Carbon market open for business

UK businesses can now instantly reduce their carbon footprints by purchasing credits created by forestry projects.

Under the Woodland Carbon Code, companies looking to compensate for any unavoidable UK-based emissions and reduce their impact on the global climate can buy credits from carbon forestry projects.

Previously carbon credits were only available for purchase in advance of them being verified, meaning the buyer could only make claims about the likely future benefit of their investment. 

Now, the availability of already verified credits gives businesses clarity and allows them to compensate immediately for their emissions – ensuring they have confidence the woodlands they are purchasing from are well managed and have captured the carbon claimed. 

Sir Harry Studholme, Chair of the Board of Forestry Commissioners said:

“This is a ground breaking project, the beginning of a new era of local compensation for unavoidable emissions. Landowners and businesses have worked together to build a new, exciting and much needed market. This makes not only economic, but also at the same time, environmental, sense.”

Recently sustainability consultancy firm Carbon Clear purchased verified carbon units from the Craigengillan Estate, Ayrshire to retire on behalf of their client Rider Levett Bucknall – the first purchase of units to be immediately used.

Mark Chadwick, Chief Executive Officer at Carbon Clear said:

“We are delighted to be working with Rider Levett Bucknall, one of the first supporters of the Woodland Carbon Code. Many of our UK-based clients are now looking at how they can support carbon reduction projects closer to home and the Woodland Carbon Code provides unique access to forestry projects in Britain. Rider Levett Bucknall’s support facilitates growth in a fledgling forestry market while helping to reduce environmental impacts and preserve UK forestry. ”

The Woodland Carbon Code is the standard for woodland creation projects in the UK which generate verifiable carbon units – measurable amounts of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere by growing trees.

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1.Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most common of the greenhouse gases causing the atmospheric warming which is changing Earth’s climate. Growing trees sequester, or absorb, CO2 from the atmosphere, and use carbon atoms to form wood while emitting oxygen back to the atmosphere.

2.The Woodland Carbon Code is the voluntary government-led scheme for woodland carbon projects in the UK, which provides the framework for carbon projects to be assessed and to issue carbon credits, providing reassurance to the market.  Projects have to be ‘validated’ at the outset and subsequently ‘verified’ at year 5 then at least every 10 years to check the amount of carbon sequestered to date. 

3.Projects can only be validated/ verified to the Woodland Carbon Code if they meet its rigorous requirements for sound forest management and sustainability (as set out in the UK Forestry Standard) as well as carbon ‘accounting’. The Code uses independent validation/ verification companies who are regularly audited/ approved by the UK Accreditation Service. 

4.The UK Government’s Environmental Reporting Guidelines set out how a company can use verified credits from these projects to compensate for their unavoidable emissions and come to a net figure. 

5.The UK Forestry Standard sets out the government vision of sustainable forest management, and is the ‘yardstick’ used by all four governments in the UK when assessing applications for forestry grants, tree felling licences and approvals of forest design plans.


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