Terrapass supports 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.
Currently, terrapass uses the Gold Standard, Verified Carbon Standard, the Climate Action Reserve, and the American Carbon Registry as our only carbon offset standards.
The 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. To do this, Gold Standard designs the strongest processes that maximize the impact of efforts to deliver clean energy and water, responsibly manage land and forests, and transform the lives of the world’s poor. The Standard then verifies those outcomes, inspiring greater confidence that drives investment to accomplish meaningful sustainability practices.
All 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; 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.
Verified Carbon Standard (VCS)
The VCS is a global benchmark standard for project-based, voluntary, greenhouse gas emission reductions and removals. VCS was developed by The Climate Group, the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), and a range of business, government, and non-government organizations. The current version of the standard – VCS Version 3
Projects qualify for VCS after being validated against the standard’s requirements by an accredited third-party. Climate Action Reserve offsets may also be converted to VCS offsets. The validation rules under VCS are as robust as those of the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Terrapass quantifies its VCS offsets using either CDM methodologies (such as the CDM Landfill Protocol and the CDM Renewable Energy Protocol) or the Climate Action Reserve protocols noted below.
When terrapass uses VCS for registering offsets, you can see project listings and our submittals in the VCS Project Database website
Climate Action Reserve (CAR)
The CAR is a national offsets program focused on ensuring environmental benefit, integrity, and transparency in the US carbon market. It does this by establishing high-quality standards to quantify and verify greenhouse gas emissions reduction projects, oversee independent third-party verification bodies, issue carbon credits generated from such projects, and track the credits over time in a transparent, publicly-accessible system.
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 from the atmosphere equivalent to one metric ton of carbon dioxide. The offsets products are specific to ACR’s distinct operations in the California compliance market and the global voluntary carbon market.
ACR publishes standards, methodologies, protocols and tools for greenhouse gas accounting, which are all based on International Standards Organization (ISO) 14064 and sound scientific practice. The registry only registers 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.