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Endorsed Programs

Endorsed Programs are independent, third-party greenhouse gas (GHG) Project Certification Programs that ensure that GHG reduction projects are additional and result in real, verified, enforceable, and permanent reductions.

The specific principles and criteria that Endorsed Programs must meet are outlined in the Green-e® Climate Standard, available at Green-e Climate Documents. Sellers who seek Green-e® Climate certification for the sales of GHG emission reductions (carbon offsets) must source reductions from projects that are registered with one of the Endorsed Programs.

Project Type Categories

The following Project Type Categories should be used as reference for eligibility restrictions within Endorsed Programs where project protocols of the Programs do not de facto designate project types. Program participants may be more specific than, but must be at least as specific as these categories (left-hand column in the table below) when specifying project type on the Carbon Offset Content Label for a Fixed or Customized Mix of offsets.

Project Type Description
Renewable Energy
  • Renewable electricity generation
  • Fuel switch to or use of renewable energy sources for heating/cooling, hot water, and/or other processes
  • Production of biofuels
Energy Efficiency
  • Energy efficiency improvements (reductions in use or consumption of electricity or fuel) for residential, commercial, or industrial components and/or systems that do not result from new uses of renewable energy
  • Improvements to efficiency of energy [generation,] distribution and transmission
  • Combined heat and power (CHP, cogeneration) or trigeneration
  • Reductions in consumption through recovery and/or recycling of waste, and/or self-generation
  • Recovery and reutilization of GHGs other than CH4
Fuel Switching
  • Fuel switch to a lower carbon, non-renewable fuel
Landfill Methane Capture
  • CH4 avoidance, destruction, capture, and/or reutilization at landfills
Livestock Methane Capture
  • CH4 avoidance, destruction, capture, and/or reutilization at livestock facilities (dairies and beef cattle facilities)
Coal Mine Methane Capture
  • CH4 avoidance, destruction, capture, and/or reutilization at coal mines
Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) Forestry
  • Afforestation, reforestation, and/or revegitation
  • Improved forest management
  • Reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD), avoided conversion

Agriculture

  • Reduction of methane emissions from rice cultivation
  • Reduction of direct GHG emissions associated with cropping practices
  • Adjustment of tillage, rotation, and/or other soil and crop management practices to increase sequestration

Land Use

  • Land restoration
Industrial Process Emissions
  • Reduction of direct emissions of CO2 or CH4 associated with industrial activities
  • Electrification
Transportation
  • Mass transit projects
  • Modal shift
  • Low-GHG vehicle fleets
  • Energy efficiency improvements in transportation

Industrial Gas Destruction

  • Destruction, avoidance, or reduction of HFC, PFC, SF6, N2O gases from industrial processes

 

Endorsed Programs

Currently, there are four Endorsed Programs under Green-e® Climate. The Endorsed Programs and any specific restrictions are the following:

1. The Gold Standard

The Gold Standard Foundation offers a quality label to CDM/JI and voluntary offset projects. Renewable energy and energy efficiency projects with sustainable development benefits are eligible. The Gold Standard is endorsed by over 50 non-governmental organizations worldwide. The Gold Standard is a non-profit foundation under Swiss Law and funded by public and private donors.

All Gold Standard VERs are eligible with the following exceptions:

  • Projects registered under methodologies that do not meet the additionality criteria in Section 5.1.c(g) of the Green-e® Climate Standard are not eligible. Substantiation from Seller is required that additionality requirements under the Green-e® Climate Standard have been met.
  • Outside of the United States and Canada, hydropower projects must be under 10 MW in capacity in order to be eligible. For a "grouped" project, consisting of more than one instance of the project activity at multiple locations within a defined geographic boundary, which is certified as a group or program of activities, the total capacity of the grouped project may exceed 10 MW capacity; however, no single instance of the project within the group shall exceed the 10 MW capacity limit.
  • In the United States or Canada, only GHG emissions reductions from new hydropower generation capacity on a non-impoundment or new generation capacity on an existing impoundment that meets one or more of the following conditions is eligible:
    • The hydropower facility is certified by the Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI);
    • For Canadian hydropower facilities only, the facility is EcoLogoM certified; or
    • The hydropower facility consists of a turbine in a pipeline or a turbine in an irrigation canal.

For facilities falling under a. or b. above, only output generated during the period of LIHI certification or EcoLogo certification is eligible for Green-e® Climate Certified sale. In the United States and Canada, the Green-e® Governance Board will consider on a case-by-case basis GHG emissions reductions resulting from new incremental capacity on an existing dam, where the "new" output is equal to or less than 5 MW. The Program will not certify offsets sourcing GHG emissions reductions from new impoundments of water.

With the exceptions listed above, the following CDM Gold Standard project types are eligible:

  • Energy Efficiency
  • Renewable Energy

2. The Verified Carbon Standard (VCS)

The VCS provides a robust global standard for voluntary GHG emissions reduction and removal projects and their validation and verification. It ensures that carbon offsets that businesses and consumers buy can be trusted and have real environmental benefits. The VCS program is managed by the VCS Association which is an independent, non-profit organization registered under Swiss law. The founding partners of the VCS are The Climate Group, the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

All Verified Carbon Units (VCUs) are eligible as long as they are certified according to VCS 2007 or VCS version 3.0, with the following exceptions:

  • Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Uses (AFOLU) projects are eligible as long as the Seller provides proof that the native species requirements under the Green-e® Climate Standard are met.
  • Projects validated under VCS 2007 that have qualified as additional using the VCS "Test 2 Performance Test" are not eligible, unless the performance standard used explicitly lists the eligible technologies.
  • Projects certified according to previous versions of the VCS that are grandfathered in under VCS 2007 are not eligible under Green-e® Climate.
  • The period of time for which GHG reductions/removals are verified (verification period) shall not exceed three years for non-sequestration projects, and shall not exceed seven years for sequestration projects.
  • Outside of the United States and Canada, hydropower projects must be under 10 MW in capacity in order to be eligible. For a "grouped" project, consisting of more than one instance of the project activity at multiple locations within a defined geographic boundary, which is certified as a group or program of activities, the total capacity of the grouped project may exceed 10 MW capacity; however, no single instance of the project within the group shall exceed the 10 MW capacity limit.
  • In the United States or Canada, only GHG emissions reductions from new hydropower generation capacity on a non-impoundment or new generation capacity on an existing impoundment that meets one or more of the following conditions is eligible:
    • The hydropower facility is certified by the Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI);
    • For Canadian hydropower facilities only, the facility is EcoLogoM certified; or
    • The hydropower facility consists of a turbine in a pipeline or a turbine in an irrigation canal.

For facilities falling under a. or b. above, only output generated during the period of LIHI certification or EcoLogo certification is eligible for Green-e® Climate Certified sale. In the United States and Canada, the Green-e® Governance Board will consider on a case-by-case basis GHG emissions reductions resulting from new incremental capacity on an existing dam, where the "new" output is equal to or less than 5 MW. The Program will not certify offsets sourcing GHG emissions reductions from new impoundments of water.

With the exceptions listed above, the following VCS project types are eligible:

  • Agriculture, Forestry and other Land Uses (AFOLU)
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Livestock/Landfill/Coal Mine Methane Capture
  • Renewable Energy
  • SF6 Destruction

 

3. The Climate Action Reserve

The Climate Action Reserve is a national offsets program working to ensure integrity, transparency and financial value in the U.S. carbon market. It does this by establishing regulatory-quality standards for the development, quantification and verification of greenhouse gas emissions reduction projects in North America; issuing carbon offset credits known as Climate Reserve Tonnes (CRTs) generated from such projects; and tracking the transaction of credits over time in a transparent, publicly accessible system.

The following Climate Action Reserve project types are eligible:

  • Coal Mine Methane
  • Forest (v3.0 or newer)
  • Mexico Forest
  • Mexico Landfill
  • Mexico Livestock
  • Nitric Acid Production
  • Nitrogen Management (v1.1 or newer)
  • Organic Waste Composting (v1.1 or newer)
  • Organic Waste Digestion
  • Ozone Depleting Substances
  • Rice Cultivation (v1.1 or newer)
  • U.S. Landfill
  • U.S. Livestock
  • Urban Forest

4. American Carbon Registry

The American Carbon Registry (ACR), a nonprofit enterprise of Winrock International, is a leading carbon offset program recognized for its high standards for environmental integrity and transparency. Established in 1996 as the first voluntary GHG registry in the world, ACR has over 15 years of unparalleled voluntary carbon market experience in the development of rigorous, science-based offset methodologies and operational experience in the oversight of offset project verification, registration, offset issuance and retirement reporting.

Effective June 3, 2013, American Carbon Registry Emission Reduction Tons (ERTs) are eligible with the following exceptions:

  • Eligibility is limited to projects approved and credits certified in accordance with standards and methodologies approved by ACR after v2.0 of the ACR Standard in 2010.
  • Projects that have been operational for five years without becoming validated or producing verified emissions reductions according to ACR's or another Endorsed Program's requirements are not eligible.
  • Outside of the United States and Canada, hydropower projects must be under 10 MW in capacity in order to be eligible. For a "grouped" project, consisting of more than one instance of the project activity at multiple locations within a defined geographic boundary, which is certified as a group or program of activities, the total capacity of the grouped project may exceed 10 MW capacity; however, no single instance of the project within the group shall exceed the 10 MW capacity limit.
  • Eligibility of projects registered under the Afforestation and Reforestation of Degraded Lands methodology is limited to those registered under version 1.1 of the methodology or later.
  • Eligibility of projects registered under the Conversation of High-bleed Pneumatic Controllers in Oil and Natural Gas Systems methodology is limited to those registered under version 1.1 of the methodology or later.

 

With the exceptions listed above, the following ACR project types are eligible:

  • Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU)
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Industrial Process Emissions
  • Renewable Energy
  • Transportation

 

 

Deferred Endorsements

Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)
The CDM was an eligible Endorsed Program within Green-e® Climate between January 2008 and January 2014. However, due to a current lack of interest by carbon offset providers offering Green-e® Climate certified offsets, the Green-e® Governance Board has directed staff to defer endorsement of the CDM until sufficient commercial interest in the CDM warrants use of staff time to evaluate and monitor the CDM Program for compliance with the Green-e® Climate Standard. Accordingly, effective February 5, 2015, Green-e® Climate's endorsement of the CDM is suspended due to lack of use by program participants. The CDM must be reevaluated against the Green-e® Climate Standard in order for endorsement to be reinstated.