It is said that what can’t be measured doesn’t exist. While this principle doesn’t necessarily hold true in everyday life, science and technology do require the most exhaustive data gathering in order to make the best researches, hypothesis and developments. That’s the role of standards (such as ISO): they are a set of guidelines and frameworks, internationally agreed upon, on which every organization can rely to know that what they’re doing (whether that is research, manufacturing, developing, etc.) is up to the highest quality standards.
Enter SocialCarbon: this is a certification specially designed for sustainable developments, whose particular advantage is its methodologic flexibility when it comes to the size of the project. The core principle is that transparent assessment and monitoring of the social and environmental performance of projects will improve their long-term effectiveness, demonstrate the project’s contribution to sustainable developments, and provide a much needed tool for small sized projects.
Even the United Nations acknowledge the need for partnerships between all kinds of stakeholders, and specifically, to pay attention to data, monitoring and accountability. There’s an urgent need to mobilize the private resources -specially in developing countries-, and to give the public sector a clear direction. This is what UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 17 states: in order to prosper, sustainable development agenda needs all hands on deck, pushing towards the same direction.
Did you know that, even when CO2 emissions have been relatively stabilized, its atmospheric concentration is still rising? Right now, we’re living under levels of 400 ppm of atmospheric CO2. This may not say a lot, but let’s put it this way: this is the highest level our planet has had in three million years (yes, you read that right: 3.000.000 years). Atmospheric concentration of CO2, as well as other greenhouse gases such as nitrous oxide (NO2) and methane (CH4), is rapidly growing and this is a main concern (or it should be).
This is where initiatives like SocialCarbon come to play. And you can be a part of it.
What can I do?
Now, you may be wondering: what do I have to do with all this? Very simple: the planet is counting on all of us to make a difference. With something so easy as a donation to projects like these, you’re helping to balance the scales, to make sustainable science and technology reach even further and to make people everywhere around the world live in a better place, not only for themselves, but for generations to come.
Scaling-up methodologies like this isn’t an easy job to do, albeit a necessary one. These tools are extremely useful to small scale projects, and most of those initiatives require as much help and resources as possible.
The uniqueness of SocialCarbon relies on its flexibility, which is an important upside: it allows every type and size of organization to partake in the benefits of carbon credit markets. While many companies are able to perform SocialCarbon Reports and methodologies, it still needs help to grow and keep pushing further the boundaries of what can be done in sustainable development.
Scientists, developers, entrepreneurs and local communities: everyone has something to contribute, and at the same time, everyone will benefit if multi stakeholders projects like these can thrive. And you can make this possible: every dollar counts in order to build a paradigm in science, where every grain of sand helps build the foundations of new sustainable developments.
Science for all kinds and sizes
Ecologica Institute (EI) is a Brazilian NGO specialized in climate change. Founded in 2000, its mission is to reduce the effects of climate change using cutting-edge scientific research, environmental preservation, and promote sustainable development programs alongside local communities where the monitored projects will thrive. Over the years, the Institute became one of the most renowned organizations, developing a plethora of projects on biodiversity conservation, knowledge enhancement and technology transfer. On other words: they want to spread science and knowledge, and work with the local communities, whose life is impacted by these environmental projects.
EI translated all this experience and know-how into the SocialCarbon Methodology, designed to achieve sustainable development goals through actions that mobilize local communities and promote social and economic responsibility.
SocialCarbon’s philosophy can be summarized as ABC: assess, build and commit. The first part focus on using a set of analytic tools to assess the social, environmental and economic conditions of communities affected by emission reduction projects. However, building together is the key: the active participation of local communities and stakeholders helps everyone to feel a vital part of the team, promoting their responsibility in the ongoing evaluation and improvement of a given project. Morover, the focus is set on long-term success: the standard emphasizes commitment to the project, applying different monitoring periods with varying degrees of responsibility in order to encourage progress and ensure continual improvements.
The measurement is done on six aspects of a given project sustainability: carbon, biodiversity, social, financial, human and natural. This is called SocialCarbon Hexagon, and each one has its own indicators to reveal the true state of a given project. What’s really innovative about this framework is that, unlike other more known methods, this is done alongside the local community and not in spite of it. This general panorama is built through participative methods, such as interviews, questionnaires and meetings with stakeholders, following the principles of the Sustainable Livelihood Approach, a widely acclaimed methodology for sustainable planning.
Once the scenario is agreed upon, the SocialCarbon Report (SCR) is elaborated, accompanied by an organization authorized by the Ecologica Institute, responsible for developing SocialCarbon indicators and reports. This process guarantees that every stakeholder involved carries out the methodology in the best possible way and ensures that concepts and fundamental steps are known.
This report sets up the baseline upon which the project must improve. While there is no minimum requirement for each indicator, monitoring reports must show significant advancements over the agreed period. If that is the case, the organization can demonstrate how much it has contributed to a sustainable development.
Throughout the process, SocialCarbon improves a given project social and environmental benefits, helps developers identify potential areas for improvements (and measures them), and provides opportunities for local stakeholders to be engaged with the community, not only benefiting the environment, but enabling the project to participate in carbon credit markets.