Voluntary Offset Program

The Climate Action Reserve is an international offsets program focused on ensuring environmental integrity of GHG emissions reduction projects to create and support financial and environmental value in the U.S. voluntary and compliance carbon markets. It does this by establishing high-quality standards for quantifying and verifying GHG emissions reduction projects, overseeing independent third party verification bodies, issuing carbon credits generated from such projects and tracking the credits over time on a transparent, publicly-accessible system. These standards not only ensure the environmental integrity of using offsets, but they also bring credibility and efficiencies to the carbon market by creating a trusted and valuable commodity.

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The Climate Action Reserve’s GHG emissions reduction project protocols provide regulatory-quality guidelines for project development and the quantification of carbon offset credits, known as Climate Reserve Tonnes (CRT). They are developed through a rigorous, transparent process that involves participation from stakeholders representing a variety of sectors, including industry, government, science, academic, public and environment. The protocols are widely regarded as among the highest quality standards for carbon reduction projects.

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Adherence to the Climate Action Reserve’s standards ensures emissions reductions associated with projects are real, permanent and additional. The Climate Action Reserve only registers projects that have been independently verified as adhering to its project protocols. It also assigns unique serial numbers to all generated carbon credits. This prevents the possibility of double counting and assures buyers that when a CRT has been retired, it cannot be sold or transferred again and has created a real and permanent offset. All project information is made publicly available through the Climate Action Reserve system.

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Industry reports indicate the market price for CRTs ranks in the top tier among carbon credits. CRTs can be traded in the voluntary carbon market or transferred into the Voluntary Carbon Standard’s unit of measurement, the Voluntary Carbon Unit (VCU).

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Why Offset Voluntarily

As more companies and events look to voluntarily reduce their impacts on the environment and support environmental projects with true integrity, they turn to the Reserve as the most trusted carbon offsets program. The Reserve’s transparency, multi-stakeholder participation, credibility and regulatory-quality work all give voluntary buyers complete confidence in the offsets it issues.

The Reserve’s offsets have been used by small businesses, international corporations, high profile events, universities and professional sports teams to balance their emissions. Examples include:

2014 Winter Olympics
2012 Summer Olympics
Espy Awards
Stanford University
Governors Global Climate Change Summit
Philadelphia Marathon
Pan Pacific Hotel
Live Nation
San Francisco International Airport

There are numerous reasons why companies choose to include offsets in their environmental and sustainability plans:

Immediate benefits – Real offset credits are only issued for GHG emissions that have already been prevented from entering or removed from the atmosphere and have been accurately quantified and verified.

Helping local communities – Offsets not only help address global climate change but they often also provide benefits to local communities as activities that reduce global warming also reduce local air pollution.

Expanding participation – Offsets engage communities and sectors that are not part of traditional regulatory programs by providing them with financial incentives to voluntarily reduce their emissions. This brings a wider range of people into the fight against climate change.

Building trust – Because of the rigor of programs like the Reserve, companies and their customers can have confidence and trust that there is true environmental benefit from using offsets.