Among other elements, this means that the following criteria are fulfilled in all cases:
- additionality (the project could not happen without financing from CO₂ certificates);
- long-term duration (a minimum duration must be ensured);
- avoidance of double-counting (CO₂ certificates can under no circumstances be counted twice);
- validation through third-parties (projects must be certified by a third party)
The projects reduce emissions by replacing fossil energy sources with renewable energy or by promoting energy-efficient technologies. Alongside this kind of compensation, sustainable projects always create social benefits for the local population as well. For instance, jobs are created, the infrastructure is improved or health risks are eliminated.
We work 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 undergo an annual review by another independent, external body.
Gold Standard is an independent quality standard that recognises high-quality CO₂ compensation projects. It was established in 2003 by WWF and other environmental protection organisations to ensure that projects within the scope both of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and of voluntary compensation meet the highest quality standards. Alongside CO₂ reduction, projects that are recognised by the Gold Standard also contribute to sustainable development in the respective project localities.
Plan Vivo came to life in 1996 and is the oldest standard for certification of climate protection projects in the field of land usage. Reforestation and forest utilisation projects receive this label when they meet especially high demands. On the one hand, the projects have to be based and organised locally and the small-scale farming families have to receive at least 60% of the climate protection money. On the other hand, the projects have to pursue a holistic approach, fighting deforestation and poverty while focussing on reforestation. It is these qualities that make Plan Vivo one of the most credible and strongest standards worldwide.
CER / VER
CER and VER projects are reviewed by a UN-recognised organisation as well as other independent organisations. Carbon credits were conceived as a mechanism for environmentally sound development; they are one of three flexible mechanisms for reducing greenhouse gas emissions set forth in the Kyoto Protocol. The goal is to support developing countries in achieving sustainable development and to prevent dangerous climate change. In this way, the mechanism helps to make sure that emissions reduction is carried out where the costs are lowest. As a result, the economic burden of fulfilling the Kyoto goals is smaller. 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 supports industrialised countries in fulfilling their quantified emissions limitation and reduction commitments from the Kyoto Protocol. Countries are issued Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) for measures that use this mechanism to reduce emissions. CERs can be credited to industrialised countries toward their reduction goals. A CER represents an emissions reduction of one ton of CO₂ equivalents. In contrast, Voluntary Emission Reductions (VERs) are exchanged on a voluntary basis. Companies can take part in these projects as well, but they are not counted toward Kyoto Protocol commitments.