The use of carbon offset credits has not effectively counterbalanced current carbon emissions. There have been serious questions around the integrity of the systems used to organize and monitor sequestration. In particular, the practice of claiming that existing trees will negate new emissions is frequently labelled as “greenwashing.” As a result, businesses are now faced with allegations of fraud and deception when they purchase offsets that have questionable legitimacy.
The Carbon Balancing Coalition (CBC) proposes to redefine the concept of carbon offset exchanges. A partnership of international development professionals and engaged universities, the CBC will build legitimate and transparent relationships between corporations and communities that are positioned to generate nature-based carbon sequestration.
The CBC is seeking corporate partners that are interested in reducing their carbon emission impacts. The coalition will then support innovative contractual relationships that can be negotiated, formalized and sustained over the long term to meet the needs of these corporate partners and of local communities seeking economic development and environmental equity. Linking the production of nature-based sequestration solutions with the goals and expertise of supplier communities (primarily in the Global South) will be the CBC’s aim and the basis for longterm, mutually beneficial relationships.
Local universities and a global consortium of academic institutions will play a central role in this process, providing expertise, facilitating project planning and ensuring integrity, as well as monitoring, analyzing and validating the impact of carbon sequestration. The involvement of highly reputable universities will reinforce the credibility and effectiveness of the process.
Pilot programs will be undertaken to provide proofs of concept (PoC) for these initiatives that will explore the potential for long-term, climate focused partnerships that combine the experience and competence of corporations, local science based academic faculty and administration, and community leaders and entrepreneurs. Overseen by a steering committee, with project work groups and a technical peer council, the CBC will use PoC projects to identify basic elements of the transactions; risks and their mitigation; collateral benefits and their promotion; standardized practices, policies and their relationship to local legal frameworks; and opportunities to encourage replication of the successful models.