Carbon registry launches biodiversity programme, gears up for listing credits

Published 03:57 on June 21, 2024  /  Last updated at 03:57 on June 21, 2024  / Giada Ferraglioni /  Biodiversity, EMEA, International, Nature-based, Voluntary

Iceland-based International Carbon Registry (ICR) announced on Thursday the launch of its pilot biodiversity programme in an effort to develop a framework for project developers planning to issue voluntary biodiversity credits.

Iceland-based International Carbon Registry (ICR) announced on Thursday the launch of its pilot biodiversity programme in an effort to develop a framework for project developers planning to issue voluntary biodiversity credits.

The company, which uses blockchain technology to operate an electronic platform for climate projects, said biodiversity credits will be issued publicly through its registry.

According to ICR, during the pilot phase, the programme will enable the implementation of projects focused on priority areas and species, and will foster the active participation of Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

Participating projects will be validated and verified by an independent third party, ICR said.

“By establishing and scaling up biodiversity credit markets, the programme seeks to mobilise necessary finance for biodiversity conservation and restoration, driving impactful conservation outcomes while maintaining high standards of integrity, trust, and transparency,” ICR added.

“The biodiversity programme will serve as a comprehensive framework for area-based biodiversity projects of all sizes,” ICR said in a statement, adding that it will align with the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF).

UNITS

For its pilots, the company will adopt the biodiversity unit developed by US-based Savimbo, Alvaro Vallejo, biodiversity programme lead at ICR, told Carbon Pulse.

Every unit is area-based and corresponds to one hectare of land conserved for one month, with integrity measured on a scale from zero to one.

Units are not directly linked to a price since their cost will be strongly dependent on project location and the effort of the actions involved, Drea Burbank, CEO and co-founder of Savimbo, told Carbon Pulse in April.

Those units could also fit offsetting purposes, even if Savimbo strongly opposes this use and isn’t producing credits that involve compensation.

“We cannot prevent such uses of a public unit, but we are strongly opposed to the practice of biodiversity offsetting as it violates Indigenous Peoples values,” Burbank told Carbon Pulse in an interview.

Last year, Savimbo developed the Indicator Species Biodiversity Methodology (ISBM), a methodology built around the conservation of so-called indicator species that can only live in an area if the ecosystem is healthy.

While Savimbo’s projects have mostly focused on jaguars, the methodology can apply to other indicator species, regardless of the ecosystem or the geographic area, with documents saying some 20-30 species in each bioregion can be selected.

ICR is the second certifier to adopt Savimbo’s units. In December, Colombia-based environmental crediting standard Cercarbono released for public consultation a methodology informed by the ISBM.

By Giada Ferraglioni – giada@carbon-pulse.com

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