2.6 Registry and avoidance of double counting
- Registry Rules of Use
- What is the UK Land Carbon Registry?
- Carbon Units
- Listing Pending Issuance Units
- Transferring Units to a buyer
- Converting Pending Issuance Units to verified Woodland Carbon Units
- What if Pending Issuance Units are not verified on time?
- Withdrawing a project from the registry
- Using verified Woodland Carbon Units
- Offering Units for Sale
- What happens if account-holder circumstances change?
- Registry Fees
- Flowchart summarising the project registration and carbon unit issuance process
- Projects and carbon units shall only appear on one carbon registry - the UK Land Carbon Registry
- For group validation/ verification, the group and its constituent projects shall be entered on the registry as a 'master project' and 'subprojects' respectively
- All projects, project documentation, carbon units, assignments and retirements shall be visible in the 'public view' of the UK Land Carbon Registry
- Upon validation, Pending Issuance Units (PIUs) shall be listed for all carbon units in the project, except in the circumstances specified in 5. Listing Pending Issuance Units
- Any Pending Issuance Units sold in advance of verification shall either be transferred to the relevant buyer's account or 'assigned' to that buyer
- At each verification, Pending Issuance Units for that vintage shall be cancelled and the verified number of Woodland Carbon units (WCUs) issued
- Prior to using Woodland Carbon Units in any reports, they shall be 'retired' from the UK Land Carbon Registry
- Projects shall not accept any tree donations or other sponsorship where this creates a double claim between the Woodland Carbon Code and the donation regarding the carbon benefit
- Project developers shall comply with the registry rules of use and shall only sell carbon units which are validated & verified to a standard which is endorsed in the UK Environmental Reporting Guidelines
Project status on the registry will be checked at validation. Project and carbon unit status will be checked at verification.
The UK Land Carbon Registry ensures open and transparent project registration for both Woodland Carbon Code and Peatland Code projects, as well as Woodland Carbon Unit/Peatland Carbon Unit issuance, tracking and retirement. The service provided by S&P Global is a secure online application that tracks units generated by Woodland Carbon Code and Peatland Code projects. The registry incorporates a range of services including:
- A project register: This accommodates both single projects and groups of projects.
- A carbon unit register: This enables projects to issue units, assign or transfer them to credit buyers, and for credit buyers to use/retire/report them once verified.
- A 'request for information' (RFI) platform: This provides a facility for project developers or brokers to 'offer for sale' any active (unretired) units, and for buyers to display their interest in purchasing units.
- A public database: This provides public stakeholders the ability to view the status of all Woodland Carbon Code and Peatland Carbon Code activity. Please refer to Registry Public View
These rules of use refer to Woodland Carbon Code projects on the UK Land Carbon Registry.
NOTE that S&P Global Standard Terms and Conditions apply for aspects not mentioned here.
There are five types of accounts. All accounts are public on the UK Land Carbon Registry:
- Project Developer accounts for organisations/individuals that own or manage projects, issue Pending Issuance Units or Woodland/Peatland Carbon Units and transfer units to corporate end users, retail aggregators or traders or assign/retire them on behalf of their clients
- Project Proponent accounts for organisations/ individuals that own projects but do not manage their own project or issue the Pending Issuance Units or Woodland/Peatland Carbon Units in the registry. A project developer can transfer units to the project proponents of the projects they have listed or a project’s units can be directly listed in the project proponent’s account. Project proponents can transfer units to corporate end users, retail aggregators or traders or assign/retire them on behalf of buyers
- Buyer accounts for organisations which buy carbon credits from Woodland Carbon Code/Peatland Code projects for their own use or for their clients; this includes
- Corporate End User accounts for those who are ‘buying to use’ and can receive Pending Issuance Units (to use/retire once verified) or Woodland/Peatland Carbon Units (which can be used/retired immediately). It is not possible to sell on any unused units.
- Trading accounts for those who are ‘buying to sell on’ and can receive Pending Issuance Units or Woodland/Peatland Carbon Units and assign/retire them on behalf of their clients or transfer them upon sale to other market participants. However, trading account holders must be registered and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to carry out a regulated activity under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 or appropriate, equivalent local regulatory authority. See the Financial Services Register.
- For companies not registered and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, a Retail Aggregator account gives limited functionality. Retail aggregators who are buying on behalf of their corporate end user clients can receive Pending Issuance Units or Woodland//Peatland Carbon Units from a project developer or project proponent and assign or retire them immediately on behalf of their ‘end user’ clients. Assigned units can be transferred into the account of ‘end user’ clients as appropriate.
Individuals cannot hold a buyer account. An individual can only buy verified Woodland/Peatland Carbon Units to retire immediately – they could buy direct from the project developer or from someone with a retail aggregator/ trading account, who can ‘retire’ the units on their behalf making clear the reason (e.g. ‘Retired in 2020 on behalf of Mr Smith to compensate for his March 2019 household emissions’)
See 13. UK Land Carbon Registry Fees for costs of opening or managing accounts.
The various project statuses and the documents required at each stage are outlined below:
- Draft - When the project developer has started to enter the project on the registry but not submitted it. (Details entered at this stage do not appear on the public registry).
- Under development – The project developer has entered the project details and uploaded the draft carbon calculations and a map. The project is now ‘registered’ and will appear on the public view.
- Verified – The project has undertaken a verification and the documents have been uploaded: a Project Progress Report, Monitoring Report and a valid Verification Statement for that period.
- Not Delivered - A project which has been validated but for some reason is not verified, will be marked 'Not Delivered'
It is free to register a project as 'Under Development'. All projects will be shown on the public view of the UK Land Carbon Registry once they move from ‘Draft’ to the ‘Under Development’ stage. Project Documentation will be public unless indicated otherwise above.
The register includes two types of carbon units, which have different purposes:
- Pending Issuance Units (PIUs): The purpose of these units is to demonstrate the quantity (tonnes CO2e) of potential future sequestration. PIUs will help to keep track of up-front sales/purchases (by assigning them to a buyer or transferring them to a buyer's account) but they cannot be used/retired/reported. PIUs are not guaranteed.
- Woodland/Peatland Carbon Units (WCUs): When a project is verified, PIUs which have been confirmed as sequestered will be converted to WCUs. These units can be considered as full carbon 'credits', and as such can be used/retired/reported. WCU/PCUs are guaranteed.
PIUs and WCUs only exist in the UK Land Carbon Registry, and ownership can only be transferred between registry account holders. Units are assigned a 'vintage', which is the time period in which they are anticipated to be delivered (PIUs) or were actually delivered (WCUs). Each unit is allocated a unique serial number. See what claims can be made about PIUs and WCU/PCUs.
All units, PIUs and WCUs, will be visible on the public view of the UK Land Carbon Registry.
Once a project is validated, Pending Issuance Units will be listed, in time periods called vintages or monitoring periods (see below), for the lifetime of the project. For groups of projects, units can be issued to each project within the group, or to the groups as a whole, if the carbon is to be sold collectively.
For a limited number of projects where predicting the carbon sequestration is more challenging, PIUs will not be listed – these projects can only list verified Woodland Carbon Units once the actual amount sequestered is known. This includes:
- Natural regeneration projects which are very large-scale, or where there is little or no ‘baseline’ evidence of seedlings regenerating
- Woodland creation projects which are planting a species where there is less information about sequestration rates and no ‘carbon model’ is mapped in the WCC Carbon Calculator.
Vintages are determined by the monitoring and verification schedule as set out in WCC guidance. The first vintage is 5 years from the carbon project start date (last date of planting) and subsequent vintages are in 10-yearly periods. There are special arrangements for older projects whose first verification is not 5 years after the start date.
Scottish Forestry owns an account called ‘WCC PIU Buffer’ and the buffer contribution for each project will be allocated to this account. The PIU buffer cannot be claimed from; it simply indicates the potential size of the Standard’s buffer account once these units are converted to verified units.
For example, a 100-year project, which will generate 50,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide over its lifetime, where the risk assessment has indicated 20% of units should be allocated to the buffer, might list PIUs as shown in Table 1.
|Vintage Length (years)||Vintage Start Date||Vintage End Date||Total number of units||Units allocated to Buffer||Units allocated to Project|
|Total Units over project lifetime||50000||10000||40000|
Table 1: Allocation of units to vintages for a project which will sequester 50,000 units in total.
See 13. UK Land Carbon Registry Fees for the cost to list Pending Issuance Units and the WCC/PC Levy. Note it is free to issue Buffer Units.
All issuances will be shown on the public view of the UK Land Carbon Registry. Pending Issuance Units cannot be sold to individuals.
This section refers to either Pending Issuance Units or verified Woodland Carbon Units. Sales of carbon units are conducted between the parties on a one-to-one basis, but once agreed, the project developer must make clear the buyer. This can be done in one of two ways:
- By assigning units to the buyer within the project developer's account. Assignment is a way of demonstrating the sale of a unit without requiring the buyer to have an account on the UK Land Carbon Registry, but it means the buyer cannot choose when to retire or add further comment once the credit is verified.
- By transferring units to the buyer's account. This gives the buyer more flexibility to retire the unit once it's verified and time that suits the buyer adding a comment at retirement.
Both seller and buyer have to agree to the transfer before it can take place.
There is no cost to assign or transfer units to a buyer. All holdings will be shown on the public view of the UK Land Carbon Registry.
When a project is verified at the end of a period/vintage, the number of Pending Issuance Units verified in the period / vintage will automatically be converted to verified Woodland Carbon Units once checks on Monitoring and Verification reports are completed. This will occur both for PIUs originally allocated to the project (which may have already been sold on) as well as those allocated to the WCC PIU buffer account. Units issued as PIUs will retain the same serial numbers as WCUs. PIUs which are already assigned to a buyer will be automatically retired.
This principle is fine where the actual verification indicates the same number of units as the prediction. However an approach for dealing with instances where the actual verification differs from the prediction is outlined below and is in line with the way most existing carbon markets would operate if a project over- or under-delivers within a given vintage:
Bear in mind the whilst the prediction / allocation of PIUs in Woodland Carbon Code projects is conservative, it is possible that actual sequestration is less than predicted. In this case, PIUs will be marked 'Not Delivered'.
For a given vintage, if verification confirms more units were delivered than allocated to PIUs: In proportion the additional units are allocated to the project and the WCU buffer (Table 2).
|PIUs (Prediction)||Actual Verification||Action|
20 PIU Buffer units converted to WCU Buffer units.
2 WCU Buffer units listed.
80 PIUs converted to WCUs.
8 WCUs issued to the project developer.
Table 2: Conversion of PIUs to WCUs in the case of over delivery
If verification confirms fewer units were delivered than allocated to PIUs: In proportion the fewer units are allocated to the project and the WCU buffer. PIUs not delivered are marked 'Not Delivered' (Table 3).
|PIUs (Prediction)||Actual Verification||Action|
2 PIU Buffer units marked Not Delivered.
18 PIU Buffer units converted to WCU Buffer units.
72 PIUs converted to WCUs.
8 PIUs - the last in serial number order - are marked Not Delivered. If sold, this is a contractual non-delivery of goods issue for the seller and buyer to resolve.
Table 3: Conversion of PIUs to WCUs in the case of under delivery
Contracts between buyer and seller might need to be flexible about the amount delivered but not the timing, for example:
- Guaranteed (I’ll give you 100 units in year x. If it’s not from my project I’ll give you some from another WCC/other project) or
- Unit-contingent (I’ll give you about 100 units in year x +/- y%. Pay for what I deliver).
See 13. UK Land Carbon Registry Fees for the cost to convert PIUs to WCU/PCU or to issue new WCU. Note it is free to convert or issue further Buffer Units.
Pending issuance units shall be verified by the last date of a vintage period, unless there are extenuating circumstances for a delay which should be agreed with Scottish Forestry. Extensions might be granted if, for example:
- You demonstrate you’ve applied to the verifying bodies in good time but they are unable to process your validation before the deadline
- A verification suggests corrective actions but they cannot be completed before the deadline due to weather/time of year etc.
- Projects which are geographically close are due to be verified in consecutive years and you would like to verify the two projects together
If a project developer has an agreed extension they must upload a signed Verification Extension Approval to the registry. Carbon units (both PIUs and WCUs) can be transferred as normal.
If you do not verify by the last date of the vintage period or any agreed extension:
- ALL remaining PIUs for the duration of the project are cancelled (those owned by the project, those sold and buffer units)
- Any unsold WCUs are automatically retired
- WCUs (sold and buffer) from previous vintages remain valid
- The project remains in the system and is marked ‘Discontinued’
- No further units can be issued at any time.
- It is still possible for existing buyers sell on or retire WCUs held from previous vintages.
It is possible for a project developer to withdraw from the WCC and the registry before the end of the project duration in the following circumstance: If all units sold have been delivered as verified WCUs and only unsold PIUs remain. In this case, all WCUs will remain valid (both for the project and the buffer) and PIUs (unsold and buffer) will be cancelled. Future management must maintain the level of carbon stock that has been sold.
There is no cost to cancel PIUs/retire WCUs in any of the cases listed in 9.
Only verified Woodland Carbon Units can be used or reported to help compensate for a company’s or individual’s emissions. The WCC guidance 2.7 carbon statements and reporting gives further information.
The process for representing the ‘use’ of a verified Woodland Carbon Unit in the registry is by ‘retiring’ (putting beyond use) the units you wish to use, and leaving a retirement remark as desired (e.g. ‘Retired in 2020 as compensation for 500 tCO2e of our 2019 emissions as detailed in our Annual Environmental Report 2019’).
All retirements will be shown on the public view of the UK Land Carbon Registry. There is no cost to retire Woodland/Peatland Carbon Units.
S&P Global's Request for Information (RFI) Platform is an additional avenue to liquidate credits; It is an anonymous online platform for the over-the-counter (OTC) environmental credits market that displays credits available for sale. The RFI Platform also allows buyers to display their interest in purchasing credits including indicative quantities and prices. These credits are searchable and viewable by registered participants. Upon expressing an interest in any credits ‘for sale’ or ‘wanted’, the buyer or seller can send an "Expression of Interest" to the counterparty. Introduction through the RFI platform then enables the two parties to start discussions on the terms of a potential transaction.
Regarding the pricing of credits, it is the seller who decides the price and S&P Global does not provide any information / consultation.
There is no fee to use the Request for Information Platform which is accessible by anyone with an S&P Global account (for UK Land Carbon Registry or other register on the S&P Global platform).
Project Developers: If a project developer wishes to exit the business it is possible to transfer projects to another project developer or management organisation, sell or retire carbon units and then close their account. However, if a project developer abandons its account(s) with the UK Land Carbon Registry without arrangements for the ongoing management of units by another organisation (or its agreement with S&P Global is otherwise terminated) then;
- All PIUs listed for that project developer will be cancelled regardless of which account holders may be holding the PIUs at the time of cancellation
- Any WCUs still held by the project developer will be transferred to a ‘suspension’ account. If resolution of that account is not corrected within 5 years those credits will be retired
- Any WCUs already received by a buyer (in a subaccount or a corporate end-user account) will remain valid in the buyer’s account
- A buyer of WCUs who holds their units in a subaccount of the closed project developer account can have their account converted into a corporate end-user master account at zero cost.
Buyers: If a corporate end user or trading organisation is acquired by another organisation then it is possible to transfer units to the purchasing company’s account. However, if a Corporate End User or Trader who holds PIUs or WCUs abandons its account(s) with the UK Land Carbon Registry without arrangements for the ongoing management of its units (or its agreement with S&P Global is otherwise terminated), all PIUs or WCUs listed for that account holder will be put on hold until further instruction is received from the liquidator or administrator. If no instruction is received within 5 years, then any remaining PIUs will be cancelled and WCUs in the account will be retired.
Fees for using the UK Land Carbon Registry will be increasing from 1 October 2022. The table below summarises the current fees, and the new fees if you are invoiced on or after 1 October 2022.
|Fee type||Fee payable by||Payable||Fees if invoiced by 30 Sept 2022||Fees if invoiced from 1 October 2022|
Account Opening - Project Developers/Proponents
|Account Opening - Corporate End Users||
Corporate End User
|Prior to account opening||
|Account Opening - Traders or Retail Aggregators||Trader or Retail Aggregator Account Holder||Prior to account opening||£400||£750|
|Annual Account Management - Traders or Retail Aggregators||Trader or Retail Aggregator Account Holder||Annually on the anniversary of account opening||--||£750|
|PIU Issuance||Project developer||At validation||£0.03 per unit||£0.05 per unit|
|WCC/PC Levy||Project developer||At validation||£0.03 per unit||£0.05 per unit|
|PIU to WCU Conversion||Project developer||At each verification||£0.03 per unit||Minimum fee £100, plus £0.05/unit above 2,000 units, applied at group level if projects are grouped|
|Reinstating Units Assigned or Retired in Error||Account holder who instigated the assignment or retirement||As required||£90 for up to 10 blocks of credits||£90 for up to 10 blocks of credits|