2.7 Carbon statements and reporting
- Landowners and project developers shall make carbon buyers aware of the WCC guidance on carbon claims.
- Any carbon statement by the landowner, the project developer or the carbon buyer shall be true and accurate and conform with the recommended wording. Statements made prior to sequestration shall clearly state the timescale over which the carbon is to be sequestered.
- Carbon removals shall only be reported, or used, after carbon is sequestered and verified (ie Woodland Carbon Units) in accordance with guidance. This is sometimes called ex-post reporting.
Carbon claims/conformance with the claims/reporting guidance will be checked at validation and each verification.
It is vital to the reputation of the Code that any claims made about carbon are true and accurate and that carbon from a given project is not used, or accounted for, more than once. As a general principle, carbon can only be used once the trees have grown, carbon is sequestered and verified. Companies using verified Woodland Carbon Units should demonstrate their use in an annual report (environmental, GHG or financial) as well as in other promotional claims. Landowners, project developers and carbon buyers should make every effort to ensure the appropriateness and accuracy of any claims.
The UK Woodland Carbon Registry, a carbon unit registry for the Woodland Carbon Code, hosted by Markit. This contains units in two forms
- Pending Issuance Units of a given ‘vintage’/time-period (essentially a promise to deliver carbon units in a given time-frame) and
- verified Woodland Carbon Units of a particular vintage/time-period (verified carbon sequestration which can be used, or reported).
All units are linked to the project they belong to, and publicly visible with their current status and owner. When units are retired from the registry for use, this will be publicly visible on a 'retirement' page. This will provide clarity and transparency of carbon owners and claims that are made. It is possible for project developers to 'assign' a PIU to a buyer if the buyer doesn't wish to have their own account. Assignment is irreversible, and assigned credits will be automativally retired once they are converted to verified Woodland Carbon Units upon verification.
Anyone involved in a project can make a statement about the carbon benefits of their project, at any time provided they state clearly the timescale over which the net carbon sequestration will take place, being clear what is already sequestered, and what will be sequestered in future.
Example statement(s) might be:
- Company A has invested £[x] in a woodland project of [y] ha in [z] location. The woodland was planted in year [a] and to date (current date/year) our contribution to the project has sequestered [b] tCO2e. However, over the next [c] years our contribution to the project would be expected to result in an additional sequestration of [d] tCO2e.
- Landowner B created a woodland carbon project of [y] ha in [z] location. The woodland was planted in year [a] and to date (2013) has created 50 Woodland Carbon Units. Over the next [c] years the project is predicted to sequester another [d] tCO2e.
No-one involved in the project can state anything which suggests that carbon units exist until they are verified – so whilst carbon units are 'pending issuance' (ie PIU status) no claims of use, compensating for/balancing emissions or carbon neutrality can be made by the carbon owner at that time.
There is only one ‘owner’ of each carbon unit (tonne of carbon dioxide) at any one time. Carbon can be traded but ultimately there can only be one 'user' of the carbon unit. The UK Woodland Carbon Registry will indicate the current owner of each carbon unit. Pending Issuance Units cannot be used, but once the carbon is actually sequestered, verified and transferred to Woodland Carbon Units, the process for using them is as follows:
- Retire the number of Woodland Carbon Units you’d like to use from the UK Woodland Carbon Registry. This means they’ll be put in a ‘used’ account so no-one else can use them again. The registry will state who’s used them for what and the owner will get an email from Markit to confirm the details.
- Report your ‘use’ of the Woodland Carbon Units. This should be in your annual GHG, environmental or other report as well as in signage, website or other promotional material.
- Ensure that any claims are accurate and backed up by your annual report (e.g. on signage, website or other promotional material). For example if you make claims such as
- ‘We’ve compensated for/ balanced xtCO2 of our 2017 emissions with Woodland Carbon Units’
- Ensure that annual reports follow the ‘best practice’ guidance on reporting carbon units. This could be
An organisation's GHG emissions report following UK government guidance should show a company’s gross emissions for a given year and then list any compensatory activities. These could be Kyoto compliant or voluntary offsets as well as Woodland Carbon Units or electricity generation exported.
Example Company Net GHG Emissions Report (Source: Environmental Reporting Guidelines Annex H: Example Reporting Format)
|Scopes of Emissions Reported on||Scope 1, 2 and 3||Scope 1, 2 and 3|
|Gross Emissions||89,510||91, 390|
|Exported Renewable Energy Generation||(18)||(15)|
|Woodland Carbon Units||(100)|
Qualifying text for Woodland Carbon Units should include:
- The number of Woodland Carbon Units and their vintage
- The Name and ID number of the project that created them
- A link to the UK Woodland Carbon Registry project page
- A link to the UK Woodland Carbon Registry retirement page, demonstrating the retirement of these units
- The name of the validator/verifier