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The ICROA Code aims to define international best practice for offset-inclusive carbon management and represents the minimum requirements that all ICROA members must meet. It is applicable to voluntary carbon management services provided by ICROA affiliates and covers the following four areasCarbon Footprinting, GHG emission reduction advice, Offsetting and Communication

More information can be found in the Code of Best Practice Executive Summary and Technical Specifications. 

In summary, ICROA affiliates commit to:

  • Perform carbon measurement in accordance with international standards (e.g. WRI/WBCSD GHG Protocols and ISO 14064)
  • Encourage clients to set challenging targets to go beyond business-as-usual
  • Encourage clients to assess emission reduction opportunities and prioritise cost-effective actions
  • Use credible carbon credits in accordance with international standards and programs (refer to next section for list of permitted sources of carbon credits)
  • Use third-party registries to retire and remove carbon credits used for offsetting
  • Encourage clients to communicate their carbon status and footprints, including emissions associated with the organisation, product, service or event, as well as details about actions to reduce and offset emissions

Sourcing and Use of Carbon Credits for Offsetting

When offsetting greenhouse gas emissions on behalf of a client, ICROA affiliates commit to use carbon credits based on the following principles :

  • Real
  • Measureable
  • Permanent
  • Additional
  • Independently verified
  • Unique

ICROA affiliates are also encouraged to promote sustainable development in the projects that they develop and provide. When offsetting greenhouse gas emissions on behalf of a client, ICROA affiliates commit to use only the carbon credits that are or will be validated, verified and registered under the following standards*:

Endorsed UN and Government Standards:

Endorsed Independent Standards:

Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)

Joint Implementation (JI)

American Carbon Registry

Climate Action Reserve

Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) of the Australian Government

UK Woodland Carbon Code

Gold Standard

Verified Carbon Standard (VCS)

Conditionally Endorsed** Independent Standards:



Global Carbon Council (GCC)

* Assessed by ICROA on the basis of Standard Review Criteria. Both Endorsed Standards and Conditionally Endorsed Standards are required to proactively inform ICROA of any updates or changes on an annual basis before Q3 of each year, along with the supporting documentation for an official technical review. Failure to do so may result in exclusion from the Code. For more information, please contact the ICROA Secretariat.

** Conditional Endorsement is attributed to Standards that meet ICROA criteria for endorsement, and are pending the achievement of set threshold values in order to validate the full operationalisation of the Programme (e.g. registered projects, issued credits, etc). ICROA Affiliates can use carbon credits from conditionally endorsed standards and will be Code compliant. For more details, please contact the ICROA Secretariat.

ICROA affiliates that are not in good standing with ICROA or are not compliant with the Code of Best Practice and fail to resolve such infractions shall be excluded from ICROA. 

Approved Emissions Factors:

New Zealand: Ministry for the Environment – National Emissions Factors

Australia: Department of the Environment  and Energy - National Greenhouse Accounts Factors

Germany: BMU (Federal Ministry for the Environment)

Netherlands: Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment - National Emission Factors

UK: Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) - Current GHG conversion factors

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): Emission Factors Database

New Standards, Interested Standards

New Standards for carbon offsetting projects may be proposed at any time to be included in our official review sessions for potential inclusion as an ICROA endorsed standard. We ask Standards to refrain from communicating any association with ICROA, including publishing statements such as 'pending ICROA endorsement', 'adheres to the ICROA Code of Best Practice' or 'In Line with the ICROA Code of Best Practice' until official feedback regarding endorsement is communicated by the ICROA Secretariat.

For further information on the process, necessary documentation for application and review schedule, please contact the ICROA Secretariat.

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