9 things you should know about CHOOOSE
1. You have an actual impact as a CHOOOSE member
When you make a payment to CHOOOSE as ‘Climate Positive’, ‘Climate Champion’ or ‘Climate Hero’, we use your money to buy carbon credits on your behalf. More simply put, you subscribe to financially supporting projects which reduce greenhouse gas emissions (including CO2) in developing countries. Right now, you support two specific, carefully selected projects, respectively in Thailand and Vietnam.
In the Kalasin province in Thailand, the growth of cassava (a root vegetable) and processing of the starch plays a huge part in the economy. However, these starch processing factories place a significant strain on the environment, requiring large amounts of water for washing the cassava. This is done with pungent-smelling methane emissions (a greenhouse gas with 28 times the global warming potential of CO2) and high fossil fuel reliance. CHOOOSE members have helped the Bangna Biogas project generate an average of 7,000 MWh of biogas energy in the Kalasin province yearly by repurposing methane emissions from wastewater. In addition, the treated wastewater can be recycled and used for cleaning the cassava - this has saved many metric tons of freshwater every day. For the local community, the air quality has improved and new jobs were created.
Around a thousand kilometers southeast of the Kalasin province, CHOOOSE members support the first large-scale coastal wind power project in Vietnam, the Bac Lieu wind farm. The economic growth of Vietnam is outpacing the supply of electricity. The majority of the electricity is generated from fossil fuel sources and distributed through the national electricity grid. This shortage has a negative effect on the economy and local livelihoods. The Bac Lieu wind farm has been generating 100,000+ MWh of clean electricity to the national power grid every year by mitigating an average of 60,000 metric tons of CO2e annually. This project also accelerates the deployment of this technology in Vietnam, and at the same time contributes to five of the UN Sustainable Development Goals: No Poverty (SDG 1); Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7); Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8); Climate Action (SDG 13); and Life on Land (SDG 15).
2. Every project in CHOOOSE’s portfolio is carefully selected
At CHOOOSE, it’s crucial to us that our members can trust the projects we channel their money to. That’s why we put a lot of work in the selection process. We’ll try to simplify that process here: first, we get in touch with project developers, owners or aggregators depending on our technology, location and standard certification criteria. Different projects are suggested to us and then investigated by our Head of Carbon Solutions, Olivier Levallois, to ensure they feature the greatest impacts, suitability and the lowest risks. This leaves us with the best, most impactful projects, and in case of any doubt, we consult our external Carbon Advisory Board led by Lauren Gifford, PhD, and affiliate professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
3. CHOOOSE will soon allow you to select the exact project you want to support
As a brand new initiative, it will in the near future be possible for each CHOOOSE member to pick and support a specific project from our portfolio. The portfolio will consist of 3 to 5 projects, and we’re looking forward to being able to empower our members as much as possible.
As mentioned earlier, you support two different projects when you subscribe to CHOOOSE at the moment: Bac Lieu wind farm in Vietnam and Bangna biogas project in Thailand. Previously, members have supported, among others, a Solar Power project in India and a Hydropower Plant project in Vietnam. All projects adhere to the Gold Standard, and are already (or in the process of transitioning to) the new Gold Standard for Global Goals.
4. CHOOOSE keeps track of each individual project
Carbon credits are a result-based financing mechanism. This means that a carbon credit can only be delivered and sold when the underlying project has demonstrated that it has reduced or avoided carbon emissions. Projects are obliged to monitor their impacts, get them audited by accredited third-parties and certified by a certification standard (e.g. the UN or the Gold Standard). For instance, The Bac Lieu wind farm documentation is available on the UN climate change convention website. After the auditing and certification, carbon credits are issued and stored in international registries, such as the Gold Standard registry. Finally, they’re ready to be retired or cancelled, which is what it’s called when we buy the credits and make sure that no one else can buy them.
At CHOOOSE, we’ve also decided to make all our retirements publicly available, whenever technically feasible. On our transparency page, we display the list of carbon credits we’ve retired on behalf of individual members, and our objective is to be as transparent as possible and ensure that every single member can be certain that we do what we say we do. All members have the opportunity to dive into the underlying detailed documentation. The transcript shows the serial numbers of all the carbon credits retired on behalf of individual members, the projects’ identification number and their exact location.
5. CHOOOSE has no financial incentive to select cheap projects and sell at a higher price
Our goal and promise is to always chase the highest possible impact on behalf of our members. No matter the size of the payment received from a member, CHOOOSE always charges a low flat fee of $0.99. That’s our way to ensure our subscribers that the projects we support are chosen based on quality and environmental impact, and not on how we as a company can make more profit. After the $0.99, the rest of the subscription payment is directed into high quality and legitimate projects that have strong CO2 reducing and social effects.
6. CHOOOSE sets a custom subscription price for each country
The price of your personal subscription is based on where you live in the world as the average carbon footprint for a human being differs from country to country. At CHOOOSE, we use the numbers calculated by The World Bank: a country’s total amount of CO2 emissions divided by the number of people living there. For instance, the ‘Climate Positive’ monthly subscription in France is €3.99 while it’s €5.99 in Germany. If you live in the United States, you pay $9.90 per month.
7. CHOOOSE and other companies working with carbon offsetting are sometimes subject to criticism or skepticism - here’s why
Some people tend to criticize CHOOOSE and similar companies because they believe we see carbon offsetting as a tool that solves everything. But that’s not the case at all here at CHOOOSE. An avoided emission is better than a compensated one. Always.
Individuals and corporates should consistently ensure to reduce their own footprint. That’s our belief, and we see offsetting as an additional tool that enables people to compensate for their unavoidable carbon footprint. Because no matter how much you change your life, you will still be left with a substantial carbon footprint - and even good decisions come with carbon emissions.
The criticism expressed towards carbon offsetting is often related to bad, cheap projects which should’ve never been approved to be able to sell carbon credits in the first place. Yes, there are some of them out there. At CHOOOSE, we take precautionary measures to work with best-in-class projects. To do so, we support projects which are certified by the most environmentally and socially robust and demanding carbon certification standards. We also carry out our additional due diligence to ensure the funds do not go to undeserving project developers (e.g. mining and fossil fuel companies). We make sure that the projects meet the best practices when it comes to labour and rights, and we also collaborate with some of the foremost PhDs from academia to assure we only support projects that tick all the boxes.
8. CHOOOSE takes a quality, integrity and verification approach on project selection
Carbon certification standards have been made to make sure that individuals and corporations can trust the environmental and social integrity of the projects delivering greenhouse gas emission reductions. There are a few internationally recognised and robust standards out there, and we at CHOOOSE aim to work with the most rigorous ones. Our go-to standards are the Clean Development Mechanism or CDM (developed as part of the Kyoto Protocol by the United Nations) and the Gold Standard, an independent standard set-up which is supported by more than 80 independent NGOs. To a lesser extent, we also intend to support projects certified by the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and Plan Vivo.
All the projects we support go through multiple levels of environmental integrity and quality checks. All of them are audited by accredited third-party organisations (such as DNV GL, Bureau Veritas, TÜV SÜD); they go through the reviews of the certification standards (such as UNFCCC and Gold Standard), and they go through the quality screening of our procurement partners (such as SouthPole). Finally, our internal team select the projects, assess their risks and impacts, and carries out a due diligence on them. This work is done by our Head of Carbon Solutions and independent third party advisory board of academics from the UK and USA.
9. CHOOOSE gives you access to the latest and most innovative mechanisms for carbon drawdown
One tool for combating climate change is reducing or avoiding more CO2 emissions from being released into the atmosphere. Another one is removing the CO2 that’s already there - also known as carbon drawdown or sequestration. Climate drawdown is the point at which greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere level off and begin to decline on a year-to-year basis. Drawdown is a milestone in reversing climate change and eventually reducing global average temperatures.
This is a rather new initiative, and at CHOOOSE we’re proud to be one of the world’s first providers of it. Together with our partners from the Puro auction platform developed by Fortum, we’re able to offer easy access to this complex mechanism that enables our members to support projects using techniques such as biochar and wooden building elements. Biochar, which is basically charcoal made from organic material, holds a lot of carbon and is used in soil. Using wooden building elements in the construction of buildings makes sure that the wood is taken away from circulation for a long time. All projects supported by CHOOOSE remove CO2 from the atmosphere for at least 50 years.
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