Ensuring No Over-Crediting of Emission Reductions Due to Double Counting: Stringent Data Management and Exclusive Partnership Contracts

Posted: January 4, 2024

MicroEnergy Credits (MEC) is committed to the ICVCM’s Core Carbon Principles and ensuring that emission reductions from its program are not double counted. According to IC-VCM, the “GHG emission reductions or removals from the mitigation activity shall not be double counted, i.e., they shall only be counted once towards achieving mitigation targets or goals” (ICVCM, 2023).

Double counting covers double issuance, double claiming, and double use. Double claiming and double use are risks managed by standards that certify the projects. MEC’s projects are certified by reputed standards like Gold Standard and Verra which have mechanisms in place at their registry level to ensure that double claiming does not occur. Double Issuance occurs when two or more carbon credits co-exist for one GHG emission reduction or removal, under the same or different carbon-crediting or other programs. MEC takes stringent measures to ensure that there is no double issuance of credits from a single household or that no other entity is issuing credits from the same project. MEC employs a robust database management team that develops customised data model algorithms and proprietary software that surgically scans and eliminates any duplicate records of end-users through multiple levels of data modeling checks. To implement these checks successfully, MEC engages with partner organisations to submit an extensive monthly database of loan records corresponding to clean energy product sales. Moreover, MEC’s contract agreement with partnering organisations includes a rigorous exclusivity clause for the carbon project implementation within a specified geographical area.

Checking for duplicate records

Duplicate records can happen due to human error in entering records or erroneous data submission. Since MEC’s carbon program follows a market-driven approach, every end-user of the clean energy product is accessing affordable financing options from a partner microfinance institution (MFI). Therefore, all clean energy product loans have a unique transaction number. In the monthly data submitted by MFIs, MEC checks all transaction records in the entire database and eliminates all duplicate transaction numbers as double entries or erroneous records. This way, we can eliminate any human error or the possibility of erroneous data submission that may inflate the emission reduction calculations and generate more carbon credits than the actual. This method might sometimes even lead to under-crediting, which preserves the principle of conservativeness in the calculation of carbon credits.

Double-layer scrutiny with checks for overlapping records.

MEC works with several MFIs across different crediting periods, which means that there is a possibility that a single end-user may be a client of multiple MFIs at the same time. Sometimes end users may access a cross-sale loan from multiple MFIs for the same technology device. End users can also access an MFI for multiple loans for similar technologies across different loan periods. There is a risk that an end-user might end up with more than one solar light, improved cookstove, or water purifier during the same crediting period. While one may argue that an end-user may need multiple units of similar devices and may be using them regularly, by the principle of conservativeness in carbon credits, only the first unit may be eligible for calculation of carbon credits as that unit is reducing emissions over the baseline under a business-as-usual scenario. Therefore, it becomes imperative that all succeeding and overlapping devices of the same technology type are eliminated while calculating the emission reductions from the carbon program.

MEC applies a second layer of checks (beyond duplicate entries) for overlapping user account identifications by carefully identifying patterns and matches in all historical customer identifier data fields. MEC sends all overlapping records to partner MFIs for clarification, and only upon submission of satisfactory evidence does MEC include such records in the current monitoring period, otherwise these records are eliminated.

MEC also eliminates the possibility of overlapping loan products across partner MFIs by scrutinizing the entire database across different partners by applying partial matching algorithms on end-user demographic microdata. This helps us scan out overlapping sales, which we send for clarification to different partner organizations for a common data field. MEC eliminates all overlapping records from the database and only includes unique records in the emission reduction calculations.

MEC has developed a proprietary data warehousing and processing software called the Credit Tracker, which applies all these complex data modeling algorithms to ensure that the data integrity is maintained by elimination of over-crediting due to double counting across the entire program in the defined geographical area. Our Credit Tracker software is ever-evolving, and the current version is upgraded with state-of-the-art big data algorithms to identify noise across a heterogeneous database of over 9 million households across the globe.

Distinction between MEC's CER and VER portfolio

MEC ensures that the emission reductions from its projects and the related climate impacts are counted only once. MEC ensures that there is no double issuance because:

  1. There is no overlap between the CDM monitoring periods and GS/Verra monitoring periods for any of these PoA/projects.
  2. There are no issued CERs that have been converted to GS-VERs or VCUs.

Exclusivity clause

The concept of exclusivity is deeply embedded in the partnership agreements between MEC and partnering MFIs. MEC signs partnerships with MFIs on the ground that all clean energy projects by the partnering entity shall only be registered under MEC’s carbon program. This ensures that no partnering MFI can claim carbon funding from any other project developer while being a part of MEC’s carbon projects. Through continuous training and engagement with partners, MEC implements the concept of exclusivity in all carbon projects to avoid any possibility that two or more mitigation activities have overlapping GHG accounting boundaries in the carbon market which could lead to double issuance. This enables us to implement a market-wide check and balance since MEC is the trusted carbon program partner to all major MFIs in the geographical area.

MEC’s stringent data management and exclusive contracts can set out a market-wide standard for upholding the integrity of carbon credits and eliminate doubts that different market participants may have on the issue of over-crediting due to double counting.

MicroEnergy Credits is the most trusted name in social impact carbon credits.

Our mission is to empower every microfinance community with access to affordable and innovative clean energy solutions, while moving towards a world free of both poverty and climate change.