The Offset Network was created to define the structures and processes for institutions interested in developing Peer Reviewed or Innovative Offsets. Peer Reviewed Offsets follow an existing accepted carbon-reduction protocol (such as those approved by the Verified Carbon Standard or the Climate Action Reserve, among others), while Innovative Offsets utilize novel institution-created project-type protocols or existing protocols simplified from their program accepted version. The graphic and language below provides additional detail on the different types of carbon offsets. 

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Innovative Offsets

Innovative Offset Projects are those which pursue new strategies outside of currently approved offset methodologies. In general, Innovative Offset Projects may take one of three forms:

a)      Innovative Offset Projects may draw on widely-accepted existing methodologies for generating offsets, offering approaches which reduce the requirements of currently accepted offset protocols such that they are approachable by a greater audience and feasible on a smaller scale.

b)      Alternatively, Innovative Offset Projects may incorporate methodologies used for other purposes but which have not yet been demonstrated specifically in the area of carbon offsets.

c)       Finally, Innovative Offset Projects may put forth truly unique approaches for generating carbon offsets.

Innovative methodological approaches for carbon offsets should be grounded in theory, should reference peer-reviewed literature, and should ideally be supported by anecdotal pilot initiatives.

Innovative offset projects reflect the spirit and culture of creativity, innovation, critical thinking, applied research, and experiential education promoted in higher education. Furthermore, innovative offset projects support students, faculty, and staff to creatively apply their knowledge and ideas toward adapting existing methodologies and developing new methodologies for meeting institutional emissions commitments. The bi-product of this process is real-world testing of climate change solutions and, for those that are revealed to be effective, the expansion of the project opportunities for offset credit generation.

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For a more in depth description of innovative offsets, download 'title of paper'

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Peer Reviewed Offsets

##descriptive text on peer reviewed offsets##

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For additional information on peer reviewed offsets, download 'title of paper'

Traditional Offsets

Offsets are produced by projects around the world, encompassing wind projects in India, reforestation projects in Zambia, and landfill methane projects in the United States. Project developers typically develop their projects in accordance with requirements laid out by a third-party standard. In 2016, 99% of offsets sold to voluntary (that is, non-regulated) buyers were certified by a third-party standard. To prove that real emissions reductions have taken place, project developers pay auditors to assess the project’s integrity initially, and then return to verify the emissions reduced after a project is operational. 

For further information on traditional carbon offsets, visit Ecosystem Marketplace's carbon offset reports.

Build Your Carbon Offset Knowledge

The icons below link to additional resources that can be used to increase your knowledge of carbon offset methods, and build skills in project development.