FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Carbon Offset Certification was established to respond to the demand for credibility in environmental claims through a certification process based on recognised standards for GHG emissions calculation (GHG Protocol, PAS2050, ISO14064), verification by an independent third-party (ISO 14025), and high criteria offset (ICVCM Core Carbon Principles, CORSIA aligned). This requires a clear separation of roles in the calculation verification, offset and certification steps to avoid any conflict of interest.
Carbon Offset Certification is aligned with stricter regulation fighting greenwashing (e.g. EU Green Claims directive) that bans all generic misleading claims like ‘Carbon Neutral’, ‘Climate Neutral’, ‘Green’ for products or services that carbon footprint have been offset.
Carbon Offset Certification is a solution to develop robust ‘green marketing’ strategies while mitigating reputational and financial risk due to greenwashing charges
There is a growing demand for decarbonized commodities, products, or services from companies based on corporate envrionemental objectives, financers pression of clients demands.
Carbon Offset Certification provides a robust certification and label that companies can communicate to partners to ensure high quality and credibility of environmental claims based on best practices and recognised standards and so to avoid risk of criticism and backlash.
Sustainable finance refers to financing arrangements based on environmental criteria. Carbon Offset Certification is a solution for financiers to assess transactions or services that carbon footprint have been mitigated trhough an independent third-party certificaiton standard
COC collaborates with a number of institutions who are considering COC certification as part of their criteria for sustainable financing.
Carbon Offset Certification is a fully independent initiative. Independence is a Carbon Offset Certification core principle.
Carbon Offset Certification team supports companies in their journey to carbon neutrality by offering project management services, documentation on governance processes, third-party assurance coordination and development of offset strategies.
Any advisory services provided by COC team will be rigorously managed to ensure there is no real or perceived conflict of interest of a COC certificate.
It is important to remember that a third-party independent assessment (by leading certification/audit company) is required as part of the COC certification process.
The certification cost is a function of the commodity, product or service itself, and the number of transactions to certify.
In most instances, the main cost to be considered by the company is the offset itself via the acquisition of eligible high criteria carbon reduction certificates.
COC would be pleased to discuss pricing based on your specific circumstances.
COC certification can be acquired by any stakeholder for a transaction. We are working with commodity producers, industries, aviation and maritime companies and financial institutions who want to demonstrate good practice in environemntal claims with a third party verified process to calculate and offset GHG emissions.
‘Greenwashing’ is defined as marketing spin to deceptively persuade the public and consumers of environmental credentials.
COC certification aims to provide quality, integrity and transparency to environmental claims. Accurate calculation of GHG emissions is a key foundation while transparency and a communication aligned to strciter regulation is essential to avoid any risk of backlash.
Communicating about ‘green’, ‘carbon neutral’, ‘climate neutral’, ‘eco-friendly’ or other misleading generic wording is considered as greenwashing by stricter regulation (e.g. EU Green Claims directive) and can expose companies to backlash and greenwashing charges and reputational (or financial) risks.
COC is not a MRV (Measure, Report Verify) service provider, and does not sell offset certificates (i.e. carbon credits).
Separation of roles is essential to garantee independency of a credible certification standard, and tto avoid any conflict of interest.
COC integrates ISO14064 definition:
Verification: process for evaluating a statement of historical data and information to determine if the statement is materially correct and conforms to criteria.
Validation: process for evaluating the reasonableness of the assumptions, limitations and methods that support a statement
Verifier/Validator: competent and impartial person verifying and/or validating
The COC certification process involves both verification and validation of GHG calculations/measurements for specific commodity transactions, products or services. COC certification process requires an independent third-party assurance to ensure that the information used is materially correct and that reasonable assumptions, limitations and methods have been used in the GHG footprint calculation
Carbon Offset Certification provides a transparent protocol, based on recognised standards (GHG Protocol, PAS 2060, PAS2050, ISO14025, ISO14064) to define GHG emissions and boundaries to be considered.
To achieve the certification emissions of the seven main greenhouse gases as covered by the UNFCCC have to be calculated: carbon dioxide (CO2); methane (CH4); nitrous oxide (N2O); hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs); perfluorocarbons (PFCs); sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), nitrogen trifluoride (NF3).
Carbon Offset Certification covers cradle-to-gate or cradle-to-grave commodities life ccyle, cradle-to-shelf products llife-cycle, and all the processes to deliver services. Direct emissions (scope 1) and emissions related to energy use (scope 2) have to be duly calculated, verified and offset for each step of the life-cycle (including Land Use Change).
Yes, but with a few exclusions. Carbon Offset Certification is not available to commodities that are not considered to be in line with the energy transition and contemporary thinking on meeting climate impact goals. As a result, Carbon Offset Certification is not available for thermal coal transactions. Other exclusions may be considered for commodities or transactions considered as in contradiction with the value and environmental objectives of the Carbon Offset Certification intiative.
The voluntary carbon market is an over-the-counter non-standardized market where private investors, organizations and companies can voluntarily purchase carbon reduction certificates to mitigate their own GHG emissions footprint.
There are various standards in the voluntary carbon market with different criteria and requirements to issue certificates. The use of voluntary carbon offsets is considered to be an effective means to tackle climate change, reduce global GHG reduction and drive flows of finance to communities and projects with other environmental benefits.
The Paris Agreement Article 6 expressed a need for a standardisation and organisation of the voluntary market on a transparent and robust basis.
Carbon Offset Certification requirements are aligned with good practice criteria for high quality carbon offset certificates as currently held by the leading think tanks and organisations in this area.
While there is some variance in standards there is general consensus on criteria to define high quality carbon reduction certificates. They require those certificates to be issued for projects that:
- Are additional
- Are permanent
- Are based on a realistic and credible baseline
- Are quantified, monitored, reported, and verified
- Have a clear and transparent chain of custody
- Avoid GHG emissions displacement
- Are only counted once towards a mitigation obligation
- Do no net harm
For example, and further reading please refer to the Core Carbon Principles (CCPs) as listed by the Intergrity Council for Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM).
Carbon Offset Certification recognises as eligible a short list of standards with additional exclusion and restriction to guarantee alignment with these CCPs. These are listed in the COC protocol.
Carbon Offset Certification does not certify transactions or services based on all Environmental, Social and Governance issues related to a life-cycle. It responds to the demand for credible claims for decarbonized supply chains or services by measuring and offsetting GHG emissions and associated Land Use Change impacts. Carbon Offset Certification certificates will be issued for transactions and companies that meet general ESG criteria and who are committed to an overall climate impact reduction plan aligned with Carbon Offset Certification values.
Carbon Offset Certification offers two specific types of certification for commodity transaction(s) as defined in PAS2050 – specification for the assessment of the life cycle GHG emissions of goods and services.
Cradle-to-Gate: Prodution to delivery
Cradle-to-Grave: Production to end-use
Cradle-to-Gate certification guarantees emissions related to a commodity buyer’s upstream scope 3 are accurately calculated, verified and offset.
Cradle-to-Grave certification guarantees all the emissions related to these commodities (scope 3 but also scope 1: direct emissions) are calculated, verified and offset.
COC has established a network of third-party assessors who can provide global coverage and who bring specific sector expertise. COC use third party assessors that do not have conflicts with the client organisation or transaction. For example, if a company has been involved in developing the GHG calculation/measurements for a specific client COC recommends another competent independent verification body to provide third-party assessment.
Leading scientists have stated that to limit global warming to 1.5DegC, the world must halve existing GHG emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero by 2050. Absolute emission reductions should be the primary way of achieving this. As this transition happens, however, it is recognised that current emissions that have not yet been abated should be decarbonised using quality carbon offsets. COC supports this by providing a transparent, publicly available certification of carbon offset commodity or product transactions, or services. As perceived suitability of offsets is defined COC will adjust accordingly, e.g. if removal offsets are decided to be beneficial rather than reduction offsets.
We recognised that methodologies to measure and report GHG emissions, and offset standards will change and evolve.
For example, the Oxford Principles for Net Zero Aligned Carbon offsetting is leading the charge to move acceptability of carbon offsets from carbon emission reduction-based offsets to Carbon Removal based offsets.
The Carbon Offset Certification protocol is reviewed annually to take in account evolution of standards and methodologies to drive good practices and maintain a high level of credibility and underlying quality of its certificate.
To that end, Carbon Offset Certification will continue to collaborate with a wide spectrum of experts in GHG measurement, carbon neutrality, offsets and certification procedures.
Carbon Offset Certification requires a company to calculate and justify the calculation of the GHG footprint. These justifications must be accurate and based on recognised methodologies and standards. A third-party independent assurance provider verifies the calculation as following good practice for the processes in question and the materiality of those justifications.
In the meantime, COC collaborates with a vast array of companies, institutions and individuals working on GHG calculation and measurement and carbon offset programs to establish its certification protocol. Some of the key relationships are represented in COC Advisory Board.
COC will assess the current perception of good practice in GHG calculation for specific industries through consultation with relevant industry experts e.g. data provenance and emission factors and for quality offsets as these are defined by the regional and global bodies developing these standards.
COC aims to provide certificates over the quality of GHG calculations and associated voluntary carbon offsets for specific commodity transactions, products or services.
In many instances COC team works with clients on their governance processes associated with these certifications, e.g. the development of:
- reporting templates,
- policies and procedures for their teams to follow for GHG accounting
- automation solutions
- offsetting strategies relevant to their corporate narrative
Carbon Offset Certification does not certify transactions or services based on all Environmental, Social and Governance issues related to a commodity, product or service’s life-cycle. It responds to the demand for carbon offset supply chains by calculating and offsetting GHG emissions and associated Land Use Change impacts. Certificates are issued for transactions and companies that meet general ESG criteria and who are committed to an overall climate impact reduction plan aligned with Carbon Offset Certification values.
We are committed to equal opportunities and are supportive of the LQBTQ+ community. As we grow, we will apply selection criteria for staff recruitment and suppliers to ensure that we are representative of the diversity of the industry community and that we are fair and equitable.
Carbon insetting is a notion referring to carbon reduction within the sphere of influence of a company.
For example, for a commodity trader a carbon insetting project is a project that enables reduction of GHG emissions within the lifecycle of the commodity the company trades.
Some insetting projects have carbon reduction certificates issued by recognised standards in the same manner and condition as certificates related to offset projects. Those carbon reduction certificates can be used for COC certification as long as they are issued by the eligible standards and meet condition of vintage year and permanent retirement as required in the COC certification protocol.
Carbon credits are generated via certified projects that aim to reduce or avoid greenhouse gas emissions.
To generate carbon credits, projects must follow criteria and be certified by third party agencies such as Verra or Gold Standard. The number and value of the carbon credits differ from one project to another and are registered into a public registry.
These credits can then be bought by companies or individuals to offset their own carbon emissions.
The offset take place at the moment carbon credits are retired from the registry, in order to avoid any double counting.
Scope 1 emissions: Direct emissions from operations that are owned or controlled by the reporting company.
Scope 2 emissions: Indirect emissions from the generation of purchased or acquired electricity, steam, heat or cooling consumed by the reporting company.
Scope 3 emissions: All indirect emissions (not included in scope 2) that occur in the value chain of the reporting company or organisation, including both upstream and downstream emissions.
However, it is important to understand that the scopes are seen from an entity point of view:
i.e. For a coffee transaction from a producer to a buyer (CIF). For the Producer, the scope 1 and 2 will include the production to the delivery of the goods. Whereas for the buyer, the production to the delivery will be part of its scope 3.