Our projects also earn Gold level of distinction for adaptation, biodiversity, and community engagement. On top of the independent standards we also have our own Environmental, Social and Governance policy and processes.
Our conservation projects preserve threatened forests and as a result deliver a real climate benefit globally. Forests are really efficient at storing carbon – you may have heard them called ‘carbon sinks’ for this reason. But when they are burned or processed, carbon dioxide – the most abundant greenhouse gas – is emitted. If our forests aren’t protected then the carbon dioxide they are currently storing for us could be released to the atmosphere, making the challenge of climate change even harder! This is why it’s really important to keep forests intact – you could say they provide an important ‘service’. You’ll see that we refer to our projects as ‘forest carbon’ projects and talk about ‘ecosystem or environmental services’.
Quantifying and valuing forest or ecosystem ‘services’ requires diligence and scientific rigor, and forest carbon projects have evolved considerably over the past twenty years to meet challenges and concerns about environmental and social impact. Enormous effort has been made to ensure the integrity and lasting impact of these projects through the development of independent standards such as VCS and CCB. And now leading brands and governments have made forest conservation projects like ours a well-established approach to achieving significant carbon emissions reductions.
The primary concerns raised about forest carbon projects are:
We agree these are important and valid concerns. And the VCS and CCB standards address these concerns directly. Each project accounting methodology deals with the above concerns depending on the type of forest, the underlying drivers of deforestation, the probability of leakage, and the capacity to develop alternative livelihoods. Each project’s methodology and project design document is transparent and publicly available on the VCS/CCB website.
The Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) is a quantitative standard and the world’s most widely used voluntary greenhouse gas programme. Projects certified to the VCS must follow a rigorous assessment process, following which they are able to issue carbon credits. The requirements help to enforce strict accounting of carbon to make sure that emissions are reductions are really happening and to prevent issues such as double counting of savings or leakage, which means the potential for deforestation not to be prevented only moved to outside a project area.
The VCS Standard requirements include:
Read more about this standard here.
The Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCB) is a qualitative standard designed to measure and report wider project benefits beyond emission reductions, specifically biodiversity conservation and benefits to local communities. Verification to the CCB Standard ensures that projects, in addition to making a significant contribution to combating climate change, are improving livelihoods, creating employment, protecting traditional cultures, helping secure tenure to lands and resources, protecting biodiversity-rich primary forest and endangered species, and safeguarding a range of ecosystem services such as mitigating flooding, reducing soil erosion and conserving water resources. Projects verified to the CCB standard may achieve Gold level recognition to exceptional performance in the areas of Adaptation, Biodiversity, and Community engagement.
Our projects are verified to VCS and CCB. There are also other important standards which help to maintain high quality forest conservation projects and sustainable forest management and which can complement each other including: Forest Stewardship Council for paper and wood products, Organic, Fair Trade, California Compliance Offset Protocols, New Zealand Domestic Standard, Plan Vivo, American Carbon Registry and Gold Standard.
The Cradle to Cradle product standard includes carbon management and renewable energy among their five quality categories, and the highest level of certification requires that 100% of direct on-site emissions be offset by using carbon projects like ours.
Read more about this standard here.
In an age of ever-increasing consumer and investor pressure to improve transparency and disclosure of climate and sustainability impacts, risks and opportunities, reporting to sustainability and climate indices has become best-practice. High performance in reporting indices, such as the CDP and the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), is well-respected.
Businesses who have invested in ‘offsite’ emissions reductions, for example through purchasing carbon offsets from projects like ours, can report these as reductions alongside the reporting of the emissions reductions which have been delivered ‘onsite’ (e.g. switching to renewable energy supply, reducing waste etc). Often businesses purchase offsets to deal with the emissions it is very difficult for them to reduce internally e.g. air travel.
At Ecosphere+ we work with businesses to mitigate their climate risk through connecting them to high-quality forest carbon assets. We believe this is one of the most valuable climate solutions available to us – it is cost effective, immediate and natural (photosynthesis is the oldest technology in the world!)
Get in touch today to see how we can help you.