What do companies need to know when selecting effective climate protection projects?

myclimate’s strict quality standards ensure that when you support climate protection projects, it makes a genuine difference. This, in turn, makes it easy for companies to select an effective project that aligns with their values.

There are numerous reasons why climate protection projects are worthwhile for companies. Through these projects they not only make a positive contribution to global climate protection targets, they are also seen as responsible actors – which can bring long-term economic benefits, too. But which climate protection projects should companies support? Making the right choice is not always so easy; ultimately the financing should offer the greatest contribution to effective climate protection and be a good fit with the company’s corporate culture. 

To ensure that projects are truly effective, the Foundation myclimate applies the strictest independent quality standards in selecting climate protection projects that they support, co-develop and guide in the long term, along with numerous other quality measures. This means that when companies come to select a climate protection project from the myclimate portfolio, they can be sure that it will genuinely lead to a reduction in CO₂ and boost their reputation. Below we explain how myclimate guarantees the effectiveness and integrity of climate protection projects and how companies should go about selecting a climate protection project that is right for them.

How does myclimate ensure the effectiveness and integrity of climate protection projects?

To gain a place in the myclimate portfolio, a climate protection project must offer reliable, measurable improvement to climate protection and sustainable development. In selecting and designing the climate protection project it offers, myclimate applies the strictest official quality standards – and it goes even further. All climate protection projects are carefully assessed using additional quality criteria, which reflect the interests of our clients as well as financial risk considerations.

With the following points, myclimate ensures that only high-quality projects of unquestionable integrity are accepted into its portfolio:

1. Fulfilling official standards

The most important factor in the quality of climate protection projects is official certification by high-quality standards. For international projects, myclimate only recommends and supports projects certified by Gold Standard in the energy field, and by Plan Vivo in the land use field. In a few, carefully selected and exceptional cases, myclimate also supports projects certified by VCS/Verra, and only when they are additionally certified by the standards CCB (Climate, Community & Biodiversity) and/or SD VISta (Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard). Domestic projects are verified against the “myclimate Guidelines for Domestic Projects” or according to country-specific standards (for more details see: WWhat standards do our climate protection projects meet?).

These standards ensure that climate protection projects additionally offer a wide variety of social, economic and environmental benefits (additionality) alongside the reduction or storage of greenhouse gas emissions (SDGs). The integrity and effectiveness of the projects is ensured through regular monitoring, independent verification and strict safeguarding principles (for more details see: How is a climate protection project developed and its long-term effectiveness guaranteed ?).

2. Due diligence

The initial due diligence process goes beyond requirements imposed by the standards. myclimate also subjects all climate protection projects to a financial risk assessment and continually monitors conditions on the ground to ensure long-term effectiveness (you can also find detailed information under How is a climate protection project developed and its long-term effectiveness guaranteed?).

3. Long-term partnerships built on integrity

For a climate protection project to succeed in the long term, you need highly skilled project developers on the ground who are well connected with and accepted by the local population, and who are conversant with the local languages and cultures. myclimate has extensive experience and numerous reliable partnerships that have evolved over the years to facilitate close exchange and optimal cooperation.

4. Selecting climate protection partners

Non-profit status

Just like like myclimate itself, our climate protection partners should be non-profit organisations. This ensures that any gains are reinvested in climate protection projects and not paid out to shareholders.

Financial transparency

There is often a lack of transparency around finance flows in climate protection projects, so it’s important that we can rely on project developers who ensure financial transparency. As a foundation, myclimate is obligated to transparently set out its own foundation finances in an annual report. Additionally, all new projects developed with project partners follow strict guidelines that determine where the finances are deployed. These guidelines are important for ensuring and enhancing the integrity of projects and guaranteeing that the funds earmarked for climate protection actually go where they are most needed.

The “credible climate claim”

Selecting a climate protection partner that offers a trustworthy claim and credibility in its communications is very important these days. That means no more support for projects by partners who still talk about “climate neutrality”, “offsetting” and related concepts. In late 2022 myclimate switched to an impact label to avoid the suggestion that a given activity might have no associated emissions. In addition, the new impact label also complies with the new framework conditions under the Paris Agreement in the areas of corresponding adjustment and avoidance of double counting (see myclimate presents the climate protection label of the future).

So, it’s important to select not just the right project but also the right climate protection partner – like myclimate.

How do companies select a suitable climate protection project?

The criteria assessed by myclimate ensure that the climate protection projects it offers fulfil the highest standards. But which project within the portfolio deserves particular support? Companies can start by asking themselves the following questions:

1. Does my company have a distinctive regional or geographical focus or a particular link to a country?

Example: a company that sources products or raw materials from a particular country could support a climate protection project there.

2. Is there a certain technology out there that is a good match with my company?

Example: a company in the food industry might support an agroforestry project for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

3. Are there SDGs that are particularly aligned with the values of the company, or are they all equally valid?

Example: a company with a largely female target group might support a project that focuses on promoting women and girls.

4. What long-term targets and strategies does the company pursue in relation to sustainability and climate protection, and how can the selected project contribute to that?

Example: a company that aims to reduce its own packaging waste over the long term might support projects that promote the circular economy.

Summary

The climate protection projects that myclimate develops and supports are selected and guided according to the criteria set out above. Supporting these projects financially means taking responsibility for your own emissions and attaching a price to them in line with the “polluter pays” principle within (carbon insetting) or outside the company’s own value chain (beyond value chain mitigation). The projects are demonstrably effective, they have an immediate impact and they are fair – but for a comprehensive climate strategy, they are just one of many paving stones on the path to net zero.

That’s why, no matter which climate protection project a company chooses, myclimate always recommends a combination of internal and external measures for reducing emissions. Ideally, companies will pursue a net-zero strategy for reducing and preventing their own emissions. At the same time, they can offer climate education measures to their employees. These efforts form a complement to financing of climate protection projects. It is this combination that ensures effective climate protection and enables credible, transparent communication of this commitment to the outside world.

You can find more information on integrated climate commitment on our page Climate protection in companies.

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