What makes a high-quality carbon credit is not a simple question.
The quality of a carbon credit depends on many different factors. The Carbon Credit Quality Initiative uses 19 quality criteria that are weighed based on their importance and the context in which the carbon credit is generated and used. For example, some criteria, such as measures that address the risk of non-permanence, may not be relevant for all types of climate mitigation activities.
The criteria are organized under seven "Quality Objectives". The quality objectives and criteria have been carefully selected and represent key aspects that should be considered when assessing the quality of carbon credits.
The Carbon Credit Quality Initiative developed a Methodology to assess the quality of carbon credits against the different quality objectives and criteria. The methodology uses a scale of 1-5 to indicate the confidence or likelihood that carbon credits meet each criterion or quality objective.
Assessing the quality of carbon credits is methodologically challenging and often requires difficult judgments. The approaches presented in the methodology are our judgment of what quality features matter and how these could be practically assessed and weighed. The methodology was developed based on a literature review, our own research, a 5-week consultation, and feedback from various experts and stakeholders.
Our interactive Scoring Tool shows the results from the application of the methodology to three project types and four carbon crediting programs.
The methodology can also be applied by users to derive their own scores. We recommend that the methodology be applied by independent experts who have a thorough understanding of carbon crediting and who do not have financial interests in specific evaluation results. To help users apply the methodology and derive their own scores, the Carbon Credit Quality Initiative recommends using this Excel tool.