The Lifecycle of a Carbon Credit

The climate crisis is arguably the most pressing issue of our generation. Excessive amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has led to global warming and widespread climate destruction. Carbon credits are an ingenious and critical mechanism in the fight against climate change. They refer to measurable and verifiable emissions reductions generated by various climate action projects. In a nutshell, each carbon credit represents 1 tonne of carbon dioxide sequestered from the atmosphere. This quantity can be captured in a number of different ways, but all carbon removal or reduction projects must go through a 5-part process in order to be considered viable carbon credits. Let’s go through the carbon credit life cycle together.

Project Development and Methodology

Every carbon project is unique, and thus must be analyzed in different ways according to the methodologies used. This includes clearly outlining and quantifying how much carbon reductions will be generated by the project’s activities. In this stage, project proponents must create a detailed project description that proves that their plan will meet specific requirements.

Third Party Validation

Before a carbon reduction can actually become a carbon offset, it must meet the criteria outlined by a proper validation and verification body (VVB). Project developers must contract these third-party auditors to verify that their project description complies with the requirements of the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) of Verra - a standard for certifying carbon emissions reductions/removals. This rigorous assessment process guarantees that the project’s actual and predicted activities are in accordance with the carbon program standards and other carbon accounting bodies.

Emissions reduction/removal verification

Once a project is operational, project developers must continually monitor, track and report on project metrics and activities. Verifiers are hired in order to ensure that the project’s projection matches the activities being undergone. Once the emissions reduction and environmental integrity of the project has been verified, it is ready to be registered in an approved registry, such as Verra.

Credit issuance

We are almost there! Once a verified and validated project is registered with an accredited registry, they can begin to receive credits. After being approved, these credits are issued into a registry account and are ready to be sold in the voluntary carbon market!


After a company or organization buys a carbon credit, it is permanently retired. This certifies that the credit cannot be reused or resold.

This rigorous process ensures that the carbon credits that you purchase from The Green Branch are truly helping mitigate the climate crisis - both by sequestering carbon dioxide and increasing the resilience of vulnerable lands. A win for you and the planet! You can be sure that your investment is supporting the vitality of degraded lands and promoting the growth of forests as potent carbon sinks.