BCC’s 7-Step Process to Make a Protocol

Jun 22, 2021 | Greenhouse Gas Markets

This summary outlines the steps an individual, company or group needs to complete to make a Carbon or other Environmental Goods and Services Protocol.

Note: This process does not replace any official publications from jurisdictions already having an offset approval process.

Steps Overview

BCC’s 7-Step Process to Make a ProtocolStep 1 – I have an idea!

Before considering an offset, ask these questions before proceeding.  Does the proposal succinctly outline the concept? Will this new activity create a reduction, a new sequestration or a reservoir that is  consistent with the legislative framework?  If the answers are ‘YES’, then move on to Step 2.

Step 2 – A technical seed document

he proponent needs to assemble a technical committee that has two subgroups:

  1. A technical development team,
  2. An external review team.

Various approval bodies (i.e. Government of Canada) have many subsets on the process, but ultimately the final technical consensus document will have no sustained objections.

The simplified process looks like this:

  • An internal group of experts review and assemble the science
  • The experts in the external review team critique the document
  • The consensus document is published

f there is an objection, the technical regroups and revises the concept to move the concept forward.

The technical seed document

The technical seed  document will contain, but is not limited to, these considerations:

  • Clear identity to the actual activity creating the offset.
  • The current best management practice on the project condition.
  • The mechanisms to stop reversals and secure permanence.
  • Examples of calculations applying the science.
  • Evidence required to show the change from the baseline to project condition.
  • An evaluation of both the baseline and project condition for completeness of the sources, sinks and reservoirs.
  • Flexibility mechanisms used and associated proxies.
  • A list of all the assumptions used in relation to the bright lines of being real, quantifiable, and verifiable.
  • The conservatism being applied to the quantification.
  • The conciseness with the ISO 14064 framework.
  • Additionality addressed in the project condition.
  • An assessment the result is not required by another legislative framework.

Step 3 – The approval body has an internal review

An approval body (i.e. Government of Canada) has an internal review and comment period.


Step 4 – The public review

The document, with revisions and improvements from the regulatory body, is published for public review.


Step 5 – The document is revised as required

Even at this stage, the document may require revisions. Understand the document may need to go as far back to the technical document draft if the public comments find errors.


Step 6 – A repeat of the review process if needed


Step 7 – A final document is submitted for approval and implementation


In all the protocol development processes reviewed in building this simplified guide, none of them had a profitability bright line.

If the protocol is approved, the project developer bares all the costs to assemble the evidence outlined in the protocol, pays for the verification, and pays for the serialization and registration.

On the buyer’s side, the registration of the offset does confirm there are offsets available for sale. To date, no registering body warrants the offset. A due diligence review may be required, and that cost may be a factor in any offer to purchase.

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