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ACR Becomes First Crediting Program Approved by ICAO for post-2020 Credits

ICAO’s approval of ACR’s post-2020 offset credits was based on ACR’s ability to demonstrate that it would ensure avoidance of double counting

June 2, 2021 – American Carbon Registry (ACR), a nonprofit enterprise of Winrock International, is pleased to announce the recent decision of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to extend the eligibility of ACR offset credits for compliance under the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), to include  units  generated during the period 2021 to 2023. This decision marks the first ICAO approval of a carbon crediting program to offer post-2020 vintage credits for airlines to meet their targets in the first compliance cycle 2021-2023.

ICAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations that manages the standards that govern international aviation. In 2016, ICAO approved the CORSIA as a global market-based mechanism to achieve carbon-neutral growth in international aviation starting in 2020. CORSIA is expected to reduce or offset between 2.5 and 4 billion tons of CO2-e through 2035.

To date, ICAO has approved only eight carbon crediting programs globally to supply offset credits for the CORSIA and, until this recent decision, only for units generated between 2016 and 2020.

“ACR welcomes the ICAO Council’s approval following its thorough review of our program requirements and oversight,” said Mary Grady, Executive Director of ACR. “ACR is committed to be a leader in providing high-integrity offset credits based on the best available science. This approval reflects our commitment to ensure our procedures continue to improve and evolve in line with the international climate negotiations and frameworks.”

ICAO’s updated approval of ACR offset credits was based on ACR’s ability to demonstrate that it would ensure avoidance of double counting of credits used for CORSIA with mitigation targets under the Paris Agreement. In the context of climate change mitigation, double counting describes situations where a single greenhouse gas emission reduction or removal is used more than once to demonstrate compliance with mitigation targets.

The ICAO Council’s decision follows recommendations from the 19-member Technical Advisory Body (TAB) that was established to evaluate programs’ compliance with Emissions Unit Criteria for offsetting requirements in the 2021-2023 pilot phase of CORSIA.

ACR updated its program procedures to avoid double counting after the TAB’s first assessment in 2019 “found that no emissions unit programmes assessed had all of the necessary procedures in place to demonstrate consistency with the criterion ‘Are only counted once towards a mitigation obligation’.” TAB’s second assessment of crediting programs found that, based on updates to its rules, ACR now meets all elements of the ICAO criterion and its guidelines for avoiding double-counting.

“This approval gives airlines the ability to demonstrate climate leadership by purchasing credits that are aligned with the Paris Agreement as well as with the San Jose Principles. While there is still work to be done with the U.S. Government and project developers to put these procedures into practice, we’re encouraged that ACR is able to help move this important issue forward,” said Grady.

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Winrock has long recognized the threat posed by climate change. ACR, founded in 1996 and operated by Winrock, is dedicated to the belief that markets are the most effective tools to tackle climate change. As such, ACR has developed transparent and science-based methodologies to incentivize carbon reductions in agriculture, transportation and other industries. ACR is also a partner in assuring that California’s landmark Cap-and-Trade Program can manage, verify and credit carbon offsets effectively.