New TerraPass projects open for comments

Written by tom


TerraPass has always prided itself on transparency. Today we’re taking that one step further, and asking for your feedback on projects before we commit them to our portfolio.

We’re admittedly excited to solicit stakeholder comments on our projects: first, we believe the stakeholder process is an important tool to ensure that all information about a project is collected before deciding whether it belongs in the TerraPass portfolio. Public comments have been used in the Kyoto system to such ends, and we’re hopeful they could work well in the voluntary carbon markets as well.

Second, we believe this is an industry first. We’re excited to be leading the way among our colleagues in the voluntary carbon market, and hope that this is a sign that competition will lead to even greater transparency.

Our new comment page

To help you along, we’ve prepared a Project Information Report (PIR) on each project (for carbon-nerds, this is like a lightweight PDD). The PIR provides information on the project design, location, ancillary impacts, and why we think it is a good use of TerraPass funds.

We’re hoping for a wide variety of responses to these projects, everything from how our individual TerraPass members feel about them to policy-level questions around technical carbon credit issues to more general comments from the communities in which these projects are based.

Comments are open for 30 days, and we’ll be reading all comments received, digesting them (no pun intended) and recommending a path forward (or not) for each project. If you have comments on the comment period itself, send them along as well, as we’re always looking to improve.

Our goal, as always, is to provide our members with the highest-quality carbon offsets. This is just one more way that we hope to get the fullest possible set of information on each of our projects before committing to it as part of our portfolio. We look forward to hearing from you.

Finally, long time readers will know that transparency is one big difference between TerraPass and other carbon offset providers. If you have friends that are still wondering what TerraPass is all about, or you’re new to TerraPass, we’ve formally laid out how TerraPass is different from other carbon offset providers, on a new page on the site, The TerraPass Difference. Check it out and let us know what you think.

Photo available under Creative Commons license from Flickr user Simon Groenewolt

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  1. Anonymous

    How much do you pay for your offsets and how much do you resell them for to your members? i.e. what’s the markup?

  2. Tom Arnold

    Hey Anonymous:
    We don’t report this because we don’t manage to it. Put simply, we want our carbon team to find great projects, not skimp on price, or skip on an extra FOIA request, lab work, or site visit just to hit an overhead ratio. We’re focusing on quality, and part of this review is just one more step in the process. This is just one more aspect of the TerraPass Difference.
    To give you a sense of this how this compares to bargain basement providers, we’ve paid more on a per ton basis than they sell for. And that before we hire any third party verifiers.
    BTW: to all the folks that have written project comments in, thanks! They are really engaging, and we look forward to sharing the summaries in a few weeks.

  3. euph

    i assume that each of these projects will go through the environmental impact analysis process of the state in which it is proposed to be located.
    i’m aware that the windmills present some inherent dangers to birds. i’m hoping that the industry, working with wildlife experts, can find a way to avoid, significantly decrease, or mitigate those dangers.

  4. Tom Arnold

    We’re careful to see that each project is permitted in accordance with the regulations in their local area. In our favorite standards, this is also explicitly checked by a third party verifier. And in all cases such permits or EIS’s are fully reviewed by TerraPass.
    We share your concern about avian impact with wind projects, but tend to think the projects we have selected are leaders in that regard. If you wanted to dive into any of the project specifics, just click the the appropriate email link and we’ll formally respond to your concerns.

  5. Anonymous

    Not to belabor a point, but you state you don’t report your markup on reselling carbon offsets because you don’t want to skimp on price. This doesn’t answer the question. I’m not asking about going for bargain basement projects. I want to know how much of a markup you are making on the quality projects you have chosen. In other words. for every dollar the consumer pays to offset, how much is really going towards that offset and how much is going to terrapass? You don’t need to look prospectively, tell us historically as this is probably indicative of how you manage your offsets.

  6. Aaron A.

    I want to know how much of a markup you are making on the quality projects you have chosen.
    This question comes up frequently on the blogs, but so far nobody’s ever sufficiently explained why it matters. When I go to Joe’s Hardware to buy a hammer, I don’t care how much Joe paid for that hammer. He supplies what I want, at a price I consider fair.
    Even if somebody told me that my $15 hammer cost Joe only $4, that doesn’t mean he’s greedy or that he’s overcharging me. Joe has to use that $11 markup to pay for rent, shipping, wages, and a little something for himself to live on. Gross margin doesn’t mean much from a consumer standpoint.
    — A.