The UC is Collecting Input on a New Carbon Offset Policy

November 04, 2020

By , Water & Climate Action Manager 



The University of California, as a part of meeting our 2025 carbon neutrality goal, is using our exceptional research capacity to develop a portfolio of high-quality carbon offset projects aligned with UC’s mission of research, education, and public service. Our offset program has two tracks: 1) developing our own UC-initiated offset projects, and 2) performing research and due diligence on offsets on the voluntary market. Ultimately, by releasing guidance materials and publishing our research we hope to advance understanding of how institutions can identify and support high-quality offset projects aligned with their mission.    

The UC has created a Briefing Paper that provides a short overview of the need for carbon offsets and the actions we’re taking to ensure that our offset investments result in emission reductions that meet our climate goals, reflect our commitments to environmental and social justice, and are compliant with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

To meet these offset goals, the UC has written a Draft Offset Policy language that is intended to be included in the UC’s Sustainable Practices Policy in 2021.  

Please provide any feedback to the Draft Offset Policy by December 7th.
Feedback Collection Form

Please attend our Carbon Offset Forum on December 4th, 1pm to learn more about UCSC’s current GHG reduction strategies, hear about examples from our top local offset researchers, and the UC-Initiated Offset Program.

History of the UC-Initiated Offset Program

  1. UC is developing a portfolio of UC-initiated offset projects that reduce emissions or sequester carbon and that are initiated by faculty, staff, and students. UC released a Request for Ideas for UC-initiated offset projects in March 2019. In response, we received a strong set of 80 offset project ideas, from which twelve were chosen for awards. With this pilot phase, UC is exploring how to focus offset procurement on projects that fulfill the critical role that we as a major research university system play in climate change mitigation globally—improving understanding of scalable climate solutions and educating the next generation of solution-creators. If we are successful, this approach will reinvest our offset expenditures into projects that support and apply UC research, engage students, meaningfully reduce emissions, and advance climate solutions. 
  2. Research on voluntary market offsets: We have been researching the quality of offset project types available on the voluntary offset market and developing due diligence methods for assessing individual offset projects. Our goal is to identify a pool of high-quality projects from which the campuses can procure offset credits. This work fulfills a critical research gap on the quality of offsets on the voluntary market and will inform UC’s and other institutions’ offset procurement decisions.