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The ICROA Code of Best Practice

The ICROA Code of Best Practice - Executive Summary:


The ICROA Code of Best Practice aims to define international best practice for offset-inclusive carbon management and represents the minimum requirements that all ICROA members must meet. The ICROA Code of Best Practice is applicable to voluntary carbon management services provided by ICROA members. More specifically, it covers the following four areas of carbon management, as further defined in Section 1 of the Code of Best Practice – Technical Specification:

  • Carbon Footprinting
  • GHG emission reduction advice
  • Offsetting 
  • Communication

In summary, ICROA members commit to:

  • Perform carbon measurement in accordance with international standards (e.g. WRI/WBCSD GHG Protocols and ISO 14064)
  • Encourage clients to set challenging targets to go beyond business-as-usual
  • Encourage clients to assess emission reduction opportunities and prioritise cost-effective actions
  • Use credible carbon credits in accordance with international standards and programs (refer to next section for list of permitted sources of carbon credits)
  • Use third-party registries to retire and remove carbon credits used for offsetting
  • Encourage clients to communicate their carbon status and footprints, including emissions associated with the organisation, product, service or event, as well as details about actions to reduce and offset emissions

Sourcing and Use of Carbon Credits for Offsetting

When offsetting greenhouse gas emissions on behalf of a client, ICROA members commit to use carbon credits based on the principles of:

  • Real
  • Measureable
  • Permanent
  • Additional
  • Independently verified
  • Unique
  • Sustainable development

When offsetting greenhouse gas emissions on behalf of a client, ICROA members commit to use carbon credits that are or will be validated, verified and registered under the following offset standards:

For more information on the inclusion of these standards please go to "carbon credit accounting and verification standards" page.

Under special circumstances and in accordance with strict conditions, ICROA members may use carbon credits from government-approved schemes as well as non-carbon accounting standards (e.g. Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance; Social Carbon) that are combined with approved offset standards.

ICROA members that are not in good standing with ICROA or are not compliant with the Code of Best Practice and fail to resolve such infractions shall be excluded from ICROA.

Approved emissions factors:

Australia: DCC (Department of Climate Change), National GHG Accounts Factors:

Germany: BMU (Federal Ministry for the Environment):

Holland: VROM (Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment) Measuring and Reporting GHG:

IPCC: (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), Emission Factors Database:

UK: DEFRA, (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs) Current GHG conversion factors:

Policy FAQ's: 

What is the Reductions Sold in Advance of Verification (RSIV) mechanism?

The RSIV mechanism in the ICROA Code contains the rules that ICROA has developed so that its members may sell credits prior to verification. The RSIV mechanism meets ICROA’s stringent standards for best practice. The RSIV mechanism helps foster innovation in the voluntary carbon market and provides many of the smallest projects, which may have higher risk profiles, with the amounts of carbon finance needed. Where an ICROA permitted standard facilitates ex ante crediting, the ICROA RSIV mechanism will take precedence over the standard’s requirements. ICROA member organisations have to guarantee RSIV purchases using a replacement mechanism, which is either a contractual financial guarantee or an ‘Appropriate Safeguards' buffer or a combination of these options. This means that, even in the event of project failure, the emission reduction commitments are always honored. ICROA has also developed rules on transparency and communication regarding the RSIV mechanism. The ICROA Audit Process ensures that the member organisations are following the rules within the ICROA Code for RSIV.

What is ICROA's position on RFI?

ICROA is committed to reaching a consensus on Radiative Forcing Index (RFI), a consensus that accurately reflects scientific opinion on this contentious issue. RFI is the factor used to multiply the carbon emissions generated by a flight in order to account for a range of factors that can increase the footprint of a flight. These factors include, accounting for non-CO2 gases generated by the combustion of aviation fuel (i.e. sulphur and methane), flying through certain types of clouds, and even flying at night. ICROA acknowledges that there are currently different approaches to calculating air travel emissions, particularly regarding the RFI factor. Once sufficient consensus within the scientific community becomes more apparent, ICROA will develop a more numerically specific consensus on RFI, or the most appropriate metric, through an international, collaborative and transparent process. In the interim, ICROA will base its approach to RFI on the principle of transparency. ICROA members must publicly disclose what RFI they apply and their rationale for applying that RFI. ICROA will also play an educational role on RFI.

What is ICROA's position on additionality?

Additionality is a fundamental criterion for any offset project. ICROA members support the offset standards included in the ICROA Code as the best available tools for assessing additionality. ICROA members are committed to interpreting and using these tools in good faith and require that all projects' successful implementation and operation are dependent on the availability of carbon finance. This is reflected in the ICROA Code of Best Practice. For offset credits that use performance based additionality, ICROA reviews how the benchmarks for performance based additionality have been set by the standards to ensure that this process has been completed transparently. 

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Document Name Description File type Date Added
ICROA Code of Best Practice. Executive Summary ICROA requirements for members providing carbon management and offset services. Exec Summary pdf 18th June 2012
ICROA Code of Practice. Technical Specification ICROA requirements for members providing carbon management and offset services pdf 18th June 2012
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