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The ICROA Code aims to define international best practice for offset-inclusive carbon management and represents the minimum requirements that all ICROA members must meet. It is applicable to voluntary carbon management services provided by ICROA members and covers the following four areasCarbon Footprinting, GHG emission reduction advice, Offsetting and Communication

Details can be found in the Code of Best Practice Executive Summary and Technical Specifications. 

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

ICROA members are also encouraged to promote sustainable development in the projects that they develop and provide. 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.

American Carbon Registry

Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)

Climate Action Reserve

Gold Standard

Joint Implementation (JI)

Verified Carbon Standard (VCS)

Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) of the Australian Government

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:

New Zealand: Ministry for the Environment – National Emissions Factors

Australia: Department of the Environment  and Energy - National Greenhouse Accounts Factors

Germany: BMU (Federal Ministry for the Environment)

Netherlands: Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment - National Emission Factors

UK: Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) - Current GHG conversion factors

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

Policy FAQ's: 

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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