Offset & Accounting Standards

Carbonzero’s Signature Offset Portfolio is sourced from projects which reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support the local communities in which they are originated.

All Carbonzero offsets are additional, quantified, verified by independent third parties and registered on the Canadian Standards Association CleanProjects registry or similar. We provide clients with a variety of offset projects which are governed by internationally recognized standards.

Carbonzero has been independently recognized as the top provider of Made-in-Canada carbon offsets by the David Suzuki Foundation and the Pembina Institute.

Carbonzero offset portfolio

Carbonzero’s Signature Portfolio includes high-quality, ISO-based offsets in addition to CCBA, and VER+, and can build a customized carbon offset portfolio to meet your needs.

Each of the carbon offset standards listed below are subject to three components:

  • Accounting Standards
  • Monitoring, Verification and Certification Standards
  • Registration and Enforcement Systems

The VER+ is a carbon offset standard and closely follows the Kyoto Protocol’s project-based mechanisms (CDM and JI).
The VER+ standard was developed by TÜV SÜD, a Designated Operational Entity (DOE) for the validation and verification of CDM projects. It was designed for project developers who have projects that cannot be implemented under CDM, yet who want to use procedures similar to the CDM. The VER+ was launched in mid-2007. The revised version 2 of the VER+ Standard was launched in My 2008. Any DOE/AIE accredited for corresponding scopes under UNFCCC may carry out validations and verifications for VER+ projects.

The Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCB) is a partnership between leading companies, NGOs and research institutes seeking to promote integrated solutions to land management around the world. With this goal in mind, the CCB has developed voluntary standards to help design and identify land management activities that simultaneously minimize climate change, support sustainable development and conserve biodiversity.

ISO 14064-2 specifies principles and requirements and provides guidance at the project level for quantification, monitoring and reporting of activities intended to cause greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions or removal enhancements. It includes requirements for planning a GHG project, identifying and selecting GHG sources, sinks and reservoirs relevant to the project and baseline scenario, monitoring, quantifying, documenting and reporting GHG project performance and managing data quality.

Carbonzero offset cost distribution

The proportion and distribution of your investment varies according to the project type and standard associated with each offset project. Additional costs to consider when purchasing carbon offsets are advertising, broker fees, outreach, staff salaries and operating costs, among others. Please see the chart below for our average offset cost distribution:

Carbonzero tenets of an offset

All Carbonzero’s projects adhere to the following:

  • REAL — Emissions reduction or removal must be created by a specific project. The benefit must be real and reliably ascribed to a project activity — not theoretical
  • QUANTIFIABLE — Must be able to precisely account for the tonnes of CO2 equivalent reduced or removed by the project.
  • VERIFIABLE — Because of the value being placed on an intangible asset (one tonne of CO2 equivalent that is NOT in the atmosphere), one must be able to prove the reduction has occurred, and that it was the result of the project activity. All tenets of an offset must be audited before that offset is ready for use. Depending on the nature of the project, we select offsets verified to different standards, with priority currently given to ISO-14064-2 project origination standards, ISO-14064-3 project verification standards, VER+, and CCBA.
  • AUDITABLE — Verification/Validation reports delivered by accredited 3rd party verifiers.
  • REGISTERED — When possible, all projects are registered, serialized and retired publicly with the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) CleanProjects, Markit, BlueRegistry or similar reputable project registries in order to avoid double-counting or the sale of offsets to more than one entity.
  • CONSERVATIVE — In a similar vein to the requirement for verifiability, using conservative approaches to estimation, measurement and monitoring ensures that an offset is sound. One must always choose the path that does not lead to overestimation.
  • PERMANENT — The beneficial action of an offset to the atmosphere must be durable and lasting. Offsets that result from reduced use of fossil fuels are often considered permanent by default. Because protection and restoration of forests and natural systems are also critical to stopping climate change, a variety of methods have been established to show permanence. Along with smart project design, the creation of a buffer pool of unsold offsets and/or the purchase of re-emission insurance can be utilized for this purpose.
  • ADDITIONAL — The reduction or removal of greenhouse gasses by a project must be shown to be dependent on the expectation of revenues or removal of barriers caused by the fact that the project is being undertaken for offsets. This is to ensure that the offset really equals a true “-1” counterbalance to the pollution it is offsetting, rather than an emissions reduction that would have happened anyway. Projects must go beyond “business as usual” to generate offsets. The Additionality of all of Carbonzero’s projects is assessed using the CDM Additionality Tool.
  • LOCAL — Climate change is a global problem but many wish to make their solutions local. Carbonzero has built capacity to source projects in the sectors and regions that suit our clients best. We supply ‘made-in-Canada’ offsets to our home-country clients, and are processing country-specific offsets for clients worldwide.
  • FORWARD LOOKING — In addition to adherence to carbon market best practices, Carbonzero is committed to sourcing and developing projects that move climate change endeavours forward.
  • PROVIDES CO-BENEFITS — Wherever possible, Carbonzero looks to maximize the value associated with socially responsible projects by selecting ones that have a direct and positive impact on their local communities to provide the highest value to our clients.
  • ACCESSIBLE — Proponents must allow for annual visits to project sites, and spot check audits on available and sold offset volumes.


GHG accounting protocols

Carbonzero utilizes international standards when we undertake a complete, consistent, accurate and transparent account of an organization’s carbon footprint. These standards are widely used by greenhouse gas emissions experts across the world. These accounting protocols are known as ISO-14064-1 and the WRI/WBCSD GHG Accounting Protocol. Both standards are complimentary to one another.

CAN/CSA ISO 14064

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) publishes international standards on a variety of subjects every year. Carbonzero utilizes the framework greenhouse gases for the following sections that are outlined in ISO-14064 and associated with the Canadian Standards Association (CSA):

ISO 14064-1: Specifies the principles and requirements at the organization level for quantification and reporting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and removals. It includes requirements for the design, development, management, reporting and verification of an organization's GHG inventory.

ISO 14064-3: Specifies principles and requirements and provides guidance for those conducting or managing the validation and/or verification of greenhouse gas (GHG) assertions. It can be applied to organizational or GHG project quantification, including GHG quantification, monitoring and reporting carried out in accordance with ISO 14064-1 or ISO 14064-2. This is done through specific requirements for selecting GHG validators/verifiers, establishing the level of assurance, objectives, criteria and scope, determining the validation/verification approach, assessing GHG data, information, information systems and controls, evaluating GHG assertions and preparing validation/verification statements.

World Resource Institute (WRI/WBSCD GHG Accounting Protocol)

The main goal of WRI is to protect the global climatic system from further harm caused from greenhouse gas emissions, and assist in human adaptation to climate change that seems to be unavoidable. WRI created the most widely used accounting tool, the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol), for governments, educational groups and business to understand, quantify, and manage GHG emissions. Included in these accounting procedures are credible and effective emissions accounting and reduction programs that can be used for addressing and minimizing climate change.




Offset and Accounting Standards last updated: October 14, 2011