New Carbon Protocol Targets Universities

Yesterday, American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), an organization of nearly 600 leading colleges and universities, released its own carbon protocol. Don’t we have enough of those, you might ask? There’s the Chicago Climate Exchange, the Voluntary Carbon Standard, CDM, the Gold Standard, Green-e, and the California Climate Action Registry has their climate action reserve. The thing is, all of these protocols just serve to make us all more confused, right? This protocol takes a different approach, offering university offset buyers a practical solution to the quandary of which offsets to buy.

The signatories of the ACUPCC agree to pursue climate neutrality in campus operations and incorporate climate and sustainability issues into the educational experience for all students. A key component of this pledge is a climate action plan, including annual carbon inventories and regular public reporting on progress toward climate neutrality.
ACUPCC decided to take a new spin on the carbon protocol mania. They have created a set of guidelines specifically for universities to help their member organizations to make good decisions if and when they buy offsets. It covers all those things carbon junkies know to worry about: (whether those offsets are real, verifiable, additional, and permanent), but the goal of the protocol is to make it easier for university buyers to make the right choice. What a concept.
Says Georges Dyer, Senior Fellow at Second Nature, “the fact of the matter is, offsets are something some schools will use to meet goals. Our intent with this protocol is to help schools figure out how to use offsets in their carbon neutrality plan, which principals to abide by when purchasing offsets, and what to avoid and how to engage in the market.”
The protocol was developed by a sixteen member Working Group, chaired by David Hales, President of College of the Atlantic. The design process also included experts from dozens of offset-related organizations, including the Center for Resource Solutions, the Offset Quality Initiative, Second Nature and members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
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Jen Boynton

Jen Boynton is editor in chief of TriplePundit and editorial director at 3BL Media. With over 6 million annual readers, TriplePundit is the leading publication on sustainable business and the Triple Bottom Line. Prior to TriplePundit, Jen received an MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio Graduate School. In her work with TriplePundit she's helped clients from SAP to PwC to Fair Trade USA with their sustainability communications messaging. When she's not at work, she volunteers as a CASA -- court appointed special advocate for children in the foster care system. She enjoys losing fights with toddlers and eating toast scraps. She lives with her family in sunny San Diego.

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