Voluntary Carbon Market
ACR oversees the registration and independent verification of projects that meet our rigorous standards and adhere to our science-based carbon accounting methodologies, which ensure accuracy, precision and rigor in the measurement, monitoring, reporting and verification of emission reductions and removals.
Our programmatic focus is on key sectors that can contribute transformative climate results at scale:
- Forestry and Other Land Use
- Non-CO2 gasses including methane and high Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerants
- Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS)
Voluntary, or “non-compliance”, carbon credit investments enable unregulated sectors to reduce their emissions while allowing private companies a pathway to meet climate commitments. In contrast to regulated carbon markets (such as California & ICAO), these carbon credits are purchased by corporations and individuals voluntarily and retired towards their climate targets. Typically, buyers arrange purchases directly from project developers or work through advisors or retailers to purchase a portfolio that meets their specific needs.
Companies have the unique ability to lead the fight against climate change on a scale that is greater, more efficient, and faster than many governments.
Just eight corporate supply chains account for 50 percent of global emissions (World Economic Forum). The number of climate pledges from the corporate sector has skyrocketed with more than one-third of the world’s largest publicly traded companies having now set net-zero targets, up from one-fifth in December 2021.
We offer high-quality carbon credits to support immediate and impactful climate action by companies as they work to reduce emissions within their value chains. ACR-registered projects provide support for a wide range of activities that avoid or reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as those that remove and store greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere.
Through the voluntary – or “non-compliance” – market, ACR accelerates emissions reductions by developing formal pathways for new sectors to participate in carbon markets.
We continue to innovate in areas such as forestry, non-CO2 gasses such as methane and high Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerants and Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS).
In addition, we serve as an incubator for newly emerging compliance regimes. The voluntary market often serves as a testing ground for project types and monitoring methodologies that are eventually adopted in compliance carbon markets. The voluntary market creates an opportunity for first movers to be rewarded for reducing emissions and for all market participants to gain experience in advance of future climate policies.
ACR was founded in 1996 as the first private voluntary greenhouse gas registry in the world.
We have over two decades of experience in the development of rigorous, science-based carbon accounting standards and methodologies as well as oversight of independent verification of GHG emission reduction and removals projects and the operation of a transparent online registry system to record the issuance, transfer, and retirement of serialized offset credits.
Since 2012, ACR has operated as the leading California Offset Project Registry to support the implementation of the state’s Cap-and-Trade program and was approved in 2020 by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to supply ACR-issued credits for use in the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).
With our team of industry leading experts, ACR sets the standard for projects with the highest level of environmental integrity and scientific rigor.
About ACR’s Role
ACR oversees the registration and independent verification of projects that meet our rigorous Standard and comply with our science-based carbon accounting methodologies.
This ensures accuracy, precision and rigor in the measurement, monitoring, reporting and verification of emission reductions and removals. We provide a wide range of methodologies to offer many options for sourcing carbon credits and demonstrating environmental benefits beyond emissions reductions.
ACR-issued credits are denominated as Emission Reduction Tons (ERTs). Each ERT represents the reduction or removal from the atmosphere equivalent to one metric ton of carbon dioxide.
ACR’s registry records transactions directly negotiated between buyers and sellers; it is not an exchange. Offset transactions take place outside of ACR, either over-the-counter or on linked exchanges, and are tracked on the ACR Registry through the unique serial numbers assigned to each credit.
Reductions and Removals
Carbon credits can be generated from two types of activities: either GHG emission reductions or removal of CO2 from the atmosphere.
A “reduction” credit represents a metric ton of CO2e that has been prevented from entering the atmosphere. Reductions are critical for limiting the increase in atmospheric GHG concentrations.
“Removal” credits, on the other hand, remove carbon from the atmosphere and sequester it. They are critical for building the long-term removal capacity (the global carbon sink) needed to reach net-zero targets after global emissions are reduced by mid-century.
ACR has incorporated verifiable quantification of removals in relevant methodologies and has pioneered first-of-a-kind registry functionality to label credits verified as “removals” for project types including afforestation/reforestation (A/R), Improved Forest Management (IFM) and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). In addition to labeling pure removals credits, such as those from A/R projects, our new registry functionality also allows project types such as IFM and CCS that can generate both emission reductions and removals to distinguish between the two upon credit issuance.