Carbon Offset Standards
Carbon offset standards are used for the design and ongoing implementation of a carbon reduction project. Typically, a project developer will choose a carbon offset standard and a relevant protocol or methodology. A protocol or methodology is like a blueprint for how one would calculate various aspects of a carbon reduction project. Once a sufficient amount of project activities is underway and once a set of project documents is written, the project will undergo a validation audit and then later a verification audit to the chosen carbon offset standard. These audits are conducted by an independent auditor who is approved by the carbon offset standard. Upon successful completion of the verification audit, the project becomes eligible to issue verified emission reductions (VERs, also known as carbon offsets).
There are several carbon offset standards. In the past, the most widely used standard for projects developed under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) compliance market was the Clean Development Mechanism. In the voluntary carbon market, the main carbon offset standards are the:
- American Carbon Registry (ACR);
- Climate Action Reserve (CAR);
- Gold Standard; and
- Verified Carbon Standard (VCS).
Today, the Verified Carbon Standard is the most widely used voluntary carbon offset standard. Forestry projects, such as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) projects, designed to the Verified Carbon Standard are often also designed to the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standard (CCBS). The CCBS is a co-benefit standard used to demonstrate a project’s community and biodiversity benefits such as the generation of rural employment, offering of agricultural extension training services, and the preservation of biologically rich habitats. CarbonCo, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Carbonfund.org Foundation, developed four REDD+ projects under the VCS and CCBS. These projects are known as the Envira Amazonia Project, the Purus Project, and the Russas-Valparaiso Projects.
To learn more about carbon offset standards and to support our third-party certified carbon reduction projects, please visit Carbonfund.org Foundation.