Markets working to support sustainable development

American Carbon Registry Standards

The American Carbon Registry (ACR) has developed a number of standards to validate and verify carbon emissions reduction projects in diverse sectors including landfill gas, fuel switching, methane capture, forest carbon, truck idling, anaerobic digestion, carbon capture and storage, and rural solar power.

The American Carbon Registry publishes standards, methodologies, protocols and tools for greenhouse gas accounting. The 3 standards published to date are:

  • The American Carbon Registry Standard (v. 2.1)
  • The American Carbon Registry Forest Carbon Project Standard (v. 2.1)
  • American Carbon Registry Nested REDD+ Standard (v. 1)

A further standard is in development for livestock waste management.

A verified ACR project produces Emissions Reduction Tonnes (ERT) which are exchanged through the ACR registry or other carbon offset trading systems.

In 2012, ACD was approved as the offset project registry for California's cap and trade system, and it will oversee the listing verification and issuing of offsets using the California Air Resource Board's compliance or early-action offset protocols (State of Carbon Markets 2013). 

Market coverage: 

There are currently 68 projects certified throughout the US and Latin America. According to the ACR website, to date 38.8 MtCO2e of carbon credits have been verified. In 2012, <1% of the carbon credits transacted on the voluntary market were certified to ACR standards. This is partly due to the convergence of the carbon markets into a few dominant mechanisms including the Gold Standard and VCS. 

Background information: 

American Carbon Registry is a non-profit enterprise of Winrock International. Founded in 1997, originally as the GHG registry by the Environmental Resources Trust. The American Carbon Registry and the Environmental Resources Trust joined Winrock International in 2007.

Funding source: 

Membership fees vary based on the size and type of organisation. Fees range from USD 500 – 5000 annually. In addition there are transaction fees for each ERT traded ranging from USD 0.05 – 0.14. It is not clear to what extent this contributes to the overall costs of running the mechanism.

Notable information: 

It was the first private voluntary GHG registry in the US.