We are proud to present our project ases “On-chain protocol” (aOCP) in the framework of the open call for alternative carbon standards. AOCP is a standard for blockchained-based certification of Nature-positive credits, powered by smart contract, P2P science based and carbon and biodiversity tokenisation.
The aOCP was developed based on international best practices, including: ensuring transparency through stakeholder engagement; creating an institutional structure to develop standards (e.g.,baseline and monitoring methodologies); creating robust project cycles that include clear and agile procedures for project registration and issuance of carbon and biodiversity credits, an international blockchain-based carbon registry, and effective approval of project validity.
The aOCP also stipulates additional standards for projects that, in addition to reducing GHG emissions, also have a good effect on biodiversity, soil and water infiltration and wish to be recognized for this. In addition, projects can use the Project Sustainability Standard to show how they help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and get the SDG label incorporated into carbon and biodiversity credits.
All aOCP projects must adhere to the Project Sustainability Standard as well as the Environmental and Social Safeguards Standard. As a result, all aOCP Projects are of a high caliber, beneficial to biodiversity, long-lasting, and safe for the environment and society.
The aOCP provides a voluntary carbon offset and biodiversity restoration program to monetize GHG emission reductions and beneficial benefits on biodiversity, thereby facilitating stakeholders around the world to execute climate change mitigation and ecosystem restoration activities.
The aOCP has created simple processes and reliable approaches to guarantee environmental integrity. In evaluating methodology, initiatives, and issuance requests, the AOCP's governance structure ensures impartial decision-making without conflicts of interest.
Here is the public link to all the protocol documents : [https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/b5v42t4r9kxmawvmb1wxa/h?dl=0&rlkey=ijzqhzjh5vw10zb4ay1t648f0]
aOCP is supported by ases. ases is an ecological engineering company specialized in climate and biodiversity operating in Europe and in latin America. ases has 20 years' experience in ecological engineering (operational and intellectual services).
KlimaDAO x ases
The collaboration between KlimaDAO and ases is an important opportunity to bring credibility and exposure to aOCP.
In terms of scalability, the partnership with KlimaDAO opens up new prospects for growth and expansion for the aOCP. KlimaDAO's experience in implementing scalable solutions and its access to resources and funding mechanisms can help accelerate the development and execution of the standard. This enables the ases to undertake more ambitious projects and massify positive actions for the planet.
The convenience of working with KlimaDAO is a significant advantage. The shared values and vision between the two organizations will facilitate collaboration. Both parties are aligned on their commitment to sustainability and climate action, which makes collaboration a natural fit.
In conclusion, the collaboration between KlimaDAO and ases offers many benefits, including increased credibility and exposure, improved scalability, the convenience of working together, and a commitment to collaborative action. We hope that the aOCP project will also be an asset for KlimaDAO given our particularity on the market.
Here are some details about our protocol in response to the questionnaire
1. How does your standard address the following concerns regarding carbon credit integrity?
1.1 Real - How does your standard prove that emissions reductions and removals have taken place?
We verify that Project activities have been implemented prior to credits issuance. In the aOCP, all Projects are Nature-based solutions. Therefore, activities such as reforestation, soil works, regenerative agriculture or silvopastoral management can be observed and monitored -both on-site and through satellite images.
The first credits issuance we do for each project is calculated based on the expected benefits the project is likely to bring at an early stage. It is small enough to keep low the risk of overcrediting and reversal, and big enough to allow the project developers to give the project the adequate maintenance to thrive.
Biochar credits are issued once the agroforestry waste has been pyrolyzed for transformation into biochar and this has been applied as soil amendment to improve soil functions.
1.2 Real - Does your standard involve verification via remote sensing technology and/or other digital means?
Yes. Through satellite and drone images, we monitor the evolution of the project on a quarterly basis. We apply different methodologies at the same time to corroborate the data obtained. We use a machine learning model fed with Sentinel-1 radar and Sentinel-2 optical images, and trained with data measured in the field to calculate the biomass in the project area. From drone imagery, vegetation height is calculated and biomass is derived. The other co-benefits of the projects we certify are also assessed with remote sensing technologies as described below:
Biodiversity: we use eco-acoustic sensors that detect and record sounds emitted by wildlife. These records are then analyzed to identify species and calculate the diversity index. We also use satellite images and species distribution models to calculate landscape metrics such as fragmentation, fractal dimension, spatial continuity, edge effect and vulnerability to climate change.
Groundwater recharge: using satellite imagery and climate records, we evaluate the evolution of the water balance, composed of rainfall, evaporation, infiltration and runoff. Plant growth determines runoff and infiltration, which is monitored with Sentinel-2 images.
Soil erosion: erosion prevention is measured with the RUSLE model that includes 5 factors, 1 of which is vegetation cover. It is also monitored through Sentinel-2 images.
In addition, most of the calculations are automated with algorithms for data analysis in Google Earth Engine and Python.
1.3 Measureable - How is a project baseline determined with your standard?
We define baseline as the business-as-usual scenario, i.e. the most plausible trajectory for the Project area in the absence of Project activities. Baseline is determined specifically for each type of our Verified Nature Positive Credits, as follows:
Carbon reductions: This is based on the carbon emissions that occur without Project implementation from different sources: vegetal biomass decay (biochar or projects involving soil works), fertilizer use (regenerative agriculture projects), manure decomposition (silvopastoral management projects).
Carbon removals: Carbon absorption through photosynthesis according to the state of the vegetal community. We model the expected evolution of the Project area based on the speed natural regeneration would take and contrast it with the speed at which the ecosystem will develop due to Project activities. After project implementation, baseline is assessed through counterfactual terrains, within the same microbasin, where no project activities are implemented.
Furthermore, we use Net Primary Productivity (NPP) as an indicator of the maximum potential carbon sequestration capacity at a specific place on Earth. The NPP reflects information of mass-energy fluxes in ecosystems. When estimating the amount of carbon removals a Project will generate, we use species-specific allometric equations to model plant growth and, in the case it exceeds the NPP, we limit it to respect this biophysical parameter.
When estimating plant growth and survival, we take into consideration future climate models the determine temperature and precipitation, therefore NPP, as well as species distribution probabilities.
Soil erosion reduction: 2 out of the 5 factors included in the RUSLE model are affected by Project implementation, these are vegetation cover and soil conservation practices. In the baseline scenario, conservation practices are not included and the vegetation cover is modelled in the same way as for carbon removals.
Soil health: Baseline for the project area is determined based on the assessment of the selected physical, chemical and biological indicators at the Project area and the counterfactual prior to Project activities implementation. Along the Project’s life baseline continues to be assessed at the counterfactual terrains within the microbasin.
Groudwater recharge: it requires modeling of vegetation cover, which is conducted in the same way as for carbon removals. Runoff -one of the components in the water model- is calculated with the Curve Number method, which is based on land cover.
1.4 Measureable - Should baseline determination be dependent on the methodology applied within your standard, please include those details here:
Baseline is defined for each type of credit, each one of which has its own specific methodologies/techniques, as described in the answer above.
1.5 Permanent - How is permanence determined within your standard? How does this differ between supported methodologies within your standard?
Mitigating non-permanence risks is vital in ensuring that the Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM) acts as a truly effective long-term form of climate action. These risks may result from natural hazards or project-level issues, such as extreme weather events, land tenure contentions, or project-related financial risks. If such risks - whether human or natural - are not addressed, carbon can be re-emitted and undermine a project’s carbon benefits, resulting in reversals. A full assessment of these risks requires an understanding of: 1) how long is actually committed to ensuring the carbon avoided or removed remains so, 2) the mechanisms in place to guard against any losses, and 3) the strength and accuracy of the claims made.
For NBS projects, mechanisms in place to guard against any losses include using long-term contracts or insurance funds to ensure the permanence of the carbon credits. Project longevity risks can be reduced through proper management and financial plans, and if there is a legal agreement or requirement to continue the project, such as a conservation easement or protected area law. A variety of insurance mechanisms can include bonds and letter of credit, designed to act as a proof that a project developer can cover the costs of sufficient credits to offset a reversal event. A common practice is the deposit of a portion of credits into a global buffer pool ready to use in case of reversal. The buffer size, i.e. the proportion of a project’s credits to be transferred to the global buffer pool is determined for each project, based on the results of the risk assessment. Furthermore, in case of reversal and use of the credits in the buffer pool, a new risks assessment shall be conducted and the buffer size recalculated.
1.6 Permanent - Does your standard adhere to the internationally accepted norm for permanence (100 years)?
Our standard approach for calculating permanence adheres to a 40-year timeframe, although we recognize that the benefits of our projects extend beyond this period. While internationally accepted norms for permanence often require a 100-year assessment, we approach this issue with caution due to the inherent uncertainty associated with such long-term projections.
The permanence of climate actions and their benefits is a complex aspect to evaluate, considering various factors such as changing environmental conditions, human activities, and technological advancements over extended periods. Forecasting outcomes accurately for a century can be challenging, given the numerous uncertainties that may arise over such a long timeframe.
By focusing on a 40-year assessment, we can provide a more feasible and reasonable estimation of the impacts and benefits of our projects. This timeframe allows us to assess the direct and tangible effects of our initiatives while still considering the potential for longer-term benefits beyond the initial assessment period.
1.6 Additional - Does your standard adhere to the principle of additionality?
1.7 Additional - If adhering to the additionality principle, how is additionality determined under your standard?
The aOCP is focused on physical and ecological additionality. The aOCP operations team conducts thorough assessments for each project activity, wherein the historical trends in land use cover within the micro-watershed are carefully evaluated. Additionally, we employ modeling techniques to project future trends in two scenarios: one with the implementation of the project and the other without it. The disparity between these two future scenarios serves as a quantification of project additionality. This detailed assessment takes place upon registration of the project activity and forms an integral part of the baseline assessment. More details on this process are available in the document aOCP Permanence, additionality and non-leakage.
However, before a project can be deemed eligible to participate in the aOCP, project proponents are required to furnish specific information in the PSF. This information pertains to the following key issues:
Environmental Issues: Project proponents must identify and elucidate environmental issues present within the project area as well as the wider region where the project is situated.
Local Population Response: responses of the local population to these identified environmental issues. Additionally, any solutions that have not been utilized thus far, along with the reasons for their non-implementation, need to be included.
Social Impact: social problems that the Project activity aims to address and improve.
Biodiversity: the region's biodiversity, considering both beneficial and problematic aspects.
Traditional Practices / Business-as-usual scenario: The document should outline the prevailing traditional practices and the current situation that the project seeks to enhance or modify.
Proposed Regenerative Practices: detailed description of the regenerative practices proposed by the project activity, which contribute to its overall environmental and ecological goals.
Problem Solving: once the environmental and social issues have been identified, define which one(s) the Project aims to address and to which extent.
By thoroughly assessing these crucial aspects, the aOCP ensures that only projects with genuine physical and ecological additionality are eligible for participation, promoting sustainable practices and addressing environmental and social challenges effectively.
1.8 Independently verified - How is third party verification undertaken by your standard?
We perform the monitoring and reporting and submit the results to the external and independent verifier to check if the calculations have been performed correctly and all documentation is in order, i.e. if the whole process complies with the aOCP administrative rules and with the materiality of carbon, soil, water and biodiversity. The Validation and Verification Standard sets out how these processes should be carried out.
We rely on the following external verifiers: Compecer, KANOP, Oxalis, and we accept those who are already accredited under the ISO standard, after having passed our specific training courses.○ Assuming third party verification takes place by entities outside of your organization, how are such entities evaluated? Hay un organismo evaluador y acreditador de los verificadores a través de un protocolo en proceso de ser migrado a una norma iso para validadores y verificadores. Norma ISO . Se evaluán en base a su independencia y capacidad de evaluar y la selección de conocer nuestro protocolo detalladamente y su capacidad de detectar elementos inconsistentes.
1.9 Independently verified - Please include additional information related to the verification of emissions reductions and removals under your standard which you see as advantageous to the integrity and climate impact of your projects.
We back up the credits issued with a pool of buffer credits that remain available for use in the event of a reversal.
We have demonstration projects of the application of our methodologies that allow us to have a benchmark to test the way we calculate project benefits openly to the public, as well as the regenerative practices that are implemented.
We make available to verifiers the software tools we use to calculate project benefits, so that they can both verify the validity of these tools and perform the calculations in an automated manner.
The credits are issued in streaming, i.e. gradually as we become more and more certain of the soundness of the project and its benefits. This allows the project developers to recover part of the initial investment early and thus finance the proper maintenance of the project.
We verify the reality of the benefits over and above the paperwork, using drone and satellite images, corroborating with field sampling.
1.10 Unique - No more than one carbon credit can be associated with a single emission reduction or removal as one (1) metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). Do you adhere to the uniqueness principle?
1.11 Unique - Does your standard support the issuance of carbon credits in units greater or less than 1 metric ton (CO2e)?
Yes, we have 2 types of carbon credits:
- VCC: Verified Carbon Credits. Which represents 1 ton of CO2e removed from the atmosphere or reduced emissions.
- VCAC: Verified Climate Action Credit. It represents 1 kg of CO2 removed from the atmosphere thanks to the planting of trees, on a small scale that does not add up to 1 ton
1.12 Unique - Does your standard support the fractionalization of carbon credits after their initial issuance?
Yes, the NFT can be converted in its fractions and is immobilized until all its parts are retired.
2. Ex-post vs. Ex-ante
2.1 Does your system allow users to make claims analogous to traditional retirement prior to the final verification of the underlying environmental claim?
No, we only issue verified credits. The credits we issue are based on the verified implementation of Project activities. Once we perform monitoring and reporting, and the verifier has verified the report and the project’s benefits, then we issue the corresponding credits.
2.2 If your system facilitates forward or ex-ante credits, how do you ensure that no claims are made on the underlying environmental benefit until after verification and subsequent retirement?
We don’t issue ex ante credits.
3.1 How does your standard assign and quantity co-benefits?
Our protocol also enables us to issue biodiversity, water and soil restoration credits. This makes it possible to quantify the co-benefits of our projects on a robust, transparent and verifiable scientific basis (cf. IV Methodologies).
For us, The preservation and restoration of natural ecosystems, both terrestrial and aquatic, are crucial in addressing the global challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, and land desertification, the 3 global crisis humanity faces today. These are referred to as nature-based solutions and they are essential for mitigating these pressing issues. Nature tech, which leverages nature-based solutions and technologies, aligns with the objective of addressing environmental challenges, such as reducing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. This connection between nature tech and carbon markets is evident.
Additionally, we assess projects’ contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals based on the quantitative indicators each Goal’s targets have. Verified Nature Positive Credits are tagged with the UN SDGs the Project contributes to.
4. Industry Acceptance
4.1 Has your system been endorsed by any of the mainstream VCM associations, such as ICROA or CORSIA? If not, are you pursuing such an endorsement?
We are members of ECOTA and are in the process of joining the IETA association.
Our protocol has already been reviewed and validated, in the public consultation phase, by a number of members of the scientific community and the VCM market: Stéphane Bec (University of Grenoble Alpes), Alfred de Jager (European Drought Observatory), David Colín and Eduardo Piquero (MEXICO2Plataforma Mexicana de Carbono), Sanchez Gama GUADALUPE (Fundación Desarrollo Sustentable y Cambio Climático), Martin de Stoppani (ANTLER), Sebastien COTEL (carbon optimum), Timm Reinsdorf (PARTICULA).
And we know the first members of our scientific committee André Evette (INRAE France), Borgniet Laurent (INRAE France), Jacques Baudry (Independent researcher), Dr. PhD HDR Emmanuel Garbolino (former professor at Mines Paritech - Director of CDS), Dennis Fox (University of Nice), Alfred de Jager ( European Drought Observatory).
We are currently audited by VERITAS. And we are currently negotiating to be audited by Carbon Check as well.
We already have over 12 projects registered on our Nat5 Nature Positive platform.
4.2 If you are specifically not seeking endorsement because your system violates some principle that these organizations use to gate endorsement, please explain why you believe such principles are not applicable to your system.
We have worked diligently to comply with current and future standards and regulations.
4.3 If there are other reasons for not pursuing an endorsement, please describe the rationale.
4.4 Have any traditional buyers (e.g. corporates) purchased and retired credits issued under your system? If so, please indicate the estimated volumes retired in the past year. If no retirements have occurred in the past year, please provide an estimate based on current buyer commitments.
We symbolically sold our first credits to our first client (an international broker) at the beginning of the year. The same client has informed us that it intends to buy substantial volume (between 80,000 and 200,000 credits per year).
5.1 The development and deployment of novel tokenomics can help scale liquidity and demand for digital carbon. However, unclear tokenomics can compromise the integrity of the underlying carbon credits, and obfuscate the process of making an environmental claim.
The Nature-positive climate action on-chain protocol (aOCP), developed by ASES, utilizes blockchain, tokenization, and smart contracts to facilitate transparent, efficient, and secure funding for ecosystem restoration initiatives.
Furthermore, aOCP's blockchain-based carbon registry, NAT5, enhances transparency and traceability. VNPCs are issued as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), registered on blockchain, utilizing smart contracts, which ensures transparency, security, and immutability. The blockchains in which VNPCs are registered are Binance Smart Chain and Polygon (each VNPC is registered only in 1 blockchain). Each NFT represents 1 VNPC, therefore, each VNPC is unique and has its own serial number, which allows its issuance and transaction history, authenticity and ownership to be easily verified by anyone at any time using tools such as https://bscscan.com and https://polygonscan.com/. This makes possible the public observation of the amount of credits issued, transferred and retired, reducing the risk of double counting, double claiming, and issuance of ghost credits.
NAT5 is a blockchain-based digital record for issuances, transfers, withdrawals and cancellations of Verified Nature- Positive Credits. The blockchain is a decentralized, immutable and distributed ledger that enables transparent and secure tracking of transactions. This technology allows for accurate and transparent reporting and verification of carbon offsets and credits, eliminating duplicate counting and ensuring their proper and efficient use.
Blockchain technology offers a decentralized and transparent ledger that can enhance the tracking and verification of carbon credits. By utilizing blockchain, the accuracy and legitimacy of carbon credits can be safeguarded, mitigating concerns such as double counting, double claiming and manipulation. The process of tokenizing carbon credits on a blockchain platform transforms them into digital tokens, facilitating transparent and efficient trading on a blockchain network. This tokenization improves the availability and liquidity of carbon credits, enabling more effective exchanges.
Additionally, blockchain technology enables the development of smart contracts that autonomously enforce the laws and regulations of the carbon market. Smart contracts can handle tasks such as issuing, transferring and retiring carbon credits, reducing the need for manual intervention and enhancing the effectiveness of the carbon market. Overall, blockchain technology and tokenization create a secure and efficient infrastructure for trading and tracking carbon credits, addressing the issues and criticisms associated with carbon credits and the carbon market.
Nature Tech marketplaces leverage blockchain technology to facilitate secure and transparent transactions for trading carbon credits and other environmental assets. These marketplaces encompass diverse sectors, including waste management, water treatment, sustainable agriculture and forestry, and renewable energy. Their objective is to offer economically viable and environmentally sustainable products and services. The adoption of Nature Tech approaches is increasingly recognized as an effective strategy to tackle urgent global issues such as climate change, resource scarcity, and ecological degradation. The utilization of blockchain technology in these marketplaces enhances trust, traceability, and efficiency in the trading of environmental assets, contributing to the overall advancement of sustainable practices.
5.2 If your project uses native tokens to govern, incentivize or enable the redeeming of the underlying carbon credits, please justify the tokenomics design and detail how, if at all, these tokens would interact with the KlimaDAO ecosystem.
We plan to develop native tokens to incentivize and reward users of our services. and we will examine the possibilities with KlimaDao to ensure that it is compatible.
6. How can KlimaDAO help?
6.1 What specific role would KlimaDAO play in your project?
Providing protocol liquidity;
Holding tokens (nfts representing 1 ton of co2 each);
Integration into klimaDAO as one of the Nature-positive credit retirement aggregators.
6.2 Would any value accrue to KlimaDAO through such participation?
For klimaDAO participation, Nat5 can either pay a commission or a fee for each sell or give a % of free NFTs.
Our current approach to infrastructure security revolves around utilizing Polygon and Binance Smart Chain (BSC) as public networks to ensure decentralized security. By leveraging these robust blockchain networks, we can offer a higher level of trust and confidence in the safety and integrity of our platform and transactions. One of our core principles is to prioritize the security and privacy of our users, and using these public networks helps us achieve that goal.
As part of our security measures, we do not hold users' credits, ensuring that user funds are not vulnerable to any potential breaches or unauthorized access. Instead, all transactions are conducted using Web3 technology, which allows for secure and direct peer-to-peer interactions without the need for intermediaries, enhancing the security of our ecosystem.
Furthermore, our smart contracts are subject to constant verification and monitoring. We prioritize the use of well-audited and secure smart contracts to minimize any potential vulnerabilities. Natcoin, one of our key components, has already undergone a thorough auditing process to ensure its integrity and security. However, it is important to note that the auditing process for Nat5 is still pending, and we are actively working on conducting a comprehensive audit to further enhance the security of our platform.