Choose offset projects with stringent standards.
High standards ensure carbon offset projects meet the minimum requirements to yield real emission reductions.
The voluntary market is developing a number of project standards to create a higher level of buyer certainty and improve the long-term viability of the projects. The uncertainties of regulatory structure and market forces make planning difficult for these long-term investments (Molitor 2005).
Any commonly accepted standard has to be credible, financially efficient to administer and effective in the goal of reducing atmospheric CO2. Because many self-developed standards used in the beginning of the voluntary offset market have failed in one or all of these criteria, there is considerable pressure from both suppliers and buyers for a common standard.
Stringent standards include: The Gold Standard, Greenhouse Gases Protocol, The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) ISO14064, The Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standards (CCBS). These standards are designed to ensure additionality, no leakage and permanency and that the offset is verifiable and will minimize unintended negative consequences to the environment, society and culture.
Strict standards include these criteria