One of the most important hurdles that offset projects have to pass is whether or not they are "additional." Put simply, offsets can only be generated from emissions reductions that go beyond (or are "additional" to) a company's business-as-usual approach.
Whether it’s an energy efficiency upgrade, switching fuels to a less CO2-intensive alternative such as biomass, or sequestering carbon through the planting of trees, offset developers must prove that there are financial, technical or other barriers to carrying out their project.
Secondly, project developers must prove that these barriers can be overcome, or partially overcome, through the incentive of having these emissions reductions recognized as offsets.
Project developers must provide data and evidence to support these additionality assertions. This evidence is assessed by an independent accredited auditor. Only if the project passes this test will Pacific Carbon Trust consider purchasing the resulting offsets.
Pacific Carbon Trust has its own due diligence processes, and also relies on technical experts in the carbon industry to evaluate project developers' claims that projects are additional (and to assess other criteria required to green-light the purchase of offsets).
These experts are accredited in accordance with ISO 14065 by members of the International Accreditation Forum to use ISO 14064-3. Project plans are assessed by an accredited auditing team with a strong engineering and technical background, to determine if the project as planned would result in real, verifiable, additional emissions reductions. After the planning phase, and once the project is complete, a second independent team of accredited auditors will assess whether or not there were appropriate controls and measures in place to prove the reductions took place. If the two sets of auditors don't find evidence of additionality and other criteria, Pacific Carbon Trust will not buy the reductions.
Pacific Carbon Trust is very selective in its acquisitions; for every project accepted into the Pacific Carbon Trust portfolio, another four do not meet the regulations and/or other criteria.
With pioneering experience in the carbon market and recognized expertise, these auditing organizations have the experience to provide assurance that the carbon offset projects in Pacific Carbon Trust’s portfolio have met the tough tests of additionality.