Certified or Verified Carbon Offsets: Which Should You Choose?

Certified or Verified Carbon Offsets_ Which Should You Choose

If you’re looking to offset your business carbon emissions, you’ll soon notice that some are ‘certified’, some are ‘verified’ and others are just plain old carbon offsets.

Do you know the difference? And does it matter which you choose?

What’s In a Name?

Carbon offsets generated under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) are called Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs). The CDM is one of the Flexible Mechanisms defined in the Kyoto Protocol (IPCC, 2007) that assist emissions reduction projects which generate CERs. CERs can be bought and traded by participants in mandatory compliance schemes around the world to meet their emissions targets.

Carbon offsets that are produced under a voluntary standard differ from those required by mandatory compliance schemes, and are called Verified or Voluntary Emissions Credits (VERs).

Organizations buying in the voluntary market can choose to buy either CERs or VERs.

When choosing your carbon offset provider, look for either of those terms – certified or verified – to guarantee genuine carbon emissions reductions.

What’s The Difference Between Verified and Unverified Carbon Offsets?

The best carbon offset providers will guarantee that their carbon savings are real, permanent, additional, and not vulnerable to leakage. They do this through a process of validation and verification.

NativeEnergy ensures that its projects meet one of the nationally recognized carbon standards, such as the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) or Climate Action Reserve (CAR), which are drawn up by independent third-party bodies.

Each carbon offset project is then validated and verified by an accredited third party. This rigorous process provides independent confirmation of your reported emissions reductions and guarantees that your carbon offsets are real and permanent.

Low-quality, unverified carbon offsets are unlikely to offer any guarantee, meaning that the advertised carbon reduction may not meet one or all of the required criteria. This has led to instances of customers buying carbon offsets only to find out later that they weren’t genuine.

The Importance of Choosing a Verified Carbon Offset Project

Although it may seem attractive to buy unverified carbon offsets, especially if the project looks genuine, it is likely to be a false economy.

If your organization is committed to genuine carbon reduction and regularly reports its goals and achievements, being able to back up those claims is of paramount importance. Inaccurate or fraudulent claims risk being exposed, leading to adverse publicity, reduced investor confidence and potential public hostility.

Over the years, stories about low-quality carbon offsets and offsetting scams have regularly hit the headlines. If your organization is caught up in such a story, the damage to your reputation is likely to go far beyond the cost of replacing the carbon offsets.

Furthermore, by buying unverified offsets, you will be diverting funds from genuine, high-quality projects that could deliver real, verified carbon savings.

Why Choose NativeEnergy’s HelpBuild Verified Carbon Offsets?

All HelpBuild projects are fully verified, so the authenticity of the carbon reductions is guaranteed.

When companies make personal decisions to take on carbon reduction measures in their industry, they are making the decision to go beyond the mandatory. Voluntary principles put into action: 1) generate real innovation; 2) connect communities to new opportunities; and 3) reflect back positively on a company’s brand.

Keurig Green Mountain coffee roasters challenged their own success with voluntary carbon reduction targets and, in partnership with NativeEnergy, helped create the Alex Little Soldier Wind Turbine project–the nation’s first, tribal-owned, large scale wind turbine on the Rosebud Sioux reservation in South Dakota.

Unlike many other carbon offset schemes, when you buy HelpBuild offsets, you’re not just buying carbon reductions from a project that has already been built. HelpBuild projects simply would not happen without your support.

If you would like to venture beyond the mandatory by investing in verified carbon offsets and help fund a project directly, contact NativeEnergy.

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