Carbon emissions are invisible, odorless and hard to measure, and offsets can be even more difficult to conceptualize. This makes it difficult for organizations to be sure about what their money is actually being spent on.
If your organization is committed to genuine carbon reduction and regularly reports its goals and achievements, then being able to demonstrate that your claims are guaranteed by a recognized standards body is very important.
So how can you ensure the quality of the carbon offsets you buy?
Three steps to guaranteed impact
The fundamentals of offsetting are covered in Designing a Winning Carbon Offset Program but it’s worth remembering what high-quality carbon offsets look like. Your provider should guarantee that the carbon savings are:
- Not vulnerable to leakage
- Validated and verified
But don’t just take the offset providers word for it; accredited third parties should also be part of the validation and verification process. NativeEnergy employs a three-stage approach to auditing carbon reduction projects, to ensure that each of the above criteria is met.
Stage 1: Nationally recognized carbon standards
For each new carbon reduction project, the NativeEnergy supply team conducts an extensive check, calculates the emissions that will be reduced, evaluates financial additionality, and establishes a relationship with the project via site visits and meetings with project participants.
All NativeEnergy projects must meet one of the nationally recognized carbon standards, like Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) or Climate Action Reserve (CAR), which are drawn up by independent third party bodies.
Stage 2: Accredited third-party validation
Validation is an assessment of the project design to make sure it both meets the requirements of the standard and correctly calculates and monitors future greenhouse gas reductions through accepted methods.
NativeEnergy sends the project design document to an accredited validator of its choice, who then examines the project details. Once the project has been formally approved by the validator in accordance with the standard, it is publicly listed on a carbon registry website.
Stage 3: Accredited third-party verification
Once a project is operating, the carbon reductions that it generates are verified. This time, an accredited third party reviews actual project operation data to determine the number of tons of carbon emissions that were avoided and, as a result, are issued by the standard as offsets.
NativeEnergy verifies performance after the first year of operation to make sure the project is performing as planned and then again, several years later, to confirm that any estimated offsets that have been sold are supported by proven reductions.
This rigorous three-stage process assures you and your investors that NativeEnergy projects are making a real impact on climate change mitigation. It provides independent confirmation of your reported emissions reductions and guarantees that your carbon offsets are real and permanent.