Why buy carbon units from WCC projects?
Before you buy credits from the Woodland Carbon Code or another carbon standard:
Woodland carbon projects contribute to just one of a hierarchy of actions that can help to combat the effects of climate change. Before considering buying carbon credits, including Woodland Carbon Units, businesses and other organisations should:
- Understand and measure their carbon footprint (Scope 1, 2 and where possible Scope 3 emissions), in line with the UK Government’s Environmental Reporting Guidelines;
- Set science-based targets to reduce emissions in line with the UK’s commitment to be Net Zero by 2050
- Take action to reduce Scope 1, 2 and where possible Scope 3 emissions in line with your emissions reduction plan
Expectations of high integrity buyers in the carbon market are being set out by the Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative.
Once you're reducing emissions in line with your reduction plan:
We all know the daily operations of our businesses can come at an environmental price: whether it’s the consumption of raw materials, our energy use or the emissions in our supply chains, it’s our duty to recognise and reduce our environmental impact.
Then there’s our unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions. Some UK businesses are now required to report these emissions by law, but we believe all companies should have the opportunity to compensate for their emissions in the best possible way: by making positive changes to the UK landscape by creating new woodlands.
Your investment in UK woodland creation now will have positive impacts for generations to come. And your business will benefit too: showing your customers, clients and suppliers exactly what you mean when your business talks about reducing its environmental impact. Your involvement in Woodland Carbon Code projects can demonstrate leadership in your sector.
The Woodland Carbon Code (WCC) is the quality assurance standard for woodland creation projects in the UK, and generates independently verified carbon units. Backed by government, the forest industry and carbon market experts, the Code is unique in providing woodland carbon units right here in the UK. The Woodland Carbon Code is internationally recognised for high standards of sustainable forest management and carbon management and is endorsed by ICROA, the global umbrella body for carbon reduction and offset providers in the voluntary market.
Supported by robust science from Forest Research, independent validation and verification and a transparent registry where you can track ownership, transfer and use of credits, it allows you to:
- Reduce your net emissions: The UK Government's Environmental Reporting Guidelines shows how you can use verified Woodland Carbon Units to compensate for your company's gross UK-based emissions.
- Claim Carbon Neutrality:
- British Standards Institute's PAS 2060:2014 shows how verified Woodland Carbon Units can be used in claims of carbon neutrality of an activity, product, service, building, project or event in the UK.
- Natural Capital Partners' CarbonNeutral Protocol also demonstrates how to define and measure your footprint, set targets to reduce it and then deliver reductions internally or through purchasing verified emissions reductions and removals. Woodland Carbon Code and Peatland Code verified units can be used.
- Buy in advance and help with your pathway to Net Zero by 2050: Purchase units in advance of sequestration helping to plan your pathway to net zero over the years to come.
- Companies can compensate for their UK-based emissions using carbon units from WCC projects, but not for their emissions overseas or emissions from international aviation or shipping.
- Scottish Government's Interim Principles for Responsible Investment in Natural Capital provides further guidance for those thinking of buying carbon units or buying land to create carbon units.
- Globally the Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative is expected to provide further guidance in 2022.
Creating new woodland soaks up carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and provides many other social and environmental benefits, including:
- biodiversity and habitat creation
- flood prevention, water quality
- air quality
- health, wellbeing and enjoyment
- shelter for livestock
- timber and wood fuel
- skilled jobs
- community engagement and staff volunteering, education and development
We commissioned EFTEC to Assess the Wider Benefits of Woodland Carbon Code Projects in 2016. They estimated that, on average, each carbon unit (tCO2e) purchased from a Woodland Carbon Code project also delivers at least a further £100/tCO2e of value through recreation, biodiversity, air quality and benefits to the local economy. EFTEC also estimated that 12.5% of projects were within areas identified as priority to reduce water pollution/ flood risks, and that a small percentage were accessible to communities in the lowest 20% of social deprivation areas.
Other benefits of buying UK-based woodland carbon units include:
- Local & Tangible: All the WCC projects are UK based, you could find a project near to you, and woodland carbon is a tangible product which you can visit and touch.
- Employee and customer engagement: Some WCC projects offer companies the opportunity to get involved in creating woodland, by holding tree planting days, using the site for other employee events, or engaging customers with competitions and prizes relating to the new woodland
Natural Capital Partners webinar - Delivering a Natural Climate Solution in the UK - Feb 2021
Natural Capital Partners Article - Growing a Net Zero Future in the UK
Next: Find out more about Woodland Carbon Units (PIUs and WCUs) and what you can say about them