The concept of additionality is a crucial aspect in the assessment of all climate projects, regardless of their origin. To be considered a true climate project, the reduction in emissions must be "additional" to what would have occurred in the absence of the project and represent net environmental benefit.

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The additionality aspect is critical in determining the validity of emissions mitigation activities for offsetting purposes. Without it, there is no assurance that the emissions reductions are truly "additional" to business-as-usual. It is important to note that additionality is not a green or red attribute of a climate project. Some projects may be more additional than others, but this does not necessarily mean that less additional projects have less impact in mitigating climate change. The pricing of carbon credits often reflects the degree of additionality, but the credits themselves do not necessarily indicate the level of additionality.

The ICR has established benchmarking criteria for additionality, with projects needing to conform to three levels to be eligible for registration. However, projects may also demonstrate conformity to other levels. The ICR registry labels each project according to its level of additionality based on these criteria. Organizations or individuals looking to offset their emissions through the purchase of carbon credits should be aware of the additionality level of the project they are supporting.

ICR Benchmark


The list of additionality levels are below.

Level 1

Baseline additionality

Compared to the baseline scenario the project needs to mitigate climate change. That is the project must implement more

Level 2a

Statutory additionality

The project must implement actions that are beyond requirements stipulated in local legislation or regulations. more

Level 2b

Non-enforcement additionality

Projects are non-enforcement additional if their implementation and/or operation is mandated by local legislation or more

Level 3

Technology, institutional, common practice additionality

The project must implement actions that are subject to barriers of implementation or accelerate deployment of more

Level 4a

Financial additionality I

A project is financially additional if it results in higher costs or relatively lower profitability than would have more

Level 4b

Financial additionality II

The project is financial additional if it faces significant financial limitations that revenues from the sale of carbon more

Level 5

Policy additionality

Implementation of actions may lie out of scope of host country Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris more