Offset Network

image of the Offset Network landing page

Overview

The Duke Carbon Offsets Initiative (DCOI) is a founding member of the Offset Network, along with Oberlin College and the University of Florida. The Offset Network as a web-resource platform run by Second Nature for the academic community to publicize project successes and lessons learned, and foster collaboration to develop carbon offset projects. The Offset Network brings together institutions of higher education to make carbon offset projects more accessible, innovative, and scalable.

Mission

To facilitate and catalyze high-integrity, unique offset projects that provide educational and research opportunities for students, faculty, and staff by connecting peer institutions and aggregating best practices.

Purpose

The Offset Network provides easy access to case studies, protocols, and general project development pathways to help institutions develop offset projects. In addition, the Offset Network is working with Second Nature, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), peer institutions, and professionals from the offset community to expand the options for 3rd party verification through peer verification. This academic collaboration, to accomplish verification within the academic community will decrease the cost of offset projects, and encourage research and development by leveraging the academic expertise that exists within institutions. Additionally, it provides a peer review framework for innovative projects seeking to develop novel carbon reduction methodologies, allowing institutions to develop innovative projects at a low cost. The Offset Network therefore seeks to provide peer verification guidance materials as well as a pathway for carbon offset projects to undergo peer verification.
Graphic of the Offset Network where it shows that participants in the Network help with peer review and peer verification of projects

Peer Review Committee

Working closely with peer institutions, the DCOI helped update Second Nature’s guidance materials for purchasing carbon offset credits and developing carbon offset projects internally. This update includes an alternative pathway for schools to pursue 3rd party verification for carbon offset projects via a peer institution. By allowing this new project pathway, institutions will be better able to leverage their academic resources to implement carbon offset projects at a reduced price while building robust educational opportunities.

To realize this project pathway, the DCOI is a member of the Peer Review Committee for the Offset Network. This committee serves to structure and develop a system to facilitate Peer Verification of academic offset projects. The Peer Review Committee has brought together academics and carbon offset professionals, and charted the path to develop a professionally robust alternative to existing project verification. Peer Verification will empower academia to advance innovative offset projects, reduce the cost of verification, and build best practice guidance documents to inform project implementation for the global offset community.

Graphic of project review process.

The Peer Review Committee has chosen to structure Peer Verification solution to fit the form of an academic journal and build upon the resources available on OffsetNetwork.org. Guidance Documents as well as individual project documents (Project Specific Offsets) that are submitted by institutions, will undergo peer review before being made publically available. The DCOI is also working with current established voluntary carbon offset registries to see how the peer review process can inform registries in the future. Find additional updates as they become available by visiting www.offsetnetwork.org.