CBSA briefing paper: Unlocking carbon credits for sanitation


In 2020 an exciting study on SOIL’s sanitation solution was published in Nature Climate Change and revealed the groundbreaking climate benefits of our container based sanitation (CBS) service, putting Haiti at the forefront of research at the intersection of sanitation and climate change. The research was the first to directly measure CBS service emissions and the results of the study determined that methane emissions from SOIL’s system of sanitation and composting waste treatment were more than 1 or 2 orders of magnitude smaller than traditional sanitation technologies. It further showed that SOIL’s sanitation system results in the mitigation of 126 kg per capita per year in CO2 equivalents (that’s  nearly 800 kg per household per year in CO2 mitigation potential)! 

Since that study was published, other members of the sanitation sector have been investigating how improved sanitation can reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and the ways that the organizations associated with sanitation services can generate revenue, especially for smaller players in the industry. Last month the Container Based Sanitation Alliance (CBSA) published a feasibility study exploring whether carbon credits could provide a profitable revenue stream to help to reduce the funding gap in global sanitation solutions and enable the scale up of CBS services worldwide. 

Working with the carbon finance consultancy South Pole, the study examined five CBS operators and determined that their projects had the potential to eliminate 79% - 93% of baseline emissions, depending on treatment methods and contextual parameters. The study also showed that carbon credits can provide a viable revenue stream for providers operating at a sufficient scale. 

As readers of our blog know, for the past two years SOIL has been thrilled to partner with Global Water Intelligence (GWI) to offset the carbon emissions from participants’ travel to and from their annual Water Summits. The partnership was forged outside of the formal carbon market and offers an important and unique opportunity for carbon mitigation financing for smaller organizations like SOIL.

We are excited that the CBSA has published this important brief and grateful to the CBSA for leveraging our collective knowledge and resources as we in the sanitation sector continue to look for new opportunities that global sanitation can play in climate change mitigation while supporting critical sanitation solutions for under-resourced communities around the world.  You can check out the full briefing paper here.   

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