The SOCIALCARBON Methodology resulted in the creation of a voluntary co-benefits standard – the SOCIALCARBON® Standard – which identifies and certifies VERs generated with the application of the methodology. The SOCIALCARBON® Standard was developed to strengthen co-benefits of carbon offset projects and enhance active participation of stakeholders. It is typically used in conjunction with a carbon accounting standard, such as the VCS, ISO 14.064-2, TÜV NORD Climate Change Standard or the CDM.
- Ensures the project’s contribution to sustainable development.
- Improves social and environmental benefits of the project.
- Contributes to project differentiation in the market, adding value to generated credits.
Initially designed to evaluate the condition of communities involved in forest projects, the Standard’s methodology has been adapted to other types of climate change mitigation projects while maintaining its basic characteristics. Over the past ten years, various organizations and communities have worked together on climate change mitigation projects in an effort to reach satisfactory standards for developing sustainability indicators. The Standard is unique in its ability to measure and continuously monitor the social and environmental performance of a project to guarantee the effectiveness of improvement measures. The methodology is applied through a tool known as the sustainability hexagon, which assesses six resources along the development of the project: carbon, biodiversity, social, financial, human and natural. Certification is granted to projects that demonstrate continual improvement through the application of the SOCIALCARBON sustainability hexagon.
The SOCIALCARBON Methodology takes its basic structure from the sustainable livelihoods approach (SLA), which was originally developed by Robert Chambers and Gordon Conway and subsequently modified by Scoones:
- “A livelihood is sustainable when it can cope with and recover from stresses and shocks and maintain or enhance its capabilities and assets both now and in the future, while not undermining the natural resource base.”1
- Scoones argues that the ability to attain different livelihoods depends on the possession of material and social goods, and he uses this to define five different types of goods which he terms “resources”: natural capital, economic or financial, human, social and physical. SOCIALCARBON adopted four of the resources defined by Scoones and added two new ones: biodiversity and carbon.
The SOCIALCARBON Standard aims to standardize the application of the methodology: to this end, any developer who wishes to use the SOCIALCARBON® brand or register credits on the SOCIALCARBON Registry must meet the criteria set out in the Standard.
1 CHAMBERS, R. & CONWAY, G. Sustainable rural livelihoods: practical concepts for the 21st century. Discussion paper 296, Institute of Development studies (IDS), 1992.