The New Zealand Ministry for the Environment (MfE) has published interim guidance for voluntary climate change mitigation.
Native CCUs are designed to ensure transparency and long-term traceability.
Each CCU has a unique ID and date stamp, and can be traced back to the original forest using CarbonTrace. This provides clarity, visibility and accountability within the buying process.
Our detailed methodology is published on our website for anyone to review.
The details of the source of [the offset] and how the voluntary action meets the other five principles [outlined below] should be clearly stated and publicly available.
Real, measurable & verified
We pay for performance, not promises.
Native CCUs represent a tonne of CO2 removed from the atmosphere for 100 years. International guidelines say that credits, where a payment is made for a future reduction, are not a valid carbon offset.
We only recognise carbon removed from the atmosphere and never 'avoided' or 'reduced' emissions, whose offsets won't get us to net-zero.
We use AI and aerial and satellite imagery to accurately measure and verify vast areas of high biodiversity forest down to one square metre resolution. These assessments are further supported and calibrated by verified field surveys.
Our methodology and the data behind each CCU are independently auditable by third parties.
We conduct identity and ownership checks as we don’t own the land or forest ourselves. We maintain a register of CCUs on issue, which third parties can verify on request.
The offset represents a tonne of CO2 (or equivalent) emissions reduced or removed from the atmosphere, from tangible activities that have been implemented.
The reduction or removal is supported by evidence from credible monitoring and reporting and should be verified by a third party to a reputable, and publicly disclosed, carbon standard (including the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme).
CarbonCrop’s Native CCUs are Additional as assessed by ICVCM guidelines. Native CCUs are aligned with guidelines for both Financial and Regulatory Additionality presented in the ICVCM draft Core Carbon Principles and Assessment Framework, in that sequestration is at risk without the incentive of carbon finance, and is dependent on carbon revenue to be economically viable.
Note: The Integrity Council for Voluntary Carbon Markets (ICVCM) is a global independent governance body for the voluntary carbon market. We use their newly released operational guidance on the important principle of additionality. We understand that MfE is updating their guidance for clearer and more consistent application and expect it will also align with the ICVCM guidance. The ICVCM guidance is currently released in draft state for feedback from global stakeholders - we expect to make further updates to ensure alignment following the release of final guidance in Q4.
Principle: The greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions or removals from the mitigation activity shall be additional, i.e., they would not have occurred in the absence of the incentive created by carbon credit revenues.
Financial additionality: the expected revenue from carbon credits makes the activity economically viable.
Regulatory additionality: if an activity is already regulated, it should not be credited.
The Assessment Framework assesses the overall likelihood of additionality for the type of carbon credit based on the typical financial viability.
A mitigation activity is considered to have a high likelihood of being additional because, i.e., it is fully dependent on carbon credit revenues.
MFE high level guidance - for comparison
The greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions or removals are due to a specific intervention and would not have occurred under business as usual.
This means the voluntary offset cannot be issued for an action or activity that was going to happen anyway, something that is already required under existing regulation or incentivised by other policy measures.
Not being double-used
We maintain a register of all CCUs issued (and cancelled, where applicable), uniquely identifying the location and data of issuance. We then perform checks against the MfE LUCAS dataset, NZ ETS registrations, and major international voluntary project registers to confirm there is no overlap of issuances.
Double counting is a major risk in carbon offsetting globally. We think technology can help and are working on a process to streamline detecting this worldwide, and intend to make it openly available.
Organisations must ensure the GHG emission reductions or removals are only used once to achieve emissions reduction targets or for compliance.
Native CCU criteria significantly reduce the risk of leakage. We do not issue CCUs for avoided emissions or avoided deforestation. We only issue CCUs for areas where restoration isn’t likely to result in agricultural conversions elsewhere.
The activity of reducing or removing emissions within the boundary of the offset activity does not result in increases to emissions elsewhere.
When Native CCUs are issued, the landholder agrees to maintain sequestration for 100 years from that date. This is a binding agreement and is required to be transferred on change of ownership.
We monitor this commitment ongoing, and if the forest is deliberately cleared, landholders are contractually responsible for replacing the offsets.
We hold back 10% of each offset distribution, we hold back 10% of the total CCUs in a cross-project ‘buffer’ pool. This acts as insurance for all our landholders to access in the instance of any accidents that reverse the forest’s sequestration ability, such as storm damage.
This is consistent with best practices across the voluntary forest offset sector.
Reductions or removals must be maintained over time and be unlikely to be reversed. Any subsequent reversal of credited climate change mitigation must be fully compensated for.