Carbon credit standards - Eligibility criteria comparison

September 29, 2022
Carbon neutrality

Comparison of main carbon credits standard eligibility criterias

In order to provide clarity on the main carbon credit standards eligibility criterias, we created the following table to compare some majors standards with Riverse criterias.

We use the great work of The Nordic Dialogue on Voluntary Compensation, a coalition of nordics countries governmental institutions, on Clean Development Mechanism, Verified Carbon Standard by Verra, and The Gold Standard, and added Label Bas Carbone (France governmental standard) and Riverse for comparison.

We studied 13 main criterias, split in 3 categories - Core Carbon Principles, Environmental Impact, Methods.

We detailed below the definition of each criteria and how Riverse answers this criteria.

Carbon credit standard eligibility criteria comparison

Core Carbon Principles

Reality

Definition: Carbon credits represent GHG emissions already reduced, avoided or captured , in order to ensure each credit can be linked to a physical reality.

Riverse relevant criteria: Method. 6.c

All emissions reductions and removals and the project activities that generate themhave genuinely taken place, they are measured, monitored and verified ex-post. Ex-Post carbon crediting is the issuance of carbon offsets after independent verification ofemission reductions. In case of Riverse certification protocol, each ex-post carbon credit is only emitted afterapproval of each verification KPI supporting proof, on a regular basis.

Measurability

Definition: Carbon credit emissions is linked to a robust measurability, transparent, linked to available methodologies consistent with ISO 14064-2, for the calculation of both baseline and projects scenarios.

Riverse relevant criteria: Method. 6. f

Carbon inventories are based on - or reduced to - the principles of life cycle assessment,following the steps :

● definition of a functional unit and the basic scenario

● definition of system boundaries

● measurement of material and energy flows

● evaluation of their environmental impact (at least the carbon weight).The carbon inventories performed for the baseline and project scenarios will have to followthe GHG Protocol standards or equivalent. *

The accepted list of carbon accountingmethodologies is as follows:

● Project Protocol

● Corporate Value Chain Standard

● Bilan Carbone© (carbon footprint)

● GHG inventory (as defined in ISO 14065-1)

● Life Cycle Assessment (in the sense of standard 14040)

● EHSF (according to the NF EN 15804+A1 standard)

All measurements must be verifiable and scientifically documented, i.e.: the emission factorsof inputs, products, co-products and processes must be derived from reference carbonstandards (e.g. ADEME's Base Carbone in France).

Additionality

Definition: The project or measures to generate carbon credits would not have happened without the project finance, is not a regulatory requirement and is beyond business as usual or common practice;

Riverse relevant criteria: Method. 6.e

A project is therefore considered additional if it cannot be implemented without the carboncontribution mechanism. Additionality is a key criterion to ensure that the financingprovided has a real impact on the fight against climate change.

To be eligible, the project must therefore prove its financial additionality, by demonstrating 1 of the 4 points below:

  1. Justify a price difference between the baseline and the project scenario thatprevents or significantly delays its deployment
  2. Justify administrative or technological constraints that could be overcome byadditional fundingThe project must justify that additional funding would increase the impact of the solution inthe short term:
  3. Prove that the current funding of the project does not allow for its wider deployment
  4. Demonstrate that the project's current funding reduces or limits its potential impact

Permanence

Definition: Where projects carry risk of reversal, adequate safeguards are implemented place to ensure that the risk of reversal is minimised, and that, if any reversal occurs, a mechanism is in place that guarantees the carbon credits will be replaced at equal price and environmental value.

Riverse relevant criteria: Method. 6.d

To ensure that the avoided emissions valued are real and to avoid the number of CCCs issued exceeding the reductions, Riverse incorporates two levels of precaution in its methodology:

● for all projects: a 10% rebate is systematically applied to the evaluation ofemissions avoidance, the risk of project failure

● additionally a buffer is taken when sales are done prior the verification, 20% per year separating purchase to avoidance schedule (please refer to registry rules)

For capture projects, an additionnal permanence criteria is added, with 3 possible levels of storage:

● Short-term storage (Estimated duration less than 50 years, ex: biobased construction)

● Medium-term storage (more than 50 years, less than 150 years, examples: biochar, bio-oils)

● Long-term storage (over than 150 years, example deep storage of CO2)

To know more about Riverse insurance fund.

Third-party verification

Definition: GHG emission reductions or removal enhancements are verified by an independent and competent third-party, to enable carbon credits issuance

Riverse relevant criteria: Method. 6.A

Each project plan is audited by a accredited, independent and competent third-party verifier (validation & verification body - VVB), on the following elements:

● Robustness of carbon gain measurement

● Compliance with Riverse methodology specifications

● Validity of verification KPIs, supporting document proofs and check frequences

VVB needs to be compliant with Riverse accreditation rules, which main principles are the following

● Prove a sufficient knowledge in carbon measurement

● Prove a sufficient knowledge in carbon credit system

● Sign Riverse VVB Agreement

● Sign Riverse Conflicts of Interest Policy

Unicity (registry)

Definition: The carbon-crediting standard must use of a registry to uniquely identify, record and track carbon credits mitigation activies, to ensure credits can be identified securely and without ambiguity.

Riverse relevant criteria: Method. 6.b

Any project wishing to have its GHG emission gains certified using Riverse methodologymust contractually commit to not using another certification body or label for the project inquestion.In order to ensure transparency on our uniqueness process, all CCCs are visible on theRiverse registry, which is accessible online along with all project information and theassociated CCC lifecycle.

To know more about Riverse Registry.

Environmental Impact

Leakage

Definition: Leakage is defined as the net change of anthropogenic emissions bysources of greenhouse gases (GHG) which occurs outside the project

Riverse relevant criteria: Method. 6.f.iii

Thanks to its full comparative carbon lifetime cycle analysis, Riverse measurement part of itsprotocol reduces massively leakage risks. However, in case of clear leakage risks, Riverseteam during pre-validation phase or VVB during third-party audit can require an additionalleakage buffer on the final amount of carbon credit emissions

Do Not Harm

Definition: Standard methodology must put safeguards in place to prevent unintended environmental and social impacts, especially in development countries.

Riverse relevant criteria: Method. 7.4

The project must be assessed against all SDGs. If the assessors or Riverse have doubts inthe verification and certification process, additional proof should be asked.The process/project must not significantly impair any of the Sustainable DevelopmentGoals.

No double counting

Definition: Measures for avoiding double counting through the issuance and tracking of carbon credits that have unique serial numbers and are listed in a recognized public registry, and adequate procedures for the permanent retirement or cancellation of the carbon credits, which includes procedures for clear assignment of the credits to the entity claiming carbon neutrality;
Measures for addressing double claiming e.g. where the GHG emission reduction is claimed by more than one entity;

Riverse relevant criteria: Method. 6.b

Any project wishing to have its GHG emission gains certified using Riverse methodologymust contractually commit to not using another certification body or label for the project inquestion. In order to ensure transparency on our uniqueness process, all CCCs are visible on the Riverse registry, which is accessible online along with all project information and the associated CCC lifecycle.

To know more about Riverse Registry.

Monitoring, reporting and verification methodolgies

Stakeholder consultation

Definition: Industry stakeholder views were solicited and considered during the Standard’s development.

Stakeholder consultation requirements and processes for development of rules and procedures, methodologies, tools, and crediting projects or programmes.

Local stakeholder views were solicited and considered during the Standard’s development.

Riverse relevant criteria: Method. 6.a

Each Riverse methodology is being validated by a relevant carbon credit experts,on the following elements:● Compliance of the methodology with ICVCM recommendation to certify highestquality carbon credit● Quality of measurement guidelines to ensure LCA rigourness and conservativeness● Robustness of verification process over time

Public consultation is made every year to review methodology improvement.

SDG impact assessment

Definition: Sustainable Development Goals from United Nations are taking into account into the process, and project SDG impact is assessed during the certification process.

Riverse relevant criteria: Method. 8.a

All Riverse certified projects must have a positive systemic impact to ensure that they arepart of a sustainable world by having two quantifiable and verifiable co-benefits.In order to be consistent with international standard, the project is asked to prove andquantify at least 2 co-benefits in accordance to the United Nations SustainableDevelopment Goals (cf Criteria 5). The project must not harm any of them (cf Criteria 6).

Carbon monitoring

Definition: The greenhouse gas emission reductions or removals from the mitigation activity shall be robustly quantified, based on conservative approaches, completeness and sound scientific methods.

Riverse relevant criteria: Method 5.c

Riverse Verification Oracles (KPIs)

One of the main parts of process certification is to define which KIIs are defined to monitorand verify carbon credits emissions over time. The aim is to facilitate an annual verification process to ensure data quality in project monitoring.The key impact indicators are physical parameters that can be controlled and measure (automatically preferably).To determine whether one should consider using a key impact indicator, it should be :

● changing (over time or depending on process)

● measurable on the ground

● responsible for 10% of project’s overall impact

Of course KPI that are directly linked to project’s impact and output (such as ha in forestation, kWh in biogaz production) must be accounted for. For one given project, there number goes from 3 to 5.

These KPIs are chosen to follow all the key factors of project life cycle analysis. For each KII, a proof of verification and a frequency is defined.

Oracles are the keys that enable the reporting of the key impact indicators. They must be:

● auditable and documented: it exists a process (human or preferably digital) that lead to this results

● objective: is not subject to interpretation, anyone reads the same results

● digitalized: oracles will be associated to carbon credits in the end, they must be atleast digitalized if not already digital

Riverse Verification process

Riverse verification is part of the verification process set up by Riverse. On a regular basis (every 3, 6 or 12 months) the projects upload the oracles for audit and verification of its impact. Riverse’s verification framework is included in the subscription of the project to the platform. In case of using a VVB offer, all fees and process are detailed by each VVB on Riverse platform.

In case of a process change, the project developer has to notify Riverse’s team, who decides if the process change is validated or needs further audit. If the process change is important, the validation will need to be done again.In case of a lack of proof of verification for a KPI, carbon credit emission is stopped until further notice.

SD impact monitoring

Definition: Sustainable Development Goals from United Nations are quantified, monitored and verified during certification process.

Riverse relevant criteria: Method 8.b

In case of UN SDG harm risks, Riverse team during pre-validation phase or VVB duringthird-party audit can require additional proofs to avoid these risks. Note thannon-compliance with Environmental and Social Do No Harm requirements can impeachproject certification.

A proper methodology to monitor and verify each SDG during project deployment is under progress by Riverse Team.

Sources:

Nordic Dialogue on Voluntary Compensation - Working together towards and beyond carbon neutrality

Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets Report

Integrity Council For The Voluntary Carbon Market Public Consultation

ICROA FAQ

Norton Rose Fulbrighth - Draft Core Carbon Principles for the Voluntary Carbon Market released

Label Bas Carbone methodologies

Riverse Standard Rules

Grégoire GuiraudenGrégoire Guirauden

Grégoire has worked for more than 6 years in the digitalization of companies and the scaling of customer success teams. He is deeply passionate about climate change and green technologies.

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