Offset your emissions

Choose Native CarbonCrop units and support biodiversity, native New Zealand forests and our rural communities.

What makes a Native CarbonCrop Unit?

1

tonne of CO2 as assessed by CarbonCrop’s methodology.

Removed from the atmosphere within the last 5 years.

Regardless of the initial establishment date of that forest.

Durably stored in the growing biomass of regenerating native forest.

A binding obligation on the landholder to ensure CO2 stays sequestered for the next 100 years.

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How does a Native CCU compare against best practice?

The New Zealand Ministry for the Environment has published helpful interim guidance for voluntary climate change mitigation.

Our Native CCUs are designed to ensure transparency and long term traceability are preserved. Each CCU has a unique ID and can be traced back to the original forest, and date of sequestration, providing clarity, visibility and accountability within the buying process.

Our methodology is published on our website for anyone to review.

Additional functionality will be available shortly to make this information easily accessible via our website, but in the interim, if you’d like further details please contact us at hello@carboncrop.nz

MfE Guidelines

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.

Transparency

 

Real, measurable and verified

MfE Guidelines

Our Native CCUs represent a tonne of CO2 removed from the atmosphere and that must remain sequestered, rather than an avoided emission or a commitment to perform a future action. We are able to measure and verify this using artificial intelligence applied to aerial and satellite data which means we can measure vast areas of high biodiversity forest, with a resolution down to one square metre. These assessments are further supported and calibrated by verified field surveys. 

 

Our methodology and the data behind each CCU is independently auditable by third parties. 

 

We issue CCUs to registered landholders following identity and ownership checks and assessment of carbon sequestration using our methodology and tools. We don’t own the land or forest ourselves. We maintain a register of CCUs on issue, which can be verified by third parties 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).

 

Additionality

In our view, the additionality principle is complicated due to the subjective nature of needing to prove intent. Even the Gold Standard acknowledges that “definitions of additionality vary” and that testing for additionality is “not a perfect science”.

 

For carbon removals from forest, we issue CCUs for carbon removed through the recent growth of native forest, on the basis that the units issued boost the incentives to increase forest carbon sequestration and strengthen the guarantees of sequestration permanence.

 

We calculate clear historic baselines regarding carbon stock based on the historic land use prior to the most recent native forest restoration activity, and also set a clear temporal baseline boundary of [4] years pre-registration.

 

Our approach increases certainty of recognition of sequestration, which creates economic incentives that encourage and enable both ongoing and increased action. Landholders are more likely - and able - to implement steps that increase their carbon removals from their forests if they can rely on being compensated for doing so, rather than at risk of being excluded from the market by highly subjective criteria. The landholder still faces the risk that their actions are unsuccessful in sequestering carbon, but the requirements are at least clear.

 

We think additionality tests are notoriously unreliable and inaccurate. While CCUs issued to our projects do not always meet the strict definition of additionality (although many will),  in our view this is also true in practice for offsets issued under various methodologies of many major compliance and voluntary carbon standards.

 

Some published reports suggest as many as 52% of units issued failed because of lack of additionality. This Quartz investigation from 2021 is a good example - note the extensive references to offsets awarded for questionable avoided deforestation, a practice CarbonCrop explicitly does not engage in.


Additionality is most critical in the context of offsets issued for emissions reductions, where an action to reduce carbon emissions is claimed to have only been taken because of financial incentives attached to carbon offsets. These actions never suck carbon out of the atmosphere in even the best possible scenario, so if they’re improperly awarded and used to excuse an emission elsewhere it hugely undermines our path to emissions zero. The majority of globally traded carbon offsets are unfortunately of this ‘reduction’ type.


At CarbonCrop we avoid this risk entirely by the simple method of never  awarding CCUs for ‘reductions’ (like avoided deforestation). We only issue CCUs for assessed genuine removals, carbon sucked out of the atmosphere. Even where this might not be ‘additional’ in the strict interpretation, it’s still indisputably beneficial.

MfE Guidelines

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 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

MfE Guidelines

We maintain a register of all CCUs issued (and cancelled, where applicable), uniquely identifying the location and data of issuance, and perform checks against the MFE LUCAS dataset, the NZ ETS registrations, and major international voluntary project registers to confirm there is no overlap of issuances.

 

We’re also working on technologies to streamline double-counting detection at a global level, with the intention of making these openly available to all participants - this is a major risk in carbon offsetting globally, which we think technology offers a solution to.

Organisations must ensure the GHG emission reductions or removals are only used once to achieve emissions reduction targets or for compliance.

 

Addressing leakage

Due to the significant negative impact of leakage, and the difficulty of fully accounting for its extent, we focus on reducing the risk of leakage with the criteria we use to issue Native CCUs. That means we strictly measure carbon removals against baselines which do not recognise prior-state actions resulting in emissions, and hence don’t issue CCUs against avoided emissions, for example through avoided deforestation of mature forest.

 

We only attribute CCUs to areas that we assess as being of marginal agricultural productivity and where restoration is unlikely to result in an increase in agricultural conversions elsewhere through induced demand.

MfE Guidelines

The activity of reducing or removing emissions within the boundary of the offset activity does not result in increases to emissions elsewhere.

 

Permanence

Our landholders accept a binding obligation to maintain the sequestration for 100 years from the year of issuance, an obligation that’s required to be transferred on change of ownership. 

 

We conduct ongoing monitoring to make sure this commitment is honoured. If the forest is deliberately cleared, landholders are contractually responsible for securing equivalent CCUs as replacement. 

 

For every issuance to a landholder, we hold back 10% of the total CCUs in a cross-project ‘buffer’ pool, which acts as insurance for all our landholders so they can access this in the instance of any accidental reversals such as storm damage. 

 

This is consistent with best practices across the voluntary forest offset sector.

MfE Guidelines

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.

 

Additionality scenarios

Additionality is a pretty abstract concept, so we want to give you some examples about how we apply additionality versus the strict definition and leave it for you to decide for yourself.
 

CarbonCrop Additionality Scenarios 2022.png

Note: Indicated Values are presented as indicative averages over time for clarity

Table Key

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Represents a removal of CO2 from the atmosphere

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Represents an emission of CO2 from the atmosphere

 

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