Introduction to the methodological framework
The different methodologies that exist to frame the certification of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction solutions have a very important common thread. Emission reductions can be quantified in a uniform way by analyzing the different phases of a process. The 5 fields of analysis are defined by the ISO 14040-44 standard, which governs the rules of Life Cycle Assessment: Extraction, Manufacturing, Transport, Use and End of Life. The inputs to be taken into account are raw materials and energy, and the outputs, i.e. all emissions of substances into the water, air and soil. In addition, the ongoing work on carbon accounting for companies and their processes, an ISO 14068 project, will advance maturity on these subjects, working towards the transversality of measurement systems.
With this in mind, Riverse has developed this methodology to allow any GHG emission reduction solution to be eligible for certification and to be financed by voluntary carbon credits issued by Riverse, Carbon Contribution Credits (CCC). Through our Eligibility Criteria, Riverse ensures that the project has no negative externalities, and that all funded projects are consistent with the sustainable world we are all working to build.
Companies using this methodology or purchasing CACs should follow the GHG Protocol recommendations for assessing their emissions presented in the documents: GHG Protocol Corporate Standard, and the Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard. Other emission reduction strategy formalisms will be accepted such as Bilan Carbone© or SBTi.
Riverse also operates with simplicity, efficiency and understanding in mind. The methodology and the certification and verification processes are designed to be rigorous but simple to understand and use, both for the low-carbon solutions and for the emitting companies and the ecosystem - customers, employees, investors - that they wish to engage through participatory actions and transparent communication.
With these criteria, Riverse guarantees the reliability of our carbon credits and their impact by :
- The ability to certify any low-carbon, viable and positive-impact solution, to enable them to accelerate their deployment, and thus meet the urgent challenges
- The distinction between capture, emission reductions without opposing them
- Long term vision but a guarantee of short term impact
- Exceeding international reduction targets
- Scalability of the supported solutions
Finally, all the rules of additionality, permanence, uniqueness and verification by independent and competent third parties of the Carbon Contribution Credits issued by Riverse meet the requirements of ICROA, and are therefore consistent with the quality levels of the best existing standards for carbon credits.
Carbon inventories are based on - or reduced to - the principles of life cycle assessment, following the steps :
- definition of a functional unit and the baseline scenario
- definition of system boundaries
- measurement of material and energy flows
- evaluation of their environmental impact (at least the global warming potential in CO2eq).
The carbon inventories performed for the baseline and project scenarios will have to follow the GHG Protocol standards or equivalent. The accepted list of carbon accounting methodologies is as follows:
- Project Protocol
- Bilan Carbone© (carbon footprint)
- GHG inventory (as defined in ISO 14065-1)
- Cradle-to-grave Life Cycle Assessment (in the sense of standard 14040)
All measurements must be verifiable and scientifically documented, i.e.: the emission factors of inputs, products, co-products and processes must be derived from one of the reference database (e.g. ADEME's Base Carbone in France).
- the quantities (volume, mass, number) of products/materials must be justified
- In the case where a carbon standard does not exist, documented scientific research can be proposed to establish a reference measurement. This measurement will then be evaluated by our experts and validated by an external third party if necessary.
Data quality requirements
1. Quality of the sources
It seemed essential to ensure the reliability of the data by choosing the most recognized sources. The EcoInvent database was chosen because of its reputation: it is cited in most specialized publications, and the processes studied are the most numerous among the available databases.
In all cases, we will choose the most recent data available: current for that coming from the Project, at most 3 years old for those coming from world statistics (INSEE, World Bank...).
All data dated after the certification year - 3 years must be justified.
3. Geographic compliance
Whenever possible, the measure should opt for data that apply to geographic areas corresponding to the assumptions and locations of operation or use.
1. Scope of the study and functional unit
A "complete" LCA in the literal sense would analyze the impacts of all global processes: it would be necessary to inventory the impacts of the production of the machines that made it possible to produce a good, and then those that made it possible to manufacture it, and so on. It is therefore necessary to agree by convention on consistent boundaries for the inventory for both scenarios.
For the study of each project, it will be necessary to define
- reference flow or functional unit (FU)
- system boundaries
- the process to be studied
- the limits of the system
The functional unit is the unit of measurement used to assess the service provided by the product or service. The baseline and the project can be compared in terms of the same number of functional units.
The carbon inventory analysis will have to define a functional unit (FU), i.e. a service rendered expressed with a reference quantity in a metric unit and/or in a time frame. The functional unit is common to both scenarios.
🛠 Example of a functional unit:
- For a bulb : Functional unit: illuminate with a brightness of 400 lumens for 1,000 hours.
- For a pen:
Functional unit: cover a writing length of 20 km.
Example of application here: if a pen A generates half as much impact on the environment as a pen B, but pen A has to be renewed after 10 km of writing while pen B covers a writing length of 20 km, we have to multiply the impacts of pen A by two to be able to compare them to those of pen B. The result is that the actual impacts of the two pens are equivalent.
2. Baseline scenario
The baseline scenario chosen for reference will have to fulfill primary and secondary functions equivalent to those of the project scenario.
The baseline scenario through a market analysis to determine the most representative alternative(s). This analysis could combine statistics from recognized institutes such as INSEE, EuroStat or World Bank Open Data with an LCA-type analysis as described in this chapter.
The default should be chosen from the Best Available Technologies (BAT) of the most likely reference solution.
As the projects are certified for a maximum of 5 years, the baseline scenario will be re-evaluated regularly to take into account technological developments in each sector.
3. Conditions for comparing scenarios
The products or services generated must be in conformity with the intended use, and must effectively allow for an efficient substitution with the products of the baseline scenario, or with the performance presented upstream in the case of a new product.Thus, comply with our eligibility criteria “Substitution”
A low-carbon solution can provide an innovation on all the steps or only some of them compared to the baseline scenario. In the case where the innovation covers only some of the steps, for the calculation of emissions, some steps may be considered as equivalent between the baseline and the project scenarios, and therefore not taken into account in the comparative analysis of carbon inventories. In this case, it will be necessary to prove the similarities between the two scenarios.
If the choice of the baseline scenario leads to consider a process step as equivalent, it will have to be verified that the orders of magnitude impacting the step are equivalent for this one:
- for extraction and transport: mass
- for the use : life span
- for end of life: type of materials
4. Cut-off criteria & assumptions
Data exclusion rules / Cut-off criteria
Environmental significance is chosen as the cut-off criterion and the exclusion rule will be defined as follows: impacts smaller than 1/100 are considered insignificant and are not included in the results.
The calculation assumptions must be clearly defined and explained.
5. Summary of calculations
The baseline and project scenarios include emissions for the following 5 components:
- Extraction: emissions related to the extraction of raw materials used
- Manufacturing: emissions related to the transformation of raw materials into processed products
- Transport: emissions related to the transport of materials and products
- Use: emissions related to the use of products generated during their life
- End of life: emissions related to the end of life of the products generated