Understanding Carbon Offsets

Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standards

The Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standards (CCB Standards) is a project design standard that offers rules and guidance for project design and development. It is intended to be applied early on during a project’s design phase to ensure local community and biodiversity benefits. It does not quantify or verify carbon credits nor does it provide a registry. The CCB Standards focuses exclusively on land management projects, and requires demonstration of net-positive social and environmental benefits in addition to robust stakeholder participation.

The CCB Standards is a program of Verra, and was developed by the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) with feedback and suggestions from independent experts. CCBA is a partnership of non-governmental organizations, corporations, and research institutes. The first edition was released in May 2005, the Second Edition in December 2008, and the Third Edition in 2013. In addition to these milestones, the Rules for the Use of the CCB Standards were added to guide the evaluation of projects using CCB Version 2 in 2010 and became required for use with projects implemented after July 20th 2014. CCB Standard Version 3.1 updated CCB Version 3, aligning the project development process of CCB more closely with the project development process of the Verified Carbon Standard – VCS (Verra’s voluntary carbon program) to streamline the combined use of the programs for land management projects. Find up to date program materials and guidance on Verra’s CCB Rules & Requirements page.

Standard Authority and Administrative Bodies

The CCB Steering Committee supports Verra in governance, strategic direction and further development of the CCB Standards. The steering committee is comprised of CCBA member organizations: Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, Rainforest Alliance, and the Wildlife Conservation Society, and the CCBA Secretariat. Verra and the Steering Committee, make decisions about changes to the standards and the rules for their use through semi-annual meetings whose agendas and minutes are posted online. It also produces additional guidance materials to aid application of the standards and combination of the CCB and VCS Standards as needed.

Working groups are comprised of alliance members and external advisors, and are appointed when needed to address specific issues. Working group proposals for changes must be approved by the Steering Committee.

Incorporating public comment: Three international institutions: Centro Agronomico Tropical de Investigacion y Ensanansa (CATIE), The World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF),Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), helped revise the CCB Standards from version 1 to version 2 based on public comments and field-testing. Following additional public comment from CCB Standard users the CCB underwent another round of revision to update the standards to Version 3 and increase their accessibility to smallholder and community led projects.

Third-party auditors: CCB validations and verifications must be performed by an environmental auditing company with one of the following qualifications:

  • Accreditation as a “Designated Operational Entity” for the sectoral scope 14 “Afforestation and Reforestation” or 15 “Agriculture” depending on the applicable sectoral scope(s) of the project type, with the CDM Executive Board;
  • Accreditation as a Certification Body for sustainable forest management audits under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) in the geographical area of the project to be evaluated; or
  • Accreditation under ISO 14065:2007 with an accreditation scope specifically for the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program covering Agriculture, Forestry or Other Land Use.

For a list of CCB approved auditors go here.

Regional Scope

Projects using CCB Standards are worldwide.

Recognition of Other Standards/ Linkage with Other Trading Systems

Since the CCB Standards is focused on social and environmental impact and does not include a mechanism for generating emissions reduction credits, it is recommended that it is used in conjunction with a crediting program’s carbon accounting standard such as the VCS Program Standard. Version 3.1 of the CCB Standard aligned its process of project development with the VCS Program Requirements to ease the use of both standards in tandem at the onset of project implementation.