All projects in the myclimate portfolio must meet the following criteria:
- Additionality: The project would not be implemented without funding through carbon credits
- Permanence: A minimum duration must be guaranteed.
- Exclusion of double-counting: In order for the climate protection effect to be directly measurable, there must be precise accounting for the greenhouse gas emissions saved and the credits retired.
- Validation by third parties: The projects must be certified by an independent body.
- Independently of such standards, myclimate subjects all projects to a strict internal due diligence process that also covers environmental integrity.
The projects demonstrably reduce emissions by replacing fossil fuels that are harmful to the climate with renewable energy sources or by promoting more energy-efficient technologies, as well as by lowering methane emissions, or by avoiding or storing CO₂ emissions using natural sinks. The myclimate portfolio ranges from solar plants and drinking water treatment facilities to composting, recycling and efficient stove projects, and from forest conservation, reforestation and nature restoration initiatives to wetland restoration projects.
Alongside the measurable saving of greenhouse gas emissions, the projects always bring about improvements for the local population and the environment. For instance, jobs are created, the infrastructure is improved or health risks mitigated. Biodiversity in the project region is protected and education opportunities improved for the local population. myclimate demonstrates transparently which of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) each individual project contributes to.
myclimate works usually closely with experienced and independent partners in the respective countries to implement climate protection projects. These local partners make sure that local projects are realised professionally, and they also regularly review the projects’ impact. In addition, climate protection projects are reviewed annually (five-yearly in the LUF sector) by another independent, external body.
International climate protection projects
The Gold Standard is an independent quality standard that recognises high-quality climate protection projects. It was established in 2003 by the WWF and other environmental protection organisations to ensure that projects within the scope of the UN Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and within the framework of the voluntary financing of climate protection projects meet the highest quality standards. Alongside the actual CO₂ reduction, projects that are recognised by the Gold Standard also contribute to sustainable development in the respective project region and thus the SDGs of the United Nations (UN).
Plan Vivo was established in 1996 and is the oldest standard for the certification of climate protection projects in the area of land usage. It was developed specially to give small-scale farmers access to the carbon market. Forest conservation, reforestation and forest utilisation projects receive this label when they meet especially high demands. The projects are based and organised locally, and the small-scale farming families receive at least 60 per cent of the climate protection money. What’s more, the projects have to pursue a holistic approach, fighting deforestation and poverty while focussing on reforestation. The standard promotes pragmatic climate protection solutions based on participatory approaches that place communities and small-scale farmers at the heart of the solutions. It is these qualities that make Plan Vivo one of the most credible and strongest standards worldwide.
The Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), formerly the Voluntary Carbon Standard, is a standard for certification of CO₂ emissions reduction from the organisation VERRA, founded in 2007, and is currently the most widespread standard on the voluntary carbon market. myclimate only includes very selected VCS projects in its portfolio, mainly from the land use sector (LUF), and only where these are also certified with the CCB (Climate, Community & Biodiversity) and/or SD-VISta standard (Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard). Customary and legal rights must be recognised and respected, free, prior and informed consent must be obtained, and direct and indirect costs, benefits and risks must be assessed and monitored. Furthermore, precious natural assets must be preserved and a positive net effect guaranteed for the climate, the local community and biodiversity overall.
The CDM rules are currently in a transitional phase. Up until 2020, CDM projects were reviewed by one of the bodies recognised by the United Nations and other independent bodies. As part of the Clean Development Mechanism, the credits were conceived as one of the three flexible mechanisms for reducing greenhouse gas emissions set forth in the Kyoto Protocol. The goal was to support developing countries in achieving sustainable development and to help to prevent climate change. The mechanism was thus intended to help realise emissions reductions in areas where the costs are lowest, meaning the economic burden for meeting the Kyoto targets is lower. The basic idea is that the place where emissions are reduced is of secondary importance. From a global perspective, the decisive consideration is that emissions are lower. This helped industrialised countries to meet their quantified emissions limitation and reduction commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. Measures implemented as part of this mechanism to reduce emissions generated emissions certificates known as Certified Emission Reductions (CERs). Industrialized countries can then count them towards their reduction targets. A CER represents an emissions reduction of one tonne of CO₂ equivalents. The successor to the CERs is likely to be credits with corresponding adjustments. For ongoing CDM projects and programs (PoA) that are registered to complete the transition to the new mechanism under Article 6, paragraph 4 of the Paris Agreement, various conditions apply (see chapter XI.A. Transition of Clean Development Mechanism activities).
From Kyoto to Paris to Glasgow
In order to maintain the international climate protection process after 2020, following the expiry of the Kyoto Protocol, a new climate agreement became necessary. This was adopted in 2015 at the climate protection conference in Paris as the “Paris Agreement”. COP26 in Glasgow in 2021 saw the adoption of Article 6, which relates to climate protection projects in its regulation of emission reductions between states (6.2) and between states and private individuals (6.4.), i.e. the so-called voluntary market. Certificates from the voluntary market generated up to 2020 (vintage 2020 or older) are still covered by the Kyoto Protocol. Certificates of more recent date are already covered by the rules and regulations of the Paris Agreement.
Domestic Climate Protection Projects in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein
Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) / Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) for the Compliance Carbon Markets Offsetting Market in Switzerland
The CO₂ Act and the associated CO₂ Ordinance form the legal basis for the implementation of CO₂ offset projects in the mandatory CO₂ market in Switzerland. The Federal Office for the Environment FOEN, in collaboration with the Federal Office of Energy SFOE, has drawn up recommendations for the implementation of these legal provisions and set them out in the implementation notice "Domestic Emission Reduction Projects".
myclimate Guidelines for Domestic Projects
The "myclimate Guidelines for Domestic Projects" serve as the basis for the development of climate protection projects in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, for which no official standard is available. The "myclimate Guidelines for Domestic Projects" were developed on the basis of the strict specifications of the Gold Standard, the Swiss enforcement communication of the FOEN and the SFOE. They serve as the basis both for voluntary climate protection contributions with or without the myclimate label “Engaged for Impact”, and for regional climate protection for companies. All projects under the guidelines are reviewed by independent, external auditors, except for very small regional climate protection projects that myclimate validates and verifies in-house. All projects under these guidelines, except for projects for regional climate protection (see below), are backed up with certificates from international climate protection projects to ensure quality.
Regional climate protection for businesses
Regional climate protection focuses on achieving a commitment to climate protection in the vicinity. Here, too, the "myclimate Guidelines for Domestic Projects" serve as a basis for development. The myclimate label «Engaged for Impact» is not applicable. This is because these projects are not certified by an external standard and the climate protection contribution to the projects can be made independently of previously balanced, operational emissions.
You can find further exciting information on the subject of climate change and climate protection in our climate booklet