The carbon dioxide removal (CDR) community is coming together to raise credibility and sustainably scale the industry. To help CDR reach its full potential, an approach that ensures the mistakes plaguing carbon offset markets are avoided is needed and Isometric – a new player on the voluntary carbon market scene – is aiming to achieve just that.
Founded in 2022, the company is serving the industry as a carbon removal Registry and Science Platform raising the bar on transparency, collaboration and scientific rigor.
Its team has been working on developing some of the most rigorous modular protocols, to set a high bar for what measurement, reporting and verification should be like for carbon removal credits. Those efforts aim to address the various challenges faced by the traditional carbon offset market.
The company launched its Isometric Standard on October 4th which is currently undergoing a period of public consultation. Anyone willing to give feedback and weigh in on developing a rigorous standard are free to create an account and post their comments.
According to the company, the Isometric Standard is built to ensure only real carbon removal credits that can prove they have actually removed CO2 from the atmosphere, are recognized. To make that happen, it follows four registry principles: transparency, scientific rigor, incentive alignment and collaboration.
And the principles are reflected by a set of criteria:
- Isometric only issues credits for fully verified, delivered (“ex-post”) tonnes of carbon removal.
- The captured CO2 must be stored permanently for quantifiable long-duration timescales generally for more than 1000 years.
- The standard does not issue credits from projects that may only temporarily store CO2 like reforestation projects due to the risk of wildfires as an example.
- The standard does not issue avoidance credits or credits that do not actually result in a net reduction of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
- The full calculations behind every single carbon credit listed on the isometric platform are publicly available and visible which portrays the company’s commitment to transparency. Information like a utility bill showing how much of the energy powering the carbon removal was renewable is open to the public.
The standard has also been built by the collaboration of over 150 expert scientists who followed a trusted approach. To continue building trust and reliability, the company has created a Science Platform – a platform where scientific experts gather together to accelerate the alignment with high-quality standards.
Eamon Jubbawy, Founder and CEO of Isometric, answered some questions for Carbon Herald and explained that the Science Platform acts as a home for early-stage “pre-registry” suppliers to upload early data and get feedback from the scientific community.
“This helps close the gap between the cutting edge of scientific research happening in academia, government and elsewhere, the work being done on the ground (or in the oceans) by suppliers… As suppliers mature (thanks to feedback from our group of 150+ scientists in the Science Network), they graduate from the Science Platform onto the Registry once they are ready for credit issuance,” explained Mr Jubbawy.
Mr Jubbawy also walked us through his journey of founding Isometric. Prior to that, his experience was building a company called Onfido – an organization that uses AI to perform fraud detection and identity verification for the largest banks in the world. He grew the company to almost 500 people and $100m in revenue and creating a trust-building infrastructure was also at the core of what he did.
“I knew I wanted to apply myself to solving climate change but didn’t feel qualified to start a company in this space. So I spent 18 months exploring the problems that existed in addressing climate change, and soon I realized that my experience was more relevant than I had initially thought. Carbon markets were suffering from a lack of trust, and I had spent a decade building trust infrastructure at Onfido,” he commented.
Additionally, he is happy to see how scientists are willing to join collaborative efforts to help build and scale the carbon removal market. “The Science Platform has had hundreds of applications from scientists… We like the decentralized, open source nature of scientists volunteering to contribute on the platform”.
Isometric’s business model also focuses on credibility and fairness. The company wants to avoid the common model of registries charging suppliers for the issuance of credits.
“Most registries on the market today have their fees paid by the suppliers. But the role of a registry is to mark the homework of suppliers – so for a registry to be financially dependent on a supplier represents a clear conflict of interest. We’re able to avoid these perverse incentives by charging a flat fee per offtake or purchase to the buyers of carbon credits. The registry fee is independent from the removal fee, and covers all the costs associated with developing protocols, verifying removals and issuing credits,” explained for Carbon Herald Mr Jubbawy.
The goal of the company’s flat fee structure is to create an economic incentive to give buyers the most accurate verification results and remove any incentive to overcredit.
Isometric also announced in July a funding round of $25 million that will help the company develop further its registry and keep building strong credibility and scientific community around the space.
Mr Jubbawy shared that the key points in the conversations with investors Lowercarbon Capital and Plural that took part in the funding round were centered around the importance of having a registry that can help the carbon removal industry scale.
To make that happen, the registry should “ensure scientific rigor at the heart of the industry” and “help suppliers get to credits faster, not slower”, as per Mr Jubbawy. A greater focus on measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) is also a positive signal that the carbon removal market is moving in an upwards direction.
As Isometric continues to improve both its standard and registry, it is also inviting any companies working on carbon removal MRV to reach out to collaborate at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Building trust, attracting investment, and facilitating suppliers and buyers in the complex journey of obtaining carbon credits is a priority for the young industry that holds the great ambition of removing historic carbon emissions from the atmosphere. Isometric focuses on transparency, scientific rigor, additionality and permanence of carbon removal credits as a foundation for the industry’s sustainable growth and success in realizing its mission.