How we rate projects

At Renoster, we believe in the notion of deep transparency. This is reflected in making our methodology as transparent as our project reviews.

For this reason, all criteria for scoring are here published and explained, leaving nothing to the imagination. These criteria are articulated into five principles to obtain a score that represents how accurately carbon credits have been attributed to the project.

We acknowledge these methods have limitations, which we’ll address in our methods section at the bottom of this page.

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Satellite image of protected land, lush and green, with deforestation creeping towards the drawn border

1. Additionality

Is the project justified?

Did the project improve something, or would the land have looked the same without it? Checking for additionality demonstrates whether the project is justified, if it avoided deforestation or somehow preserved carbon storage. Additionality is broken down into a set of subcomponents, some of which are graded on a “good/medium/fail” scale, and some of which are simply “pass/fail”.

Chart of a project's baseline vs Renoster's baseline over time

2. Baseline

What would have happened if the project didn’t exist?

A baseline is useful to know what would have happened if the project did not exist. Credits are issued comparing baseline and actual carbon value. Choosing inadequate baselines means overrating/underrating the project’s performance. The baseline here is addressed both qualitatively and quantitatively. The quantitative comparison is made by creating an ad hoc simulated baseline by picking regions outside the project that have similar characteristics to the project, and following their outcomes in terms of forest cover over time.

Satellite image of a project, border marked in a white line, with red areas marked within the project border.

3. Leakage

How has this project impacted deforestation elsewhere?

Big projects could affect the surrounding areas increasing their deforestation rate and, potentially, affect the timber market by cutting down supply and increasing price. Geographically, leakage is very hard to conceptualise, especially for smaller projects. Most importantly, when surrounding areas are destroyed, leakage can turn the strategic protection of a land that would have likely been deforested into the cause of said deforestation, and is at odds with the principle of additionality. As such, leakage is only reported and does not determine any score change to avoid any unfair penalisation.

Photograph of the border between a forest full of diverse trees, and a lawn.

4. Verification

How much carbon are the trees storing?

The final aim of this scoring system is to answer whether or not the project’s carbon numbers correspond to the carbon value of the forest. This also includes assessing whether or not the project’s inventory techniques meet industry standards, as well as whether or not the project has been remeasured at appropriate intervals of time. When assessing verification, rather than verifying a project’s numbers, the focus is on the project’s methodology.

Satellite image showing heat from wildfires.

5. Permanence

How long does the project protect the trees?

In order to assess the mitigation impact of the project, it is crucial to understand if the carbon stored in the managed forest is at immediate risk of being emitted back into the atmosphere. This assessment seeks to answer whether the project’s carbon will be stored long-term, or whether it is at risk of loss (or has already been lost). This includes a measurement of forest cover loss to date.

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We use an open, scientific rubric to provide transparent reviews, so you can discover high quality offsets.

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