What is MRV (Measurement, Reporting, and Verifying) and why is Digital MRV better?

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Digital MRV carbon removal technology biochar carbon credits

Carbon credits — also called Emissions Reduction Credits (ERCs), Carbon Offset Reduction Credits (CORCs), and sometimes Carbon Dioxide Removal Credits (CDRCs) — are an unusual class of financial assets that have suddenly captured the world’s attention. Many of us recognize these credits as part of a vital mechanism for putting a monetary price tag on the environmentally costly activities of big industry. But there’s a degree of mystery, even skepticism, around how exactly these credits are generated and regulated. And that’s where MRV comes in.

What is MRV?

MRV stands for Measurement, Reporting, and Verifying, and it forms the foundation of the carbon credit system. Whether we’re talking about CORCs or CDRCs or any other unit, one carbon credit represents one ton of carbon dioxide or CO2 equivalent (CO2e). So no one can issue an authentic carbon credit without first performing some elegant science and arithmetic to ensure that one bona fide ton of CO2e has been removed, reduced or avoided, depending on the nature of the project. 

MRV sits at the core of the whole carbon credit exchange marketplace. Without airtight MRV, it’s impossible to create reliable, trustworthy credits, and the whole system falls apart. The sale and purchase of carbon credits completely depend on a system that can accurately measure emissions, both existing and potential. 

It’s hard enough for a company or individual to calculate its carbon footprint based on its own emissions. But on the other side of the equation, calculating how much carbon is NOT being generated by a windmill, or figuring out exactly how much carbon is been collected in the leaves, stems and roots of a mixed forest, the equations can become downright cryptic. Or in the worst cases, purely speculative. 

Under ordinary circumstances, carbon dioxide is simply invisible to the naked eye. It cannot be held in the hand or lifted onto a scale. So claims that involve precise numbers or astronomical quantities of CO2 tonnage need some serious methodology and hard-headed science to back them up. 

There are an enormous variety of projects out there these days conducting carbon removal and reduction. And that’s a good thing. From protecting mangroves on the coast, to producing biochar in the tropics, to building solar farms in the desert or wind farms in the North Sea, we are living in the heyday of carbon sequestration. 

You can decide for yourself whether that is something worth celebrating. But in any case, the assessment of each of these types of projects, to judge its scientific merits and atmospheric effectiveness, requires a stringent methodology, carefully crafted and adopted by teams of highly-credentialed experts. And as every new form of carbon removal is thankfully developed and introduced, new methodologies must be adopted to measure, with precision, their contributions to carbon reduction.

Finally, from those strict and rigorous methodologies, we must deploy MRV tools that can track and confirm — in other words, Measure, Report and Verify — all the readings for all the key metrics. It is the responsibility of the project managers to provide all the data and evidence, using whatever tools are available and appropriate. A third party can then examine that data in order to finalize the carbon credit creation, or review the project in the event of an audit.

Working within this industry, it is imperative to us that these MRV tools deliver the highest levels of compliance and provide the strictest form of verification. These steps and safeguards are essential for maintaining integrity, transparency and accountability in this young and quickly evolving realm of credit credits.  

That’s why Planboo has developed and insists on working with digital MRV tools and technology.

Why is digital MRV better? 

Digital MRV is better than conventional measuring and reporting in the same way that digital accounting is superior to old-fashioned bookkeeping with pencils and erasers. And in the same way that computers revolutionized the way we do business, digital MRV is already transforming the way we generate and verify carbon credits.

Using state-of-the-art sensors, satellite GPS, and innovative smartphone apps, we are able to reduce human error, both accidental and intentional. Digital reporting saves tremendous time and energy, both for the project manager who is submitting the data, as well as those who are receiving and reviewing the data on the other end. By providing this information in real-time, we can ensure greater transparency and faster issuing of credits. 

From the carbon credit creator to the buyer, to the third-party auditor, everyone benefits from the increased accuracy, efficiency and integrity of digital MRV tools.

What are the chief advantages of Planboo’s digital MRV?

Unlike a lot of carbon reduction projects, Planboo specializes in carbon removal through biochar production. In the case of biochar, the carbon we are measuring is actually very tangible. You can see and touch a barrel of biochar, and laboratory tests can tell us if the biochar contains 72% or 79% carbon, for example. And we know from hard science that 1 kg of carbon is equivalent to 3.6 kg of CO2

In terms of measurement and verification, Planboo has collaborated closely with the European Biochar Certificate (EBC) and the Ithaka Institute to shape the Artisan Professional guidelines used to calculate and validate the carbon removal occurring in any biochar-related project. Furthermore, the patented* hardware and software in our MRV technology are specifically designed to track and record all the key data points required to comply with these standards. (*patent pending)

At the same time, Planboo’s digital MRV tools are standard-agnostic, meaning that they are compliant and compatible with any of the accepted standards. Following the guidelines of the EBC and CSI, as well as Verra and Puro Earth, our MRV tools hold projects to the strictest standards and ensure the highest quality of carbon credits.

Embrace the age of Digital MRV

If you’re interested in learning more about digital MRV, carbon removal, and how to support it, we invite you to review some of our early successes in Malawi and Sri Lanka. If you want to know how Planboo’s digital MRV tools and technology can make your project more credible and successful, please reach out to one of our team members. We’d love to bring you on board. When it comes to carbon removal, we’re passionate advocates for quality and quantity alike.

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Fred Hornaday, founder of Bambu Batu, is a leading voice in the bamboo industry. He's been working in the industry since 2006 with a network that spans all six continents.

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One Response

  1. Fred we at Terragrn are developing a bamboo project in SA targeting community development / energy transition/ bio diversity and co2/e sequestration
    Pls send us your contact

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Carbon Removal

To keep the world within 1.5 degrees of global warming and to avoid global catastrophe – we now need to not only drastically reduce our emissions but also rapidly remove them too.

However, there is very little carbon removal today with less than 50,000 tonnes of CO2 removed in 2021. It’s estimated we need to remove 10% of Global GHG emissions by 2030, which is equal to 5 billion tonnes per year. Carbon removal needs to grow 100,000 times bigger. 

Planboo is a nature-based carbon removal company, using bamboo-the fastest growing plant in the world. Like all plants, through photosynthesis bamboo absorbs CO2 and releases oxygen into the atmosphere. Because it grows so fast, it’s carbon removal potential is huge. We develop projects in Sri Lanka with local partners and supply high quality and high integrity carbon removal credits for the carbon market.