging experience is designed to be mobile responsive, and it should work fine on most tablet and mobile browsers, however it is not yet officially supported. We advice creating and editing campaigns from a desktop. If you have any particular issues please do report them to us via our contact form.

I want to use a browser that isn't supported

If you are interested in using Do Nation in your organisation but run a browser that isn't officially supported please get in touch and we'll see what we can do.

Is climate change really caused by us?

Our first answer to this is that contrary to popular belief, the scientists rarely dispute the answer: 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. Our 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 sun’s 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.

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.

Do you save my contact details?

Yes, we do. We have to in order to follow up and allow you to confirm how you did with your pledges.

We don’t share them with any third parties, unless you explicitly opt in to sharing with a Do Action sponsor or campaign owner.

Check out our privacy policy.

How do I delete my account?

Simply drop us a line and we'll remove your account details for you.

How do I contact you?

If your question relates to the web platform or your pledge, please contact Do Nation.

If it relates to Unite Student's Positive Impact programme, please email

What are the terms and conditions for the pledge competition?

The Unite Students pledge competition Ts&Cs are:

  1. To enter: make a pledge at between the 11th and 15th February 2019 to be entered into the prize draw
  2. Prize draw starts 11 February 2019 and closes 23.59 on 15th February 2019.
  3. The winners will be drawn at random subject to these terms and conditions.
  4. The prize is a sustainability hamper including, a LUSH voucher, reusable cup, bamboo toothbrush and organic tea up to the value of £50.
  5. Prizes cannot be exchanged for cash or any alternative.
  6. By making a pledge in the specified time period you are giving your permission to be entered into the prize draw and for Unite Students and DoNation to access your details, to contact you in relation to this competition. Your email address will not be used for any other purposes. Your details will be deleted within a month of the competition closing.
  7. Customers currently living with Unite Students who are in breach of their tenancy are not eligible to enter.
  8. The winners will be contacted by Unite Students via email. The winners will be required to respond to this email with their postal address within 5 working days so that we can arrange delivery of the prize.
  9. The postal address will only be used for the purposes of prize delivery.
  10. The prize will be sent within 30 days of notification of the winner’s postal address.
  11. If the winners do not respond within 5 working days of Unite Students notifying them via email the prize will be forfeited and new winners will be drawn. These winners will be notified via email and the same terms apply as in clauses 10 and 11 above.
  12. Unite Students reserves the right to remove or change this prize draw at any time.
  13. This prize draw is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Twitter or Facebook.

The Promoter is Unite Students, South Quay House, Temple Back, Bristol, BS1 6FL.


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