Trustable Credit warmly invites any organisation wanting to participate in co-creating, developing and testing open and international standardised processes for digital devices and their data measuring carbon, biodiversity and nature improvements. We are a distributed organisation, an adhocracy of interested parties. Please join us! We welcome reviews of the standardised processes, as well as contributions of use cases, tests, and implementation feedback. Thank you!

Long-established voluntary carbon schemes such as Redd+, accredited by Verra, are in the news for not having rigorous or transparent enough methodologies and data. However, from the 2010 academic calls to recognise ecoinformatics as data intensive, to the establishment of national datasets to work as observatories such as NEON (the US’s National Ecological Observatory Network), the idea of sharing open, transparent and robust digital datasets about the ecological state of the earth solidified. Recent research and network development by The Challenge Centre for Thriving Natural Capital at SRUC has proven a range of different public and private sector bodies are interested in the idea of being able to rate nature/carbon credits according to the quality and trustability of the data, and the robustness of indicators and science behind them. Credible green finance investors and credit approvers want Nature-based Solutions (NbS) projects with high data and science standards ratings behind them. S&P’s IHS Markit announced a global Carbon Meta-Registry Advisory Board to provide transparency of carbon credits, working alongside The World Bank’s Climate Warehouse experiments, and the 2021 launch of the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures establishes the demand for decision-grade data about nature use and improvement. COP26 finalize a deal around carbon markets that was left unfinished in Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, paving the way for building a system to price and trade carbon globally. COP26 also saw unprecedented commitments from the private sector to reaching net zero goals and supplying the trillions of dollars needed to fund the transition. Green finance initiatives with nature based solutions, continued their calls for decision-grade, asset level data. There needs to be open and transparent international standardised processes, proposing a grading system of excellence down for digital data gathering, measurement, analysis and storage.

How we use our land though, requires a transformation – in the UK this was made explicit in Policies for a Net Zero UK, a Climate Change Committee strategy, announced January 2020. The natural economy must use digital and data innovations to prove that land use change, nature-based interventions in local communities and ecosystems, can deliver GHG reductions at a fraction of the cost of engineered solutions, and that when delivered effectively, can enhance biodiversity from the gene level stocks of natural assets to the ecosystem services they provide. The State of Natural Capital Report, published by UK Government in 2020 also confirms this. Smart technological innovations (many digital technologies working together for better precision and speed) can be used synergistically with nature-based solutions (NbS) to prove reduced agriculture and land-based emissions. The new 2021 EU Climate Adaptation Strategy’s introduction by Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, highlighted the need to make adaptation smarter using data.

Landowners, regional land use partnerships and public sector carbon/biodiversity/nature quality projects have the opportunity to create credits through improvement projects. The projects have to prove additionality to baseline. However, the baseline is usually measured by a surveyor applying models and proxies to an area which is both expensive and inexact. Improvements and additionality are similarly measured. If measurements are actual and trustable, as is possible via digital and data means, applied via a graded, open standard, green and sustainable finance projects will have better acceptability and reputation and price.

Digital and data standardised processes will enable smartly verified natural capital additionality and validated biocarbon stocks to be as assured as credits with integrity, essential for a high quality trustable natural capital economic system. The Dasgupta Review 2021 described a connected economic system and natural world. Academics have recently called for more Digital Twins to be created to prove data’s trustability. Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance and Finance Advisor for COP26 called for approved data to be attached to every carbon credit in the voluntary market in a speech to announce the creation of the Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets, November 10 2020, Bank of England. President Biden announced on May 20th 2021 an Executive Order on Climate-Related Financial Risk, with wide-ranging transparency, disclosure and investment implications for investors, companies and regulators.

The WWF Report What makes a high-quality carbon credit? lists 6 quality objectives and criteria that digital device and data standards can contribute to, especially “Robust quantification of emission reductions”. Professor Dieter Helm OBE states about voluntary carbon assets (for example, carbon sequestrations):

Carbon offset emissions are typically harder to measure than carbon emissions. Lots of questionable approaches are being marketed. A credible carbon offset valuation for the purposes of contracting and trading is derived through a series of steps, as follows:
– The baselines
– The counterfactual and additionality
– The price of carbon
– The discount rate
– The end of life/scrappage value
– The non-carbon natural capital gains and losses.
All of these steps are necessary for a credible valuation: few if any of the parties
complete all of them.
Valuing Carbon Offsets, 15th March 2021.