Elements of a High-Quality Carbon Credit
May 23, 2024

By ACR at Winrock International

Ensuring carbon credit quality is central to ACR’s work. It is a fundamental reason ACR has been a trusted partner in carbon markets since 1996 when we were founded as the world’s first private greenhouse gas registry.

But what determines a high-quality carbon credit?

The ACR Standard and our portfolio of methodologies ensure that the carbon credits ACR issues represent emission reductions and removals that are real, additional, determined by robust quantification, net of leakage, permanent, independently verified, transparent, and that there is no double counting. These terms are typically used to define a carbon credit that is high quality.

To help stakeholders communicate about high-quality carbon credits, ACR created an infographic that simply and accurately defines the key terms:

  • Real: Emissions reductions and removals have been verified to have occurred (ex-post). Ex-post is the industry term for an emission reduction that has already occurred.
  • Additional: Emissions reductions or removals are beyond what would have occurred in the absence of the project activity and under a business-as-usual scenario.
  • Robust quantification: Emissions reductions or removals are measurable against a conservative baseline, accurate, and take account of uncertainty.
  • Net of leakage: Emissions reductions or removals take into account any increase in emissions outside the project boundary due to activities taken by the project.
  • Permanent: Emissions reductions or removals are permanent or there are binding measures to mitigate and compensate for reversals.
  • Independently verified: Emissions reductions or removals are validated and verified by a qualified, accredited, and independent third party.
  • Transparent: There is publicly available information on the methodology, the projects, and credits.
  • No double counting: There are protections to ensure credits are only issued and used once.

To promote clarity, consistency, accuracy, and impact in the marketplace, we encourage you to use the infographic in your communications.

You can download the infographic on high-quality carbon credits here.

About the author: ACR is a leading carbon crediting program operating in global compliance and voluntary carbon markets. Founded in 1996 as the first private voluntary GHG registry in the world, ACR has a quarter century of expertise in ensuring carbon credit quality and a proven track record in innovation and continuous improvement.

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