All carbon offset projects are held to a uniform set of benchmarks to maintain a consistently high level of quality. Our standards, as well as those of leading certification bodies, address these essential criteria for carbon reduction projects:
The quantified greenhouse gas or carbon reductions must represent actual emission reductions. These reductions are based on approved methodologies or protocols which require rigorous monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of the project’s activities.
Additionality requires the carbon emission reductions to be above and beyond business as usual. This means reductions are additional if they would not have occurred in the absence of the project. Importantly, additionality should be determined by an independent third-party, a requirement for internationally accepted standards. Additionality should not be self-determined and should not be self-defined, as each internationally accepted standard defines it. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency, and most other standards, define additionality as greenhouse gas reductions that must be surplus to regulation and beyond what would have happened in the absence of the project or in a business-as-usual scenario based on a performance standard methodology.
Permanence is commonly referred to as the useful life of a project in reducing carbon emissions. Third-party standards such as the Climate Action Reserve, Verified Carbon Standard, Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard, American Carbon Registry and the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism all address and account for permanence. These and other third-party standards also address permanence for forest-based carbon offset projects such as reforestation and avoided deforestation. A project should be independently certified to a standard to ensure permanence and other criteria for real carbon reductions are met.
The greenhouse gas or carbon reductions must result from projects whose performance can be readily and accurately quantified, monitored and verified by independent, third-party auditors.
Leakage is the positive or negative impacts of a project on the surrounding area outside the project’s boundary. Carbonfund.org works with projects with the least likelihood of creating negative impacts.
Carbonfund.org’s Additional Qualifying Criteria
In addition to projects being certified to leading international standards, our due diligence process goes even further by looking at additional qualifying criteria to assess projects. Our Portfolio includes projects that benefit the local environments in which they take place and contribute to the global effort against climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Our review process evaluates projects based on:
Climate change is a global concern and we all need to be a part of the solution. By selecting projects across the US, as well as internationally, we are able to facilitate action from different corners of the world.
The geographic location is also an important factor in determining the type of project. For instance, Brazil and Nicaragua have rich tropical rainforests that sequester carbon dioxide, while the US’s Great Plains are ideal for wind projects.