Carbon Offsets: Who to Trust


Written by TerraPass


Carbon Offsets: Who to Trust

When it comes to purchasing carbon offsets, it’s important to know what you’re buying. One of the most important things to look for is transparency. It’s critical to know that the company selling the carbon offsets maintains the highest project standards. Each project should be independently verified by third party sources and truly benefit the planet by upholding their commitment to reduce greenhouse gasses and/or produce sustainable energy.

Get the basics on what you need to know when buying carbon offsets from our previous blog post here.

Terrapass adheres to specific carbon offset standards, which assure transparency and quality in the creation, quantification and verification of offset projects. These standards require that offsets be real, additional (i.e., they wouldn’t have happened under a “business as usual” scenario), permanent, quantifiable, never double-counted or double-sold and independently verified. When you buy terrapass carbon offsets, your purchase contributes to projects that make our world a cleaner, greener place.  See a list of the terrapass carbon offset projects here.

Terrapass uses four independent party review audits to ensure that we are indeed fighting climate change with our offsets.  See the terrapass standards here and read on for more information about each audit group.

Carbon Offsets: Who to TrustThe Gold Standard The Gold Standard is a certification body that works to ensure every dollar of climate and development funding goes as far as it possibly can. Gold Standard projects must adhere to the following principles: Do no harm – complying with the UN Millennium Development Goals; enhance sustainable development; involve all relevant stakeholders; deliver real greenhouse gas emission reductions; be compliant with all relevant laws and Gold Standard Principles; be transparent and be continually and regularly monitored, reported and verified. Lastly, all Gold Standard Projects are retired on the Markit registry – an independent establishment that increases transparency, efficiency and scalability within the global environmental markets.

Terrapass also uses the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), which is a global benchmark standard for project-based, voluntary, greenhouse gas emission reductions and removals. Projects qualify for VCS after being validated against the standard’s requirements by an accredited third-party.

Carbon Offsets: Who to TrustThe Climate Action Reserve (CAR) is a national offsets program focused on ensuring environmental benefit, integrity and transparency in the US carbon market. CAR achieves this by establishing high-quality standards to quantify and verify greenhouse gas emission reduction projects, overseeing independent third-party verification bodies, issuing carbon credits generated from such projects and tracking the credits over time in a transparent, publicly-accessible system.

Finally, terrapass registers and verifies carbon offset projects with the American Carbon Registry (ACR). ACR oversees the registration and verification of carbon offset projects following approved carbon accounting methodologies or protocols and issues offsets on a transparent registry system. Each offset represents the reduction or removal of the equivalent of one metric ton of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

ACR publishes standards, methodologies, protocols and tools for greenhouse gas accounting, which are based on International Standards Organization (ISO) 14064 and sound scientific practice. The registry only records project-based carbon offset tons that are real, additional, permanent and independently verified.  The American Carbon Registry (ACR) requires independent third-party validation and verification of all carbon offset projects following ACR Validation and Verification Guidelines.

We trust these strict guidelines give you confidence when purchasing terrapass carbon offsets. If you’re purchasing offsets from an entity other than terrapass, ensure that the offsets have oversight from a trustworthy third party.

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