Why Carbon Shares don't have to be retired and how to claim their environmental impact
In traditional carbon markets, credits need to be retired after the purchase in order to claim their environmental impact. A retired credit is taken off market and can never be traded or exchanged in any way. This makes carbon credits a consumable. A consumable holds no value, once it has been used, because it can't be sold again.
A main feature of Carbon Shares is that they don't require retirement to claim their environmental impact. One simply needs to be the owner of the carbon share to do so. This offers a lot of new opportunities but also creates some new challenges, which need to be addressed.
Why we end retirement
We think that ending retirement is one of the biggest opportunities in the current design of the carbon removal market. It turns removals from a consumable to an intangible asset, leading to an end of the cost-focused environment we see today, towards a value-driven investment approach.
Moreover, it would create the incentive to invest into high quality projects with good durability. If you would buy a regular share of a company for example, you would also want to make sure that the organisation exists for a while.
Retirement was initially developed to prevent double counting. Double counting is when 2 parties claim the same carbon impact. An example would be that organisation A makes a climate claim based on an asset and then immediately sells the asset afterwards to organisation B which also makes a climate claim based on the same asset. This would of course result in two claims but only one climate action.
A push for transparency
Carbon Shares address the issue of double counting by making sure that every change of ownership is recorded on our public asset registry. In our example above, this design would make the greenwashing of organisation A not only transparent but also permanently recorded on our public database.
Furthermore, it would be transparent how much carbon has been removed by each organisation at any point in time because of our digital MRV process that dynamically adjusts the carbon value of a share. Every time the carbon value is adjusted, the new value is recorded on our asset registry.
This also makes it transparent when carbon that was previously stored in a project is released into the atmosphere again which would result in organisations either having to adjust their climate claims or invest in further carbon removal.