Markets working to support sustainable development

Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standards

The Climate, Community & Biodiversity (CCB) Standards are designed as an evaluation tool for any land management projects, including those that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and avoid the degradation of forests (and other ecosystems), as well as projects that remove carbon dioxide by sequestering carbon (e.g. reforestation and sustainable agriculture). 

When used alone, the CCB Standards do not deliver quantified emissions reduction certifications; rather, they are combined with carbon accounting standards, such as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and the Verfied Carbon Standards (VCS). In this, the CCB Standards provide the assurance that there are additional and multiple social and environmental benefits. As such, when there is successful verification under the CCB Standards and a carbon accounting standard, the CCB label is awarded to the project which adds value to these carbon credits on the registry. 

The Standards are applied throughout the project's lifecycle - from design to implementation - to ensure that they deliver net positive benefits for climate change mitigation, both for local communities and for biodiversity. They seek to:

  • Identify projects that simultaneously address climate change, support local communities and smallholders, and conserve biodiversity.
  • Promote excellence and innovation in project design and implementation.
  • Mitigate risk for investors and offset buyers and increase funding opportunities for project developers.

All CCB Standards (Third Edition) consist of seventeen requirements and three optional Gold Level criteria which are awarded to projects that generate "exceptional" benefits.  The Standards themselves are divided into four areas for compliance: general (e.g. good project design), climate, community and biodiversity. From these, the Standards ensure that projects:

  • Identify all stakeholders and ensure their full and effective participation
  • Recognise and respect customary and statutory rights
  • Obtain free, prior and informed consent
  • Assess and monitor direct and indirect costs, benefits and risks
  • Identify and maintain high conservation values
  • Demonstrate net positive climate, community and biodiversity benefits

To achieve CCB certification, a project must pass two independent assessments: Validation, which ensures good project design; and Verification, which endorses the project based on it's implementation and the delivery of benefits. In this, projects are required to be transparent and all project documentation, including audit reports, are published on the CCB website. During each audit, comments are invited from the public before the auditor conducts a site visit to investigate the project, address comments and meet with local communities.

Market coverage: 
  • It was the most popular choice of add-on certification in 2012 where 46 per cent of the total number of credits bought and sold were labelled with the CCB logo. 
  • In the Ecosystem Marketplace’s State of the Forest Carbon Market 2012, “VCS projects that were also certified to the CCB saw an additional average $0.5/tCO2e over [the average] price.”
  • In May 2013, over 40 millions tons of CO2 avoided had either achieved certification or was undergoing validation. 
  • In May 2014, there are 125 projects across Latin America, North America, Asia, Africa and Europe - 19 of which are verified. 

A full list of projects and their verification status are available through the links provided below.

Background information: 

The Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) is a partnership between research institutes, corporations and NGOs. It is made up of members, including CARE, Conservation International, the Nature Consevancey, Rainforest Aliance,and the Wildlife Conservarion Society. In addition, there are also three advising institutions which contributed to the CCB Standard - these were: The Centro Agronomico Tropical de Investigacion y Ensanansa (CATIE), The World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). 

Funding source: 

Funding and administrative support is offered by ‘CCB Standard Sponsors’ - these include: The Blue Moon Fund, The Kraft Fund (administered by the NY Community Trust), BP, Hyundai, Intel, The Rockefeller Foundation, SC Johnson, Sustainable Forestry Management (SFM) and Weyerhaeuser.

Notable information: 

The first edition of the standards were released in May 2005. Since then, they have been continually renewed and they are now in their third edition.  All CCBA members have contributed to this development, which, according to the CCBA, shows "how effective partnerships and integrated design can deliver effective multiple benefits."