Amazon To Pioneer New Carbon Offset Standard With Verra, Sidesteps Bezos-Backed Approach

Amazon To Pioneer New Carbon Offset Standard With Verra, Sidesteps Bezos-Backed Approach - Carbon Herald

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) is supporting the development of a new carbon offset verification standard developed with Verra, thereby becoming the first company to bypass the existing ICVCM global standard funded by its founder, Jeff Bezos.

The initiative is part of Amazon’s strategy to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. The company is evaluating over 70 proposals to restore tens of thousands of hectares of degraded land.

This move, however, has drawn criticism for potentially causing market confusion and lowering carbon offset standards, The Business Times reported.

Amazon has completed work on Abacus, a framework for verifying carbon offsets in reforestation and agroforestry that serves as an alternative to the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM) standard. Verra expects the new label to become available within weeks.

Despite supporting ICVCM’s work, Amazon sought a more ambitious approach, Jamey Mulligan, the company’s head of carbon neutralization, was quoted as saying in an interview, emphasizing the need for credits with a real and verified impact on emissions.

He declined to comment on Bezos’ involvement in Amazon’s decision, and Bezos was unavailable for comment, according to The Business Times.

Major tech companies like Alphabet, Meta, Microsoft, and Salesforce have committed to purchasing up to 20 million tons of Abacus-certified credits.

Relevant: Verra Unveils New Modular Methodology for Carbon Capture and Storage

ICVCM’s experts express concern about the creation of alternative standards, fearing market fragmentation and inconsistent quality claims.

Kelley Kizzier from Bezos Earth Fund, part of ICVCM’s board, described Abacus as complementary rather than competitive to ICVCM.

The voluntary carbon offset market, valued at $2 billion, faces challenges due to doubts about the effectiveness of underlying projects.

ICVCM’s main label, Core Carbon Principle, currently verifies only a fraction of offsets, and critics argue that buying offsets does not truly neutralize a company’s impact.

However, proponents believe the Abacus label’s transparency and rigorous monitoring will enhance market integrity, although questions remain about its ability to ensure permanence of the carbon removals.

Amazon, which emitted 71.3 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-eq) in 2022, plans to become a major buyer of carbon credits while continuing efforts to decarbonize its operations.

Read more: Amazon Commits $15M To Asia’s “Wild Carbon” Program, Starts With Project In India’s Western Ghats

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