BP Target Neutral puts a great deal of work into making sure that projects selected for the portfolio are properly registered and that carbon reduction data is collected, calculated and verified in line with international standards such as the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), Gold Standard or the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).
These standards provide a methodology framework, independent verification process and registry to ensure emissions reductions are real, additional (i.e. that they would not have happened without the project), permanent and unique.
That requires the involvement of third-party auditors who make sure the project undertakes rigorous carbon accounting and is compliant with local or national laws.
However, BP Target Neutral goes further and takes each project it supports through an additional rigorous due diligence process, which assesses other aspects of their operation not covered by the standard Greenhouse Gas (GHG) auditors.
“Visiting projects allows us to do several additional things that are important for BP. Firstly, we find answers to specific questions posed by our Project Selection Forum as part of their assessment of our shortlisted projects. This assessment includes the contribution that projects can make beyond carbon reduction such as supporting UN’s Sustainable Development goals especially in areas such as access to energy, the relief of poverty and the empowerment of women.”
“We not only use the visit to assure ourselves that the carbon accounting work of the auditors is of the highest quality, we also go beyond the scope of the auditors by examining aspects such as human rights, health and safety or issues that might compromise a projects integrity.”
The process can help suppliers and developers improve their practices. Rodrigo explains, “for example, by working collaboratively with one of our suppliers, we’ve improved the HSE elements in the carbon auditing process and developed a scorecard system for incentivising the identification and addressing of other HSE risks and measuring improvements.”
By visiting project sites, BPTN staff can also assess the various socio-economic benefits that accrue to local communities. These range from creating long term employment, better energy security, improved local infrastructure, skills, training and knowledge transfer that supports local low carbon growth agendas.
It means that individuals and companies who offset their carbon footprint with BP Target Neutral can have confidence that their efforts and investments not only reduce carbon but also make an important contribution to a wide range of benefits for local communities.