On 28 June 2012, it was reported by the Australian Government, it “introduced the National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS) on 1 July 2010 to provide national consistency and consumer confidence in the voluntary carbon market. The Government called for submissions into the standard, and received 34 submissions for the draft review of the standard.”
It is worth noting that NCOS serves two primary functions:
- Provides guidance on what is a genuine voluntary offset, and
- Sets minimum requirements for calculating, auditing and offsetting the carbon footprint of an organisation, product or event to achieve ‘carbon neutrality’.
Then on 25 July 2012, Choice www.choice.com.au said several of its members were put off because of a perceived lack of accountability and oversight in the industry, and needed more assurance before they considered offsetting their carbon emissions.
CO2Land org is now interested in what makes this such an issue especially when NCOS is set up to provide a means of ensuring the environmental integrity of the carbon offsets and carbon neutral products available in the Australian voluntary market. It is meant for consumers and businesses alike to make informed choices and be able to interpret carbon neutral claims. Business should find comfort in being able to determine their carbon footprint in line with consumer expectations etc.
Maybe a little Carbon standards 101 at this point:
The Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) is an international standard that ensures carbon reductions meet quality standards and are independently verified, numbered and listed in a central database.
The Gold Standard (GS), established by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), certifies offset projects that demonstrate greenhouse gas reductions and positively impact the economy, health, welfare and/or environment of the community where the project is located.
The Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) is a voluntary Australian Government carbon offsets scheme that enables farmers and land managers to generate carbon credits by reducing agricultural emissions, such as nitrous oxide and methane, and sequestering carbon in vegetation and soils. These credits can then be sold to individuals and businesses wishing to offset their own greenhouse gas emissions.
The Government’s National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS) verifies claims of carbon neutrality in Australia. To verify carbon neutral claims, the NCOS specifies that organisations must buy their offsets from projects verified under eligible schemes. These include credits issued under the CFI, VCS and GS, among others.
Now for a little more on the comfort factor:
CO2Land org on 16 August 2012 was told it still all feels good and Gold Standard (GS) is a rigorous standard with considerable credibility, there is a problem – nothing to do with creditability, but how and who is going to run the GS market in Australia. The issue today is NCOS clearly give GS the big tick and that is why we have watch this space and note that concerns over efficacy are being addressed through such a rigorous process for the regulation of the programs will ensure the money goes where it should. However, 2 years and counting is getting a little uncomfortable when you want to participate in the standards with confidence.