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Project standards

Standards are essential to ensure emission reductions achieved conform to a set of internationally agreed and endorsed protocols. But we have standards about which standards we use – and will only develop projects to those with the necessary rigour – the inclusion of independent auditing being key. To learn more about how the high quality of our offsets is assured please see here. Each of the standard takes a slightly different approach, and is open to a different range of project types and crediting periods.

Gold StandardGold Standard (GS): A certification scheme for premium quality credits that must contribute to sustainable development – only renewable, energy efficiency, and (following the recent acquisition and assimilation of the CarbonFix Standard) land-use and forestry projects are eligible. Requires developmental contribution to be three-fold: environmental, social and economic/technological. One of the standards we helped to develop [link to Credentials/Timeline] Operated by The Gold Standard Foundation, a not-for-profit, and created by the WWF (who commissioned us).

Verified Carbon StandardVerified Carbon Standard (VCS): The world’s most widely used voluntary emission reduction programme – broad in scope covering 15 sectors including energy efficiency, waste management and livestock. Offsets are issued as Verified Carbon Units (VCUs). Founded by the The Climate Group, IETA (one of our trade associations) and World Economic Forum and operated by the VCS Association, a non-profit NGO. (N.B. Formerly known as the Voluntary Carbon Standard.)

Clean Development MechanismThe Clean Development Mechanism (CDM): Established under the Kyoto Protocol and governed by the UN, the CDM supports projects in developing nations. Offsets are issued as Certified Emission Reductions (CERs). They can be used by countries to help them meet their internationally agreed emission caps and as such are used in schemes such as the EU ETS, where we can also help. Because of this additional compliance demand they have traded at a premium in the past but with growing supply are now a viable voluntary option. We designed the first ever CDM project in Africa, registered the first ever Coal Bed Methane project and have contributed to approved methodologies.

Plan VivoPlan Vivo System: A framework supporting community-led projects which enable more sustainable land use and resource management – the only eligible activities are afforestation and agroforestry, forest conversation, and restoration and avoided deforestation. Projects must generate benefits for the climate, improve the livelihoods of the communities involved and protect valuable ecosystems. One of the standards we helped to develop [link to Credenitals/Timeline]. Operated by the Plan Vivo Foundation, a registered charity.

CCBA LogoClimate Community Biodiversity (CCB): A best practice standard for land management projects. Requires demonstration of benefits for climate change mitigation, local communities and biodiversity. Similar to Plan Vivo except does not quantify carbon itself, so needs to be used in conjunction with a carbon accounting standard such as VCS, CDM. Operated by the CCBA, a partnership of NGOs.

Climate Action ReserveThe Climate Action Reserve (CAR): Provides a trusted national standard for the US offset market – a range of eligible activities include livestock, forestry and landfill gas. Offsets are issued as Climate Reserve Tonnes (CRTs) but may be transferred into VCU (see above). Certain types may also be converted for use within the California Cap-and-Trade Program, where we can also help. We were just awarded the inaugural Project Developer of the Year for CAR.

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