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What standards do our climate offset projects meet?

myclimate applies only the strictest independent quality standards when choosing and designing its own carbon offset projects. International projects are primarily certified according to Gold Standard and Plan Vivo, and selected projects also according to VCS (incl. CCB and/or SD-VISta). Swiss projects are certified according to the guidelines of the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN)/Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) or the Swiss VER (Voluntary Emission Reductions) guidelines.

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 carbon offset 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 closely with experienced and independent partners in the respective countries to implement carbon offset projects. These local partners make sure that local projects are realised professionally, and they also regularly review the projects’ impact. In addition, carbon offset projects are reviewed annually by another independent, external body. 


International climate protection projects

Gold Standard 

The Gold Standard is an independent quality standard that recognises high-quality carbon offsetting projects. It was established in 2003 by the WWF and other environmental protection organisations to ensure that projects within the scope of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) as well as voluntary offsetting 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 

Plan Vivo was established in 1996 and is the oldest standard for the certification of carbon offset 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.  

 

VCS 

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 exclusively accepts VCS projects in the area of land usage (LUF) into its portfolio, 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. 

 

CDM 

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 could offset these against 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 carbon offset 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 from the time of the Kyoto Protocol are only valid if they have an issue date of 2020 or older. Certificates with a more recent date already fall under the regulations of the Paris Climate 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 the Voluntary CO2 Market in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein  

The myclimate guidelines serve as the basis for the development of climate protection projects in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. The guidelines, which were developed based on the strict specifications of the Gold Standard and the Swiss implementation notice of the FOEN and the SFOE, are tailored to domestic projects. These guidelines distinguish between two types of projects: VER (Verified Emission Reduction) projects, which is also used to award the myclimate "climate neutral" label, and reduction projects (ER projects), which is focused on achieving a commitment to regional climate protection. All projects for offsetting are reviewed by independent, external auditors and, due to double counting with the federal government and the lack of certification under an official standard, are provided with certificates from international carbon offset projects. 

You can find further exciting information on the subject of climate change and climate protection in our climate booklet

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