What is Credible Carbon?

Credible Carbon is a registry that sells credits from projects that are independently audited against carbon market standards that have been approved by the UNFCCC. We pride ourselves on creating a transparent and robust carbon trading system that gets as much money as possible to projects that are part of Africa’s climate change solution

Avoiding carbon-emitting activities is your key (and first) responsibility; but when emissions are unavoidable, buying an offset from an emission reduction project can make reducing greenhouse gas emissions affordable. Credible Carbon offsets also improve the living conditions for people in Africa because we only register projects that help alleviate poverty.

Every Credible Carbon project is independently audited and has to comply with the Credible Carbon Standard. We understand that the principals in a carbon market are the buyers and the sellers, we are simply a necessary transaction cost. As such we aim to make our process as streamlined as possible without compromising market integrity or the fungibility of our credits. The standard is simple and powerful and requires projects to answer four grounding questions:


  • Is the project real – does it exist, is it up and running?
    We do not forward trade carbon off the back of business plans or cheap talk. The project must have been running for long enough for a credible audit to be done, usually about twelve months.
  • Is the planned technology in place and functioning according to its design specification?
    Part of the project registration process spells out what emission reduction technology the project has implemented (e.g. waste recycling) and how it will operate. The project is audited against this.
  • Is the quantification of carbon in line with locally and internationally accepted norms, unbiased and verifiable?
    Part of the project registration process lists the methodologies that will be used to quantify its emission reductions. These methodologies must conform to local and internationally accepted methodologies, such as used in the CDM, Gold Standard, VCS and other standards. This is to ensure that the emission reductions are credible in the eyes of auditors and offset buyers and governments.
  • Does the project make a discernible impact on poverty?
    Part of the project registration process describes how the project intends to deliver poverty alleviation benefits and the audit will check that the promised benefits were delivered.

We think that the answers to these FOUR BIG QUESTIONS provide buyers with the type and quality of information that they require about Credible Carbon’s offsets. In contrast, many alternative registries and carbon standards produce vast amounts of documentation, at great expense, and which leave buyers confused and frustrated.

All our projects are audited using methodologies recognised by the CDM and others, but applying voluntary carbon market processes. Our audits are conducted by independent and recognised entities, typically last four days, always involve a site visit and beneficiary interviews, and cost between 10 and 100 times less than the alternatives. Past audits have been conducted by the University of Cape Town’s Energy Research Centre, The Green House, SouthSouthNorth, Urban Earth and Carbon Calculated. All of whom have a recognised reputation in the industry and a valuable track-record associated with uncompromising rigour.

The result is a set of projects that comply with our aim and vision for this market:
Real projects, real people, real benefits (we don’t trade business plans!), and emission reduction plus poverty alleviation.

We pride ourselves that across our projects at least 70% of net carbon revenue is returned to the project beneficiaries as cash or reinvestment. In the period 2008 to 2016 we managed to return an average of 91% of carbon revenue to projects, after audit fees, legal costs and registry fees.

Credible Carbon is a registry that was designed to support projects (not itself!) and constantly seeks to reduce the transaction costs for small, poverty alleviating projects that also reduce greenhouse gas emissions using methodologies recognised by the CDM.

Credible Carbon’s volume of traded credits has grown over the past six years from 8 000 tCO2; in 2010 to over
100 000 tCO2 in 2019. Carbon credit prices in 2015 ranged from R36 per tCO2 to R140 per tCO2 depending on scale and the nature of the project.

We would like to see a world in which composting companies of tomorrow replace the oil companies of today in the local economy.

 In search of localisation and improved efficiency of their carbon credit generation, Reliance changed its Verifier and Manager of the Registry from a European to a local Cape Town based company, Credible Carbon. The transition was seamless and easy access to efficient and friendly staff and systems makes the management and trade of credits easy and smooth. Large percentages of the money collected through the sale of carbon credits is used to lessen poverty in our communities”

Detlev Meyer, CEO Reliance, South Africa.

View more testimonials

Kuyasa is low-carbon housing development in one of the poorest and most vulnerable corners of Khayelitsha, Western Cape.