Introduction to the 2022 Climate Neutral Standards

Lauren Frisch
August 24, 2021
We are pleased to announce the 2021 update to Climate Neutral’s Standards, which will apply to all brands certifying in 2022. These standards are the requirements of the Climate Neutral certification process.

We are pleased to announce the 2021 update to Climate Neutral’s Standards, which will apply to all brands certifying in 2022. These standards are the requirements of the Climate Neutral certification process.

Our goal is for the standards to be clear and easy to understand by both brands and consumers, rigorous but achievable, and unambiguous for all who get certified. We want consumers to feel confident knowing that all Climate Neutral Certified brands have measured their cradle-to-customer carbon emissions, compensated for them fully with verified carbon credits, and begun working to reduce future emissions. 

We update the standards each year to ensure our process reflects the best available information on climate mitigation and carbon markets. The update process is an in-depth review conducted with outside experts (you can learn more about that process here).

Our standards are broken into five sections: Measurement, Offsetting, Reduction Actions, Disclosure, and Standards Transition. We’ll go through the main highlights and changes to the standards below. For more detail, please refer to the complete 2022 Climate Neutral Standards

The Climate Neutral Certified Standards

Companies must follow the Climate Neutral Certification Standards (CNCS) in order to receive the Climate Neutral Certified label. Learn more about the requirements that apply to all brands seeking certification during calendar year 2022 for their 2021 emissions.

Learn More

Measurement

We made no substantial changes to our measurement process in our 2022 Standards. Our measurement requirements outline how brands of different sizes are expected to measure their footprints, and the boundaries they are expected to follow in the certification process. All brands are required to measure cradle-to-customer emissions. 

Offsetting

Our offsetting standards set boundaries on the different kinds of carbon credits that brands can invest in, including some specifications on location, the year a credit is issued, the list of eligible verification standards, and how brands may purchase credits. This year, we are removing Clean Development Mechanism credits from our eligibility list, although credits with CDM methodologies that are appear in accepted registries such as Gold Standard and Voluntary Carbon Standard are still permitted.

We also will no longer be requiring brands to meet specific portfolio allocation targets for different project types. Instead, we will be internally tracking purchased credits based on three project categories: Energy and industry, natural climate solutions, and engineered carbon removals. Brands will be required to report on how their credits fit within these three categories, and are strongly encouraged to follow our suggested portfolio allocation targets for these three categories.

Reduction Actions

All brands are required to set two reduction action targets that outline emission reduction strategies to occur over the next 12-24 months. We have two new changes to our reduction action standards this year. First, we’ll be requiring brands with over $5 million in annual revenues to set a reduction action target focus on value chain or Scope 3 emissions. Second, we will be requiring all brands with over $100 million in annual revenues to adopt science-aligned 2030 reduction targets, or targets that are in line with the Paris Agreement’s goals to limit global warming to 1.5oC. 

Disclosure

Our disclosure standards outline what information brands must share on their Climate Neutral Brand Profile pages. This includes total footprint, US dollar amount spent on carbon credits, and a summary of committed reduction action plans. This disclosure requirement keeps brands accountable for their reduction actions and helps us align our certification with important neutrality standards. 

Standards Transition

Finally, new this year, we are introducing a standards transition period to allow brands some wiggle room to adapt to larger changes to the standards. During our annual standards review process, we’ll discuss whether or not to allow a transition period for recertifying brands to meet new standards. Transition periods in a given year will only apply brands that are re-certifying, not those who are certifying for the first time. 

We look forward to continuing to drive immediate and ambitious impact in 2022 with these new standards!

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About the Author

Lauren Frisch
Program Manager

With a background in environmental research and science communication, Lauren is interested in helping companies use science-based, data-driven strategies to mitigate climate change. She has a BA in environmental geology from Colgate University, an MS in environmental policy from Bard College, and an MBA from the University of Vermont. Lauren lives in Burlington, where she spends most of her free time trying to keep up with her sled dog Daisy.

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