Peer Reviewed Carbon Mitigation Project (3.0)

This is an optional Innovation & Leadership (IL) credit. IL credits recognize institutions that are seeking innovative solutions to sustainability challenges and demonstrating sustainability leadership in ways that are not otherwise captured in STARS. Scoring in the Innovation and Leadership section is capped at 10 bonus points total.

Credit Language

IL 32: Peer Reviewed Carbon Mitigation Project – version 3.0

Questions & Answers

How has this credit changed between STARS Version 2 and Version 3? 

Minimal changes have been made to this credit. A comprehensive list of differences can be found in the STARS 3.0 Summary of changes.

What is an innovative offset?

Consistent with The Offset Network, Innovative Offset Projects are those which pursue new strategies outside of currently approved offset methodologies. In general, Innovative Offset Projects may take one of three forms:

  1. Innovative Offset Projects may draw on widely-accepted existing methodologies for generating offsets, offering approaches which reduce the requirements of currently accepted offset protocols such that they are approachable by a greater audience and feasible on a smaller scale.
  2. Alternatively, Innovative Offset Projects may incorporate methodologies used for other purposes but which have not yet been demonstrated specifically in the area of carbon offsets.
  3. Finally, Innovative Offset Projects may put forth truly unique approaches for generating carbon offsets.

Innovative methodological approaches for carbon offsets should be grounded in theory, should reference peer-reviewed literature, and should ideally be supported by anecdotal pilot initiatives.

What is a peer reviewed offset?

Consistent with The Offset Network, Peer Reviewed carbon offsets are the same as traditional market available carbon offsets with one key difference. Instead of receiving verification by an International Standards Organization (ISO) accredited verifier, Peer Reviewed offset credits are verified by a peer institutional verifier and therefore, at present, may only be used towards an academic institution’s carbon neutrality commitment. These credits are non-marketable and may only offset scope 3 emissions, not to exceed 30% of an institutions total emissions.

Resources, Templates & Tools

Suggestions for Institutions

  • Work with your institution’s carbon management team(s) and/or similar to determine whether an off-campus carbon offset projects is in place, and/or to consider pursuing such projects.

Potential Data Quality Issues

  • To qualify, the institution must have actively participated in one or more off-campus carbon mitigation projects during the previous three years that are verified by qualified peer reviewer(s).

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