Offset your unavoidable emissions

The everyday activities of businesses, communities and individuals create greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions accumulate in the atmosphere and contribute to climate change. It is vital we all reduce our emissions, but carbon credits also play a key role in the transition to a low carbon economy, and allow entities to balance the scales for those unavoidable emissions on the decarbonisation journey.

Carbon credits are also key to achieving Toitū net carbonzero and climate positive certification. After quantifying and reducing emissions, members need to offset the remaining unavoidable emissions to bring their net emissions balance to zero. This is done through purchasing, and then retiring high quality carbon credits.

Cycle offset and go beyond

Carbon credits and offsetting fits into the 'Go Beyond' component of the Toitū Elevate carbon programme. Note: offsetting is not a requirement of the New Zealand's regulatory Climate-Related Disclosures (CRD) regime, hence the purchase of carbon credits and/ or offsetting services is outside the assurance scope for Climate Reporting Entities seeking greenhouse gas inventory assurance under CRD.

What is a carbon credit?

A carbon credit is a financial instrument that represents a unit of carbon dioxide equivalent CO2e. One carbon credit is equal to 1 tonne of CO2e.

Carbon credits are issued to defined projects that store carbon from the atmosphere or avoid greenhouse gases being emitted to the atmosphere. Retiring one carbon credit, on a reputable registry, offsets one tonne of emissions.

What credits do we accept?

Toitū uses carbon credits from a range of projects. Toitū acknowledges there is a range of actual and perceived quality of the projects in which carbon credits originate from.  For this reason, we apply due diligence checks to ensure credits used for offsetting under the programme are of high quality and integrity.

We conduct due diligence checks across key attributes of the carbon credit project using a three-level approach – primary, secondary, and tertiary checks. The following details are indicative only and subject to change.

Primary checks

Our first set of checks is to ensure alignment to the following lead practice:

  • The project must be registered on a standard endorsed by ICROA, as listed under the code of best practice
  • Pending: the project must be validated and verified under a standard, and method, that has been successfully assessed by the IC-VCM (Integrity Council for Voluntary Carbon Markets) as meeting the Core Carbon Principles (CCPs), once operationalised.

All projects must align with the primary checks.

Secondary checks

Our secondary checks cover more targeted features of the project, or areas of risk, and include assessment against matters, such as:

  • the calculation methodology used,
  • "do no harm" checks,
  • adverse social and environmental impact checks*,
  • questionable/misaligned project owners,
  • questionable project type,
  • negative Media Coverage,
  • vintage.

If these checks raise any concerns, we assess these items of concern for risk and decide whether to accept the project on a case-by-case basis.

*(extra to the issuing standard)

Tertiary checks

Our final layer of checks is focussed on how the project can fit into general communications, along with brand alignment (for both Toitū and our programme participants), and maximising co-benefits.  Checks include:

  • What UN Sustainable Development Goals the project addresses
  • Project type and geographic location

Any items under tertiary checks are included as a value add to the due diligence assessment.

Reference to project ratings

There are several project quality rating initiatives in development.  If applicable and available, we will refer to these ratings against relevant components of the Secondary and Tertiary checks.