Carbon Reduction Certificates Assessment Process and Requirements
Eligible participants can join the Carbon Reduction Certificates scheme at any time. Validity can last as long as the participants comply with the Carbon Reduction Certificates scheme’s requirements. The following figure outlines the process for obtaining the Carbon Reduction Certificate
Application for the Certificate
To apply for the Carbon Reduction Certificate, an eligible participant should complete the Application Form and return it to the Carbon Reduction Implementator. Once the application has been processed, the participant will receive an individual Carbon Reduction Certificate Identification Number. The number will serve as an identity of the participant for the duration of the time when certification status is still valid. It will be used in all future correspondence between the participant, the Carbon Reduction Implementator and the ECC.
Stage 1 - Baseline Carbon Footprint Verification
The first-time participants shall engage a Qualified Service Provider to verify their baseline carbon emissions by calculating/measuring their net carbon emissions before taking any carbon reduction measures within the physical and operational boundaries according to the Guidelines published by the Government.
To reward those participants that have already started carbon reduction initiatives before joining this scheme (i.e. early starters) for their carbon reduction efforts, they are allowed to shift the baseline period to a maximum of 3 years back. In other words, they are allowed to choose the annual emissions of any one of the immediate past three years as the baseline carbon footprint, so that they could take into account any reduction efforts made before joining the scheme.
Stage 2 – Implementation of Carbon Reduction Activities
The participants can identify and implement carbon reduction activities within the defined physical and operational boundaries. The participants shall record and maintain 12 months data to facilitate the quantification of carbon emissions.
There are 4 types of carbon management options that participants can adopt to reduce their carbon footprint. These include:
Avoidance - avoid carbon intensive-activities through such options as redefining business strategy or using own renewables;
Reduction - reduce carbon emissions through enhancing energy efficiency, reducing business travels, product use and disposal, controlling outsourced activities, etc.;
Replacement - replace high-carbon energy sources with low-carbon energy ones; and
Offsetting - compensate those emissions that cannot be eliminated by the above (e.g. tree planting outside physical boundaries, carbon offsets from buying credits, etc.). As there would always be internal carbon reduction limits of any entity due to technology or business reasons, offsetting as a part of carbon management options for participants setting out on a carbon neutrality journey is understandable. Nevertheless, the development of offsetting mechanisms or the market maturity of carbon trading in the local context is yet to be fostered. For this reason, offsetting as a part of carbon management options for participants under this Scheme will not be accepted until further announcement.
Stage 3 – Verification of Carbon Footprint Reduction
By taking measures to reduce carbon emissions, the participants should be able to achieve a net reduction in carbon footprint after a prescribed period. The carbon footprint reduction period (which is the period to be compared against the baseline period) should be of 12 months and it has to be the current year data.
The participants shall appoint a Qualified Service Provider to verify their carbon emissions by calculating/measuring their net carbon emissions after implementing carbon reduction measures within the defined physical and operational boundaries according to the “Guidelines to Account for and Report on Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Removals for Buildings (Commercial, Residential or Institutional Purposes) in Hong Kong” published by the Government. The achievement would be measured in terms of the percentage of carbon emissions reduced (or carbon footprint reduction) against the baseline.
The Qualified Service Provider shall submit the final carbon emissions report to the Carbon Reduction Implementator for review and confirmation. Depending on the percentage achieved, a class of Carbon Reduction Certificate would be granted to the participant as recognition of its efforts. The participant could then continue its efforts in the next cycle and migrate on its journey towards carbon neutrality.
Award of Carbon Reduction Certificate
|First-time participants||Achieved at least 3% reduction in overall carbon footprint against baseline|
|Current Carbon Reduction Certificates Holders||At least maintained the previous year's carbon footprint and achieved at least another 3% reduction in overall carbon footprint against baseline within 3 consecutive years|
The Certificate will be presented in the format: Carbon Reduced by N% Certificate, where N denotes a numerical symbol representing that the participant has achieved N% carbon footprint reduction against the baseline.
With effective from 1 January 2013, the following mechanisms will be adopted:
- The certificate granted to the Carbon Reduction Certificate participant will be valid for three years from the date of certificate accreditation and is subject to renewal before expiry.
- After submitting the first year Qualified Service Provider (QSP) Report, participants will as a minimum submit future QSP Reports no longer than a 3-year interval. This means participants will as a minimum submit another QSP Report in the fourth year. At the end of the second and third year of each cycle, participants will need to submit an Interim Report.
For details of the assessment criteria, application procedures and application forms, please refer to respective Guidebooks for individual types of participation.