Peer Verification and Public Assessment
Organizations seeking to meet their Scope 3 emissions (e.g., indirect emissions such as employee commuting) goals typically employ a mixture of strategies: they engage in low-carbon activities and purchase carbon offsets to cover remaining emissions. While many universities follow this path, they want more; they want offset projects that directly benefit their campus or nearby communities, and they want to use offset projects as an educational opportunity.
Both Peer Verification and Public Assessment are more affordable means of external authentication of carbon offsets and/ or the protocol used. However, unlike Peer Verification, Public Assessment does not lead to verified carbon offset credits. Our vision is that these less traditional pathways will engage people who otherwise would be left out of the offset project space; in this way, we can help to expand awareness and understanding about the role of offsets in reaching climate reduction targets, and hopefully stimulate more creativity in how offsets are generated.
The process of Verification is the evaluation of a carbon offset project for accuracy of calculated net GHG impact and fulfillment of protocol requirements. Peer Verification uses educational institutions to act as verifiers, instead of using ISO accredited verifiers. By using educational institutions, not only does the project implementer avoid extensive costs, the verifier institution can bolster its academic mission and offer the verification process as a learning opportunity for students.
Peer Verification will include a verification statement, a formal written declaration providing assurance that a GHG assertion is in conformity with the Project Plan, applicable requirements of the appropriate sector standard, and the chosen methodology. The verification statement will include the quantity of emission reduction tons verified for the reporting period and the Peer Verification Body’s determination that the assertion of emissions offsets is materially correct. See below for more information on how to register as a Peer Verifier.
The process of Public Assessment is an alternative pathway for Innovative Offset Projects which are in the pilot phase. Public Assessment involves three subject matter experts who will review the Innovative Offset project, provide feedback for improvement and refinement, and offer their opinion on whether the proposed protocol meets sufficient standards to be deemed acceptable for use alongside other established protocols. The Public Assessment process is intended to help those interested in developing and/or using an Innovative Offset Protocol to determine whether the concept is worth developing further into a Peer Verified Project.