Sustainable building blocks with Hedera Hashgraph
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Jun 17, 2021
by Wes Geisenberger
VP, Sustainability & ESG, The HBAR Foundation

Note: this blog post was updated on July 2, 2021 to include Hedera's commitment to being carbon negative from an infrastructural standpoint by purchasing carbon offsets as of July 1, 2021.

At Hedera Hashgraph (“Hedera”), we view being “green” holistically. Being green is more than being carbon neutral now. Being green also means building the future in a way that carbon neutrality is transparent, easily traceable, and accountable in carbon markets. It also means going beyond being a low carbon footprint public ledger and fostering a community that will transform how carbon markets work in the future with tokenized publicly auditable assets. This is not an overnight process, and we’re just at the beginning of our journey, but here’s what we’re doing to make this happen:


First, Hedera is an active contributor to standards within the distributed ledger technology (DLT) industry. We’re proud to be part of the InterWork Alliance’s (IWA) Sustainability Business Working Group. This group is driving token standards in Voluntary Ecological Markets (“VEM”). These standards lay the groundwork for applications building on the Hedera network to create IWA compliant carbon credits by defining the attributes that the market demands in a carbon credit and Carbon Emissions Token.


We’ve also engaged BlockScience to build upon and apply basic research on how fundamental principles of fungibility affect market valuation and how this applies to VEMs. We’ll share more on these findings in the future, but we are excited about the potential application of traceable carbon emissions and offsets. This has practical implications for supply chains and the sourcing of offsets with specific attributes, all with full on-ledger auditability.

Building the Ecosystem

The IWA token specifications and VEM Overview provide guidelines for builders in the Hedera ecosystem to create implementations that meet business and technical requirements and align with other strategic initiatives including the Taskforce for Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets (TSVCM) Core Carbon Principles Token Standards.

In response, the Hedera community, building at multiple layers, is defining what the future of a carbon credit looks like. This includes projects like RECDeFi, which are moving forward with a token structure tied to Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs) and verifiable credentials proposed in HIP-19 to build a transparent chain of trust of data origination for carbon credits. Another project, DOVU, is working on CCP implementation standards to build on their proof of carbon for

As these platforms mature, they will provide carbon credit liquidity on the Hedera network, with demand driven by real-world platforms that have offsetting needs. Carbon credit buyers need to be certain that the tokens they purchase represent high quality carbon offsetting projects represented by legitimate underlying data. The HIP-19 model will allow the data to be traceable, fairly ordered, and verifiable according to Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) standard definitions. In many cases it will automate the process by having IoT sensor initiated events from trusted devices creating carbon credits claims with full traceability and relative order of all events from every sensor tied to an ecological benefit project leveraging Hedera.

How can you contribute?

  1. Build and Issue: Recdefi’s recent news is a great example of the many open source contributions we’ll see in this space in the coming months. Join the ecosystem of FOSS builders in the Hedera community in creating new carbon markets initiatives in supply, demand and analytics platforms. Alternatively, connect with these sustainability projects to become one of the early adopters of the technology, issue your sustainability tokens, and help others meet their sustainability goals. A list of projects open to collaborations can be found here, please feel free to add your project if it’s not already on the list.

  2. Buy: Offset your personal or company footprint with HTS-based carbon credits. A list of companies building (publicly) on HTS can be found here, please add your name if it’s not already on the list. To learn more about the quality of carbon credits take a look here. (Note: Hedera purchases carbon offsets to be carbon negative on mainnet, testnet, and mirror nodes as of July 1, 2021).

  3. Spread the word: You don’t need to be technical to help build this community! Every application in the community needs marketers, sales teams, product managers, economists, technologists, and so much more. And we are happy to engage, support, and hear feedback from the community of builders, evangelists, and more, as we work together to build this more sustainable and decentralized future.