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Mitigate your greenhouse gas emissions

Tararua Wind Farm

Reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is the fundamental principle guiding the carboNZero programme. However, it is not possible for an organisation to reduce all of their GHG emissions.  To achieve carboNZero certification, you need to ‘offset’ your remaining unavoidable emissions with carbon credits, to create a ‘net zero emissions balance’.  Carbon credits are awarded to defined projects that:

One carbon credit is equivalent to one tonne of CO2 equivalent emissions.

Carbon credit quality - not all credits are equal

To ensure the integrity of carboNZero certification, carbon credits used for offsetting must be of high quality and align to key principles (see table 1), including:

In developing our assessment process, we have taken into account regulations that are being developed by various governments. There are numerous publications where the quality of offsets or carbon credits is debated. The use of poor quality offsets is often the basis on which accusations of “greenwash” are made. Claims of carbon neutrality based on offsets that do not meet the requirements of recognised standards may be subject to investigation by regulators of advertising standards or consumer protection laws, therefore it is important to ensure good quality credits are used.

Carbon credit registries

The Programme holds accounts in several external carbon credit registries as the means to publicly cancel or retire credits used to offset Participants’ emissions during the carboNZero certification process.

The Programme relies on registries to satisfy some of the key principles for offsetting such as traceability and transparency, as shown in Table 1.

The Programme currently has accounts in the following registries for managing and retiring carbon credits:

Table 1: Key principles of offsetting and how they are satisfied.


Registry or Standard




The credit standard should ensure that the project overcomes investment barriers by requiring appropriate additionality tests to be performed



The standard should ensure the emissions reductions will be effective for at least 100 years



The standard should ensure that the additional or unintended emissions will not take place as a result of the project’s implementation and operations



The standard should ensure an appropriate methodology for measuring the emissions reductions generated by the project is used



The standard should ensure the credits claimed are verified by an accredited verifier



A registry should have systems in place to ensure a user can track any credit back to the source project and demonstrate that there has been no double counting



A registry should require sufficient documentation showing how the credit was created and/or provide references to source this from outside the registry


Most carbon credits available on the global carbon markets are based on either compliance or voluntary standards. Good standards will cover the principles listed in Table 1. There are some carbon credits within the voluntary market that are based on no established standard. The Programme reviews and assesses carbon credits at the project level. This means that the standard and the project are assessed i.e. not all carbon credit projects from an acceptable credit standard will be accepted by the carboNZero Programme for offsetting.

What credits does the programme use?

The programme sources a portfolio of credits from:

Wind Farm     Landfill Gas capture     Forestry

Windfarm development avoids 'business-as-usual' fossil fuel electricity generation


Landfill gas capture prevents 'business-as-usual' release of emissions to the atmosphere


Forest regeneration that is additional to the 'business-as-usual' land use captures and stores atmospheric carbon

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