Willamette Partnership Ecosystem Credit Accounting System: General Crediting Protocol Version 2.0

Nov 8, 2013
Over the past 50 years, populations have grown dramatically in Western communities in the United States. With that growth, local economies have expanded and diversified in ways that change how we utilize natural resources and impact the environment around us. Increasing pressure on natural systems reduces their ability to provide the services that we rely on, like clean air, clean water, and natural places to play.

There are several policy tools in place to reduce or reverse this trend toward less robust and resilient ecological systems, but they do not always work in synergy. Communities that seek to comply with environmental policies and regulations are often faced with expensive solutions that may be disconnected from the actual problem. This disconnect has created the idea that we need to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment. Willamette Partnership believes this is a false choice. We believe naturally functioning ecosystems form the cornerstone of livable communities and a healthy, sustainable economy. We want ecological resiliency because it benefits us as individuals, businesses, and communities.

The Partnership's work, including development and implementation of this Protocol, is based on the assumption that ecosystem markets can provide alternatives to complying with environmental policies, alternatives that help rebuild resilient ecological systems in a credible, rigorous, and cost-effective way. We believe that environmental markets should be tied to meeting overall environmental goals rather than strict interpretations of current rules and program guidelines. As such, the Ecosystem Credit Accounting System is designed to work within existing regulatory structures and constantly strives to:
  • Produce the highest quality restoration and conservation where it makes the greatest ecological difference;
  • Foster transparency, accountability, and credibility in emerging ecosystem markets and;
  • Facilitate the connections between Buyers and Sellers that put the greatest amount of resources towards measurable benefits with lowest transaction costs.
If there are ever any grey areas, exceptions to standards, or places where this Protocol is silent, refer back to these three guiding principles to inform case-by-case decisions.

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