Evaluation Criteria

We will evaluate potential UC-initiated and offset market projects using the criteria listed below. Our goal is to develop a diverse portfolio that together achieves these priorities:

Cost and quantity

1. Cost per ton CO2e reduced/sequestered

2. Quantity of reductions/sequestration

We welcome submissions of all sizes. We will evaluate projects that result in over 10,000 tons CO2e annual reductions or sequestration separately from projects with less GHG savings and are particularly interested in projects large enough to cover a significant portion of UC's expected carbon offset needs of 250,000 to 500,000 tons CO2e in 2025 and declining amounts from that year onward.

3. Availability of credits by 2025 or earlier

UC anticipates requiring a small amount of offsets starting in 2020 to bring each campus’ emissions to below their 1990 levels by 2020 as per UC’s sustainability policy, and a larger amount starting in 2025 to meet UC’s carbon neutrality goal. Offset credits can be "banked" and used in later years.

Environmental quality

4. Additional

An offset project is considered additional if the GHG emissions reductions are greater than what would have happened without UC’s climate targets or the incentives created by the offset market. If a project would have happened anyway, due to regulations, profitability, or other reasons, it is non-additional.

For offset market purchases

Identifying projects that are additional is one of the trickiest parts of offset procurement. The best way to know that UC’s investments are making a difference in whether a project goes forward is understanding the considerations of the project developers in their context. It is for this reason that we are seeking your recommendations for individual projects and project types that are worthy of UC support.

An individual project is additional if its resulting emissions reductions most likely would not have happened were it not for the support it receives from an offset program.

A project type can be considered additional if a substantial majority of the credits generated by that project type are from projects that most likely would not have happened were it not for the offset program. It is not necessary for every individual offset project of an accepted project type to be additional; we can apply a discount rate to the credits purchased if our analysis indicates that in total it is generating more credits than reductions achieved. A project type can be defined by technology (e.g. landfill gas capture), or can include further specifications such as location, size, or other project characteristics.

5. Permanent

Proponents of carbon sequestration projects can provide reasonable assurance that the sequestration will not be reversed for at least 40 years (permanence is a concern for land-based projects with carbon storage that can be released).

6. Real

GHG accounting is conservative, comprehensive, and scientifically credible. The offset credits estimated for the project are unlikely to exceed the project’s, or the protocol’s, actual effect on GHGs.

For projects that involve a reduction in productive activity, the risk of leakage should be addressed.

Fulfillment of UC’s research, education, and public service mission

7. Expands or applies UC research

We welcome project ideas that involve cross-campus, interdisciplinary, and cross-sectoral collaborations.

8. Offers educational experiences to students such as through project design, implementation, and monitoring

9. Improves understanding of or demonstrates a scalable climate solution

10. Improves human health

11. Has social justice benefits

12. Directly benefits or resonates with the UC community or communities surrounding the campuses

Resonates could mean many things. For example, a project could have resonance with the UC community if the UC community can enjoy or learn from visiting it, or if the community is simply happy to know their campus is supporting the project.

13. Has low risk of causing harm

For project types that have the potential for causing harm to people or ecosystems, your understanding of the particular project can help us be confident that the projects we choose do not cause harm. Your understanding of the project will be especially valuable for projects in or neighboring marginalized communities, and international projects.

14. Has other co-benefits