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What is the Quality Assurance Standard for Carbon Offsetting?

Quality Assurance Scheme for Carbon Offsetting

The Quality Assurance Standard for Carbon Offsetting (QAS) benchmarks carbon offset firms against the most rigorous quality standards in the world for voluntary carbon offsets. The aim is to allow consumers and businesses to offset their carbon emissions with complete confidence. The QAS is the only carbon offset standard which is independently audited - this makes it independent from both carbon offset providers and the organisations which run the carbon credit verification programmes. It uses the same standards as the QAS started by the UK Government in 2009 which ended on June 30th 2011.

Clear was the first carbon offset company in the world to have all its products fully approved by the original UK Government QAS, and this remains the case with the new Quality Assurance Standard. Our base price is clearly displayed on our homepage, in tCO2e (tonnes of greenhouse gas reduction equivalent to CO2).

The following are key criteria for compliance:

  • Highest levels of accuracy available for online carbon calculators
  • QAS-approved credits retired within one year of carbon offset purchase
  • Clear & transparent online pricing for carbon offsets
  • Must provide information on climate change, the role of carbon offsetting and how to reduce your carbon footprint

Our free downloadable Carbon Audit Tool meets all these requirements and uses the latest calculation factors provided by Defra / DECC (May 2012 update). We also use total emissions of CO2, CH4 and N2O (in CO2e), rather than CO2 emissions only.

CERs - Kyoto-compliant carbon certificates

Clear offsets your emissions by buying and retiring high quality certificates such as Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs). So what is a CER you might ask? A CER is a certificate which is issued every time the United Nations prevents one tonne of CO2 equivalent being emitted through carbon projects registered with the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). CDM Projects include for example replacing coal fired electricity with clean technology, or methane capture from landfill sites.

The CDM ensures that each carbon project would not have happened anyway (additionality), and independently establishes a baseline estimating the future emissions in the absence of each project (more info). Once a project is registered and implemented, the CDM issues just enough CERs to cover the monitored difference between the baseline and the actual emissions.