V – Review of Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCBS)

Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standard (CCBS)

The CCB Standard (CCBS) is operated by the CCB Alliance (CCBA) which is in partnership with various organizations, institutions, businesses and NGOs (i.e. BP, CARE, The Hamburg Institute for Environmental Economics, Intel, Rainforest Alliance, SC Johnson, Sustainable Forestry Management and other advising institutions). “CCBA aims to promote the development of forest protection, restoration and agro-forestry projects through high quality multiple-benefit land-based carbon projects”(Carbon Positive, 2009c).

The CCBA does not issue carbon credits and mainly focuses on the generation of co-benefits, although carbon reductions are quantified. Therefore a project developer seeking carbon credits will need to add another carbon standard such as CDM or VCS. CCBS is one of the most popular standards to quantify co-benefits and is widely used in conjunction with VCS.

The analysis below has been assessed from information available at the CCBS website (CCBA, 2009) and Project Design Standards Second Edition (CCBA, 2008).

12 projects have been certified so far and another 66 projects are at some stage of the validation process.

Afforestation/ Reforestation      Score: 5

CCBS includes afforestation and reforestation

REDD         Score: 5

CCBS includes REDD

Location         Score: 5

CCBS accepts projects in any country in the world.

Additionality      Score: 5

CCBS allows the use of the CDM additionality tool (CDM Executive Board) to determine the additionality.

Methodology Approved     Score: 4

The methodology used focuses on co-benefits and uses a score card. The project proponent needs to justify following the guidelines from the CCB Project Design Standard Second Edition (CCBA, 2008). A project will only receive CCBS certification if it complies with all the “required” categories. There is the possibility to reach the Gold Rating if it meets at least one “optional” category.

–          General Section:

  • Original Conditions in the Project Area (Required)
  • Baseline Projections (Required)
  • Project Design and Goals (Required)
  • Management Capacity and Best Practices (Required)
  • Legal Status and Property rights (Required)

–          Climate Section:

  • Net Positive Climate Impacts (Required)
  • Offsite Climate Impacts – leakage (Required)
  • Climate Impact Monitoring (Required)

–          Community Section:

  • Net Positive Community Impacts (Required)
  • Offsite Stakeholder Impacts (Required)
  • Community Impact Monitoring (Required)

–          Biodiversity Section:

  • Net Positive Biodiversity Impacts (Required)
  • Offsite Biodiversity Impacts (Required)
  • Biodiversity Impact Monitoring (Required)

–          Gold Level Section:

  • Climate Change Adaptation Benefits (Optional)
  • Exceptional Community Benefits (Optional)
  • Exceptional Biodiversity Benefits (Optional)

CCBS is based on a general design concept and the methodology only provides guidelines, with certain categories requiring it to utilise tools from CDM methodologies. This is mostly due to the complexity of quantifying biodiversity and the co-benefits that are subjective. However the project documents of all the projects validated so far are extremely detailed. As a result, CCBS will receive a score of 4.

Permanence         Score: 4

CCBS requires project developers to identify and reduce the risk of non-permanence. Since CCBA recommends other standards to deal with carbon management, the project proponent may follow different approaches according to the chosen standard. Some projects are using the CDM approach where credits are temporary and require replacement if they no longer exist. Other projects chose the risk buffer approach where carbon credits must go to a carbon pool according to risk.

CCBA is flexible with various permanence approaches but advises the use of other standards to deal with it, as for these reasons it will score 4.

Leakage        Score: 4

CCBS provides the indicators to account leakage. Any leakage must be discounted from the total carbon net benefit.

– Determine the types of leakage

– Document how any leakage might be mitigated

– Subtract any leakage from the carbon net benefit

– Non-CO2 gases must be included if they account for more than a 5% change in carbon accounting.

Although CCBA provides guidelines to deal with leakage and projects must provide the details of any leakage, it does not provide tools. As per these reasons, it scores 4.

Co-benefits         Score: 5

The CCBS was created to deal with co-benefits and the entire standard revolves around the concept of accounting co-benefit and giving it a value. The aim is to approve projects that reduce carbon emissions, support local communities and preserve biodiversity.

The co-benefits accounted are:

Socio-economic and cultural factors: information about communities including wealth, age, gender, ethnicity, in addition the identification of Indigenous Peoples and a description of community characteristics. Furthermore, a description of land rights in the protected zone and the formal identification of any land dispute over the last ten years.

Biodiversity factors: description of current species diversity and ecosystems as well as threats to that biodiversity. Evaluation of High Conservation Values (HCVs) such as protected areas, threatened species and endemic species in any area that temporarily supports a high concentration of biodiversity due to migrations, breeding areas or feeding grounds. Other factors include, threatened, rare or critical ecosystems; areas that provide basic needs for local communities such as food, fuel, medicines or building materials.  It also includes areas that are essential for the cultural identity of a local community, for example areas that have religious, ecologic, cultural or economical significance to local communities.

As per all the co-benefits mentioned above, CCBS scores the maximum points.

Registry           Score: 5

There is no registry as such because CCBA does not provide carbon credits, therefore there is no double counting. All the projects are accessible at the CCBS website.

Transparency         Score: 5

CCBA provides access to all the documents for the projects on the website, including projects that are in the validation process. In addition, the projects need to pass a 21 day public consultation which is accessible from the website as well.

All the information is easily accessible and user friendly, therefore CCBS will receive the highest score.

ICROA      Score: 1

ICROA does not accept CCBS projects on their own; the projects will need to receive double validation with VCS or CDM.

US Market       Score: 3

CCBS on its own is not enough to survive in the US market, although CCBS plus VCS certification is widely accepted and strongly recommended. As CCBS will need to have VCS, it will not score the maximum grade.


CCBS scores 51, and is well positioned to quantify the co-benefits of socio-economic and biodiversity factors which illustrates why it is regarded as the most popular standard to quantify those co-benefits. However it falls short in providing carbon credits which is what the carbon market is seeking. CCBS is also the most popular forestry carbon standard with 12 projects validated so far and 66 in the pipeline. CCBS advises to use VCS to certify the carbon credits. CCBS needs to change its strategy as it could easily become worthless if the other main carbon standards begin to include co-benefits as well.


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