A new Californian law on offsets goes a long way to making them more transparent

This came up on one of my feeds recently. Emphasis is mine from the original text on the Californian legislation website detailing the bill:

AB 1305, Gabriel. Voluntary carbon market disclosures.

This bill would require a business entity that is marketing or selling voluntary carbon offsets, as defined, within the state to disclose on the business entity’s internet website specified information about the applicable carbon offset project and details regarding accountability measures if a project is not completed or does not meet the projected emissions reductions or removal benefits, as provided.

The bill would also require an entity that purchases or uses voluntary carbon offsets that makes claims regarding the achievement of net zero emissions or other, similar claims, as specified, to disclose on the entity’s internet website specified information.

The bill would require an entity that makes these claims to disclose on the entity’s internet website all information documenting how, if at all, a claim was determined to be accurate or actually accomplished, how interim progress toward that goal is being measured, and whether there is independent third-party verification of the company data and claims listed. The bill would make a person who violates these provisions subject to a civil penalty of not more than $2,500 per day, as specified, for each violation, not to exceed a total amount of $500,000, which would be assessed and recovered in a civil action brought in the name of the people of the State of California by the Attorney General or by a district attorney, county counsel, or city attorney in a court of competent jurisdiction. The bill would additionally require that disclosures be updated no less than annually.

As I understand it, this would affect any tech firm relying on voluntary carbon offsets as a basis for their own net zero or climate neutrality claims.

Off the top of my head, the first firms I think of when I see this, who have been fairly open on their climate action, and who I’d expect to see such disclosures would be Saleforce, Mozilla, Apple and Google.

If you have seen them, I’d love to know and as I’m not sure what they’re supposed to look like yet.