ClimateTalks: Let’s Meet Cercarbono

ClimateTalks: Meet Cercarbono

In this episode of ClimateTalks we meet Cercarbono, a voluntary carbon certification program that facilitates and guarantees the registration of climate change mitigation projects.

In a recent interview, we had the pleasure of speaking with Alex Saer, CEO of Cercarbono. Our conversation covered a range of topics, including the details of their certification program, valuable advice for landowners interested in entering the carbon market, and, as always, we discussed the current challenges and future outlook for the Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM). This article highlights some key takeaways from the interview, but to gain the full picture, we highly recommend watching the complete interview with Alex at the end of this blog.

Who is Cercarbono? 

Cercarbono is a relatively young voluntary carbon certification program, established around seven years ago in response to the Colombian carbon tax. Initially focused on Latin America, it has grown significantly in the last two to three years and now operates in over 15 countries globally. Cercarbono offers a rigorous and innovative certification process with a focus on stakeholder collaboration. This streamlined approach, facilitated by blockchain technology, allows for faster project certification, typically within one to one and a half year. The program boasts a diverse portfolio with a focus on three main areas: REDD+PLUS sector (30%), reforestation/afforestation (30%), renewable energy (30%), and other sector , which includes activities like waste management and fuel switching.

What should people know about Cercarbono?

Cercarbono has achieved significant milestones recently. They were recognized by ICROA* and received conditional approval by CORSIA**, solidifying their position in the carbon credit market. Beyond this, Cercarbono boasts a high issuance volume, certifying over 55 million credits last year, demonstrating their capacity and efficiency. Additionally, Cercarbono is pioneering new programs, including a circular economy program targeting material credits, particularly plastic, to promote sustainable practices beyond just carbon reduction. 

Finally, the launch of their biodiversity program protocol positions Cercarbono as a leader in cultivating environmental improvements, with a focus on analyzing funding for such initiatives. 

*The International Carbon Reduction and Offsetting Alliance (ICROA) is a leading organization that vets carbon crediting programs, and their endorsement signifies high-quality carbon offsetting practices aligned with climate goals. 

**CORSIA, the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, is a global program implemented by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).  Its endorsement by airlines demonstrates a commitment to reducing the aviation industry’s carbon footprint and achieving net-zero growth from 2020 onwards.

What are the criteria for carbon credits projects to receive certification from Cercarbono?

Cercarbono certification emphasizes transparency and project integrity. To achieve certification, projects must ensure all details are readily available. Strict adherence to Cercarbono’s protocols and procedures is mandatory for robust results. Uniquely, Cercarbono integrates a verified tool for assessing alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  This encourages projects to showcase their contributions to these broader sustainability goals, demonstrating a positive social and environmental impact that extends beyond carbon reduction alone.

Advice for landowners interested in generating carbon credits 

Landowners interested in generating carbon credits can find guidance and support from Cercarbono. While traditionally, Cercarbono has dealt with large-scale projects involving thousands of hectares, they are increasingly seeing interest from smaller landowners.

Alex told us that they acknowledge that the certification process can be cost-prohibitive for small projects and to address this, they point to the growing role of project developers who aggregate smaller landowners into a single project. This approach allows individual landowners to participate in the carbon market without the burden of high certification costs.

For landowners reaching out directly, Cercarbono offers guidance. Their commercial director can advise on the best course of action, considering factors like the landowner’s location and project size. 

Challenges and opportunities facing the Voluntary Carbon Market 

Our discussion addressed concerns about integrity and quality within the voluntary carbon market (VCM). Cercarbono sees both standardization and transparency as key challenges. They address these by offering capacity building programs to project developers and validation and verification bodies (VVBs) and creating tools like a financial disclosure platform to show benefit distribution. Additionally, standardized mapping guidelines are being developed to prevent project overlap and ensure accurate carbon credit issuance. 

When discussing the future for climate action that extends beyond just carbon offsetting, Alex told us that he sees the growing complexity of the carbon market due to the rise of national and subnational regulations, such as the carbon tax in Chile. To navigate this complexity, Cercarbono is developing simpler tools to streamline participation.

They are also creating an Article 6 framework to assist entities involved in transactions under this section of the Paris Agreement, which allows for international cooperation on carbon mitigation efforts. 

Cercarbono sees promise in new markets, like plastic reduction, and recognizes the importance of biodiversity alongside carbon capture. Their biodiversity program aims to complement carbon markets by providing project developers and landowners with the tools to achieve both goals.

How ClimateTrade works with Cercarbono 

At ClimateTrade we leverage Cercarbono’s expertise to offer high-quality carbon offsetting options on our marketplace. Cercarbono’s meticulous certification process ensures the credibility of these projects and our platform allows you to browse Cercarbono-registered projects alongside others verified by reputable standards like Gold Standard and VERRA. 

This variety empowers you to choose carbon offsets that align with your interests, whether it’s location, project type, or contribution to specific Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Watch the full video now:

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