Third-Party Validation

NW Natural works with several partners to guarantee that the offsets provided are of the highest quality.

To implement the Smart Energy program, NW Natural is working together with The Climate Trust, a Portland-based nonprofit organization whose mission is transforming the economy to value our climate.

About The Climate Trust

In 1997, Oregon became the first state in the nation to create a carbon emission standard. The Climate Trust was established as the only nonprofit qualified to identify, evaluate, and contract for offsets on behalf of energy facilities that are required to meet the standard. As the first and largest institutional buyer of carbon offsets in the early days of the U.S. carbon market, The Climate Trust's pioneering work has been critical to the development of industry standards in the United States.

Since its founding, The Climate Trust has committed $25.2 million to projects that are contracted to offset 4.9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide—the equivalent of 1,031,579 passenger vehicles taken off the road. The Trust has also been recognized as a nationally-recognized innovator and one of the leading providers of high-quality offsets in the United States. More information about The Climate Trust can be found at

Carbon offset programs that work

The Climate Trust funds innovative projects that showcase a variety of strategies to reduce, remove, or avoid emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. The Trust's project portfolio focuses on projects with strong co-benefits in the agriculture, biogas and forestry sectors.

All of The Climate Trust's offset projects meet rigorous quality standards to ensure environmental integrity. These standards have been designed to ensure projects are additional to business-as-usual activities, apply quantification protocols that generate a conservative volume of emission reductions, are rigorously monitored and subject to third-party verification, and have other positive environmental and economic benefits such as protecting water quality and creating jobs.

Such high quality standards have led both Clean Air Cool Planet and Carbon Concierge to recognize The Climate Trust as a leading national offset provider. In addition, the Voluntary Carbon Standard adopted The Trust's tests for additionality, the most important criterion for offsets. The Trust's projects have demonstrated that it is possible to acquire high quality offsets at a competitive price using recognized standards.

The NW Natural partnership

Through the Smart Energy program, NW Natural and The Climate Trust will invest in carbon offset projects that are most compatible with NW Natural's business - natural gas distribution. The major focus will be investments in biogas development.

Smart Energy investments

Nearly 70 percent of all Smart Energy contributions will be used by The Climate Trust to fund offset projects including project identification, development, monitoring, and operational support. The remaining 30 percent will be used for overall program administration and to educate customers about Smart Energy and climate change issues.

Required criteria for Smart Energy offsets

The Climate Trust employs the following criteria to ensure that Smart Energy dollars are going to credible projects that have a positive impact on the climate. Smart Energy offset projects must:

  • Meet a credible additionality standard (i.e., The Climate Trust or Climate Action Reserve) that clearly demonstrates how carbon finance helps the project overcome financial, technological, or institutional barriers or how it is not common practice.
  • Have a credible monitoring plan in place that quantifies emissions reduction performance and subject it to third-party verification.
  • Permanently reduce or avoid emissions.
  • Demonstrate clear title to the emission reductions to guarantee that offsets have clear and defensible ownership rights and are not subject to double counting.