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Community Carbon Marketplace

There is a new local approach for communities to lower their carbon footprint while kick-starting the local low-carbon economy. For the first time, small to mid-sized businesses and community organizations can generate revenue streams for every tonne of carbon reduced through eligible GHG projects by participating in the innovative online Community Carbon Marketplace (CCM) Program. This new revenue stream rewards sustainable business decisions and acts as a tipping point in favour of making them. By directing offsetting dollars back to the communities where they originate and monetizing locally-generated carbon credits, the CCM will create additional value for initiatives that reduce GHGs, and create a multiplier effect that supports ongoing growth of the local low-carbon economy.

The Community Carbon Marketplace (CCM) is a community-based carbon exchange initiative to enable local governments, businesses and individuals to meet carbon-neutral objectives by purchasing carbon offsets from community-based projects that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and build community resilience.

Prior to the CCM initiative, the knowledge and cost barriers to community-scale projects prevented local organizations and small businesses from being able to account for, and realize the value of carbon credits for which their projects would be eligible. First launched in 2012 by Cowichan Energy Alternative (CEA) in consultation with local and regional government as well as the provincial Climate Action Secretariat (CAS), this initiative creates a community-based alternative to existing carbon offset registries that is based on international protocols and works within BC provincial guidelines.

The CCM matches buyers (municipalities, businesses and individuals) of Community Carbon Credits/GHG reductions with local sellers (Social enterprises, businesses and non profits that reduce carbon emissions). These organizations were previously unable to access the market because their projects were too small, the costs of assessments were too high, and the bureaucracy and jargon was too thick!
The result is an online "Farmer's Market of the Carbon Market" featuring local projects that you can feel good about supporting. Each purchase of a community carbon credit (C3) is an investment that helps support the local economy and fosters community resilience!

  • Sellers

    Does your green initiative need funding? Or do you have an eligible project that reduces energy use, prevents waste, follows sustainable principles, reduces GHG emissions? Do you need additional revenues to sustain these activities? Then you're in the right place!

    Qualified third-party assessors assess Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reduction projects for carbon credit eligibility after the project qualification form is filled out.

    The CCM helps unlock revenues to support eligible projects through the sale of community carbon credits generated by activities that reduce GHG emissions. Small businesses, social enterprises, non-profits, co-operatives and community organizations that demonstrate need can request to pay for CCM and assessment services with community carbon credits generated through their GHG reduction project. We’re here to help your GHG reduction project succeed!

    Eligible credits from sellers are assigned a unique number and listed by organization, project and community of origin on the CCM website.

    sign up
  • Buyers

    Do you want to support local green initiatives, encourage sustainable business practices and reward actions that reduce GHG emissions with an investment that also reduces your own carbon footprint? Then you have arrived at the marketplace for you!

    Buyers wishing to balance their carbon footprint can then choose credits from a selection of qualified project listings on the CCM. Each exchange is a good news opportunity! The CCM tells your story with publicity recognizing each local investment and carbon neutral achievement.

    Start with a self-assessment using our online carbon calculator or get an in-depth understanding of your opportunities for energy savings and emissions reductions using a qualified third party to assess your Carbon Footprint. Get started by signing up.

    Once a credit is purchased as an offset, it's unique identifier number is permanently retired. A fee from each sale will contribute to sustaining and growing the CCM initiative. Part of the revenue will be used to help provide assessments for eligible projects that would otherwise not be able to afford the access to the carbon market.

    sign up
  • Local Government

    Does your community have a Climate Action Charter or Official Community Plan (OCP) commitment to become carbon neutral and support the development of a sustainable local economy? Then the CCM is the program for your community!

    The Community Carbon Marketplace (CCM) enables local governments, businesses and individuals to meet carbon-neutral objectives by purchasing community carbon credits from eligible projects that reduce GHG emissions and build community resilience. Local governments and other buyers can also issue a “request for carbon credits” that can stimulate new projects that might otherwise not occur.

    By directing offsetting dollars back to the communities where they originate and monetizing locally-generated GHG reductions, the CCM creates additional value for green initiatives and a multiplier effect that supports jobs growth and the ongoing development of the local low-carbon economy.

    Local Governments can contact the CCM to learn more about how to partner in a four phase program to build their own local Community Carbon Marketplace. The CCM model, and its economic benefits, is scalable to communities throughout British Columbia and eventually Canada.

    sign up

Cowichan Energy Alternatives (CEA), the CCM program developer, actively works with sellers and buyers to create a simple offset process to fund local green businesses. CEA also works with municipalities and local businesses to match demand for carbon credits with appropriate GHG offsetting projects, thus creating and facilitating partnership opportunities through the Community Carbon Marketplace program. Founded in 2008, CEA is creating a new approach for providing energy and GHG emissions inventories, planning and reduction strategies, renewable energy feasibility studies and implementation, and leading local GHG reduction initiatives.

Our innovative not-for-profit approach is focused on finding creative solutions to energy and emissions challenges while maximizing triple bottom line benefits to sustainability partners and the community. Funds generated through CEA's revenue-generating sustainability services go to support educational initiatives and a growing list of renewable energy and GHG reduction projects that truly demonstrate leadership by example.

    The Community Carbon Marketplace (CCM) is an online market where eligible community carbon credits can be listed for sale and purchased by individuals, corporations and municipalities to offset their carbon footprint.

  • What is a greenhouse gas (GHG)?
    • A greenhouse gas is a common term used by the Kyoto Protocol to describe the following gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), Nitrous Oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulphur hexafluoride.

  • What is Global Warming Potential (GWP)?
    • A measure of the total energy that a gas absorbs over a particular period of time (usually 100 years), compared to carbon dioxide.

  • What is a carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e)?
    • Carbon dioxide equivalent is a quantity that describes the amount of CO2 that would have the same global warming potential (GWP) when measured over a specified timescale (typically 100 years). As an examples, the GWP of methane over 100 years is 25 times greater than CO2, thus 1 tonne of methane equals 25 tonnes of CO2e

  • What is a carbon footprint assessment (CFA)?
    • A carbon footprint assessment (CFA) or greenhouse gas report is a complete accounting of GHG emissions from all sources in a given year for an organization or individual

  • What is greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions?
    • A decrease in GHG emissions or an increase in removal or storage of GHGs from the atmosphere, relative to baseline emissions. Primary effects will result in GHG reductions, as will some secondary effects. A project activity’s total GHG reductions are quantified as the sum of its associated primary effect(s) and any significant secondary effects (which may involve decreases or countervailing increases in GHG emissions). A GHG project’s total GHG reductions are quantified as the sum of the GHG reductions from each project activity.

  • What is Greenhouse Gas Reduction Project (GHGRP)?
    • A specific activity or set of activities intended to reduce GHG emissions, increase the storage of carbon, or enhance GHG removals from the atmosphere. A GHG project may be a stand-alone project, or a component of a larger non-GHG project.

  • What is a carbon credit?
    • A carbon credit is a financial unit of measurement representing the GHG emissions that have been prevented by means of a reduction project (one tonne of CO2e = one carbon credit)

  • What is carbon offsetting?
    • Carbon offsetting is the practice where GHG producers use the credits gained by GHG reducers to balance their own emissions

  • What is the difference between Voluntary and Compliance Credits?
    • These two categories of carbon credits used by CCM distinguish the credits based on the quality and verifiability of the data and methods used. The qualifications for each category are as follows:

      Voluntary – Meets International protocols for Verification.
      Compliance – Meets Provincial guidelines for Local Governments.

  • Where do the credits come from?
    • Carbon credits are accrued via the implementation of carbon reduction projects. Organizations or individuals who have measured success of reduction are eligible for carbon credits.

  • What does C3 stand for?
    • C3 is the abbreviation for community carbon credits.

  • What is a voluntary carbon market?
    • A voluntary carbon market is a forum where carbon offset credits are traded as a regulated, standardized commodity for purchase by parties on a voluntary basis to offset GHG emissions.

  • What is “business as usual”?
    • In the context of GHG emissions, the term “business as usual” describes the normal output of emissions by an organization. This provides a set point when determining what reductions have been achieved from a GHG reduction projects.

  • What is additionality?
    • Additionality describes when an organization goes beyond “business as usual” (i.e. the operations have been changed in order to reduce GHG emissions in a way that wouldn’t have occurred otherwise). A project must be additional in order to qualify for carbon credits. An example of this would be a trucking company switching it’s fleet to biofuel which goes beyond their usual operations in a concerted effort to reduce GHG emissions in a manner that would not have occurred otherwise.

  • What services does CCM offer?
    • For the Local and Regional Governments, we provide:

      The development of an online Community Carbon Marketplace tailored for the community.

      A mechanism to direct demand from buyers of community carbon credits to eligible local projects that measurably reduce GHGs in a way that grows the green economy and builds community resilience.

      Publicity recognizing each local investment and carbon neutrality. Each exchange is a good news opportunity!

      Ultimately, a new community approach for reaching carbon neutrality through investment in the local green economy.

      For businesses and the community, we provide:

      Revenues to act as a tipping point for making sustainable business choices that generate carbon credits.

      Access to affordable, professional Carbon Footprint Assessment (CFA) services and support in calculating how many carbon credits are required to become carbon neutral.

      Access to affordable, professional GHG Reduction Project Assessment (GHGRPA) services to calculate all eligible credits created through eligible GHG reductions.

      Easy listing of credits on CCM on an online market tailored to the community it serves.

      Advice on how to reduce GHGs and maximize the generate of more credits.

      Match-making: Advocacy to the government and local businesses to invest in local projects

      Publicity recognizing each local investment and carbon neutrality. Each exchange is a good news opportunity!

      Ultimately, a new sustainable revenue stream for making sustainable business choices that result in GHG reductions

  • Who is participating in the CCM program?
    • 1. Regional and Local Governments/Municipalities (Governments) that have committed to become carbon neutral and wish to do so through the purchase of CCCs/GHG reductions from local projects/proponents. The Climate Action Charter has been signed by 180 of 188 municipalities, committing them to become carbon neutral by 2012. A major theme at the past two UBCMs is dissatisfaction of municipalities in the current BC model which directs offsetting dollars outside of communities, and a preference for local solutions that invest back in the local economy.

      2. Social Enterprises, Non-Profits, Co-ops and Private Businesses (Organizations) that wish to balance emissions from their operations

      3. Individuals that wish to balance their emissions from vehicle use, home heating, air travel, etc.

      4. Potentially Crown Corporations and the Public Sector which until now have been mandated to purchase offsets through the Pacific Carbon Trust. This has been a politically unpopular policy that is currently being challenged.

      5. Businesses and Community Organizations that have operations/projects that reduce GHG emissions which can be quantified as community carbon credits and listed for sale.

      6. Businesses and Community Organizations that wish to assess the potential for developing new GHG reduction projects or increase reductions from existing ones.

      7. Governments, Businesses and Community Organizations that wish to better understand their energy and emissions through baseline/carbon footprint assessments.

  • What is carbon neutral certification ?
    • Do you want to support local green initiatives, encourage sustainable business practices and reward actions that reduce GHG emissions with an investment that also reduces your own carbon footprint? In addition, do you to want to tell the story of your organization and brand as carbon neutral to your clients and show your contribution to building community resilience and environmental protection through sustainable business practices? You have arrived at the right place!

      If your organization has already quantified its carbon emissions, sign up as a buyer and send us the report for verification. Once Voluntary, you can purchase community offsets/credits for your organization from the growing list of local greenhouse gas projects on our marketplace to achieve carbon neutrality for the assessed year. Our qualified team provides access to affordable, professional Carbon Footprint Assessment (CFA) services and support in calculating how many carbon credits are required to become carbon neutral. Please contact us for information on how to apply for CCM Carbon Neutral Stamp & Certification for your products, services and marketing.

  • How can I go ‘Beyond carbon neutral’?
    • Has your business or community organization taken actions that reduce GHG emissions? GHG reduction projects that reduce energy use, switch to renewable biofuels or electric vehicles, and divert organic waste to compost may now be eligible for additional revenues through the sale of community carbon credits. Going beyond carbon neutral means going the extra mile. It means showing that not only is your organization carbon neutral but it has reduced emissions above and beyond to generate extra revenues in the form of community carbon credits (C3s) to sustain these practices.

      Not sure if you qualify ? Sign up as a seller and send us the report for verification if you have already quantified your C3s. Once Voluntary, we will list your business up on our marketplace with the allotted C3s for purchase by local governments, businesses and individuals. Our qualified team provides access to affordable, professional GHG Reduction Project Assessment (GHGRPA) services to calculate all eligible C3s created and your eligibility for Beyond Carbon Neutral Certification. Please contact us for information on how to apply for CCM Beyond Carbon Neutral Stamp & Certification for your products, services and marketing.

  • What awards has CCM won and who are its partners ?
    • - CCM received Island Coastal Economic Trust funding for economic, social and environmental benefits to the community.

      - CCM received UBCM Award of Excellence in partnership with City of Duncan for becoming carbon neutral completely from local greenhouse gas reduction project during the CCM Pilot.

      - Vancity for always supporting our efforts and helping us build a sustainable world.

      - Gaming Grant for providing us with the invaluable seed money for our pilot phase.


References

Green Communities Committee. Becoming Carbon Neutral: A Guidebook for Local governments in British Columbia(2011) Version 2 Chapter 2: Balancing and Offsetting Coporate GHG Emissions: Three Options for Local Governments

International Organization for Standardization. Greenhouse Gases (2006) Part 1: Specification with guidance at the organization level for quantification and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions and removals.

World Resources Institute. A Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (2004) Revised Edition

World Resources Institute. The GHG Protocol for Project Accounting (2004) Revised Edition

United States Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA): “https://www.epa.gov/climatechange/glossary.html”