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  • CarbonCrop Team

Better Offsets: No double counting

Why it's important to make everything count, but only count once.

Beech seedlings on the forest floor at Mt Thomas in mid Canterbury
Beech seedlings on Mt Thomas (photo credit: Rowan Sprague, CarbonCrop)

What is double counting with carbon offsets?

An offset can only be issued once for a particular action. For example, if a forest sequesters 1 tonne of carbon dioxide in a year, only 1 carbon credit can be issued. The offset issued cannot be used or claimed twice either.

Why is it important to only count an offset once?

Double counting is similar to selling the same thing twice. For example, a car dealership can’t sell the same car to Person A and to Person B. Not only is double counting unfair, but it would also dilute our climate change efforts and falsify carbon-neutral claims.

We have to make everything count, but only count once.

How does it apply to Native CCUs?

CarbonCrop makes sure Native CCUs aren't double counted by:

  • Only counting forests that are not eligible for the ETS

  • Checking major international registries for all project areas to ensure that carbon credits haven’t been issued for that forest, and making our registration data available for others to check against.

  • Requiring that landowners inform us if they have registered their property in another carbon-crediting scheme.

NZ's international reporting: it’s not double counting - they are two separate accounting systems

There's no double counting issue between NZ's international reporting and Native CCUs just like there's no double counting between NZ's international reporting and the NZETS.

They're two separate accounting systems or two different sets of records. One is a marketplace with incentives. The other is an international reporting framework.

NZUs are issued in the ETS marketplace for post-89 sequestration, and that same post-89 sequestration is reflected in the international reporting framework as sequestration - you haven't counted it twice, you've just counted it once in each of two different sets of records for different purposes.

Similarly, Native CCUs are issued in the voluntary carbon marketplace for additional sequestration in pre-90 forest. If that additional sequestration is also counted under the NZ International reporting, that's fine.

Back to the car analogy

You can’t sell the same car to Person A and Person B.

But if we sell a car to Person A, and Person A fills out a census form saying how many cars they have at home, and the local city council also fills out a form saying how many cars they have in the city and include Person A's car, that's not an issue.

It’s the same relationship with Native CCUs, the ETS and New Zealand’s international reporting under the Paris Agreement. New Zealand reports on its total carbon emissions, including sequestration from pre-90 and post-89 forests. Carbon credits can also be sold for that sequestration.


If you have post-89 native forest, you should first try to register it for the ETS. We can help here. Our ETS acceptance rate is 96%, and 80% of our ETS registrations are for natives.

Find out what you’ve got, and what it’s worth. For free.

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