Gold Carbon Emissions and Net Zero

The World Gold Council (WGC) analyzes the impact of climate transition on the gold industry and its stakeholders, focusing on power emissions.

The WGC and its members recognize the risks that climate change brings to the global economy and on the gold sector’s future.

Hence WGC, the global experts on gold, focuses to bring a clearer understanding of how climate-related risks can affect the entire industry.

The group does this by conducting research and promoting how responsible gold mining as a key aspect of its ESG supports the transition to a low carbon economy.

WGC’s Gold and Climate Change

Mining is a very energy-intensive industry that uses up to 11% of total global energy consumption. Its carbon footprint is relatively small but insignificant compared to other sectors.

Estimated emissions for the global gold market are around 126.4 Mt CO2 equivalent a year.

The WGC identified that the major source of the gold’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are from its mining operations. They represent the sector’s Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (indirect) emissions.

For each ounce of gold produced that is roughly 800 kg CO2 (or 0.8 carbon credit equivalency).

About 95% of those emissions come from the power or fuel used in the sector (power emissions). Of this, electricity represents the largest source of emissions at the mine site.

But with electrification in gold mine sites, around 6 million liters of diesel each year were no longer used in mining operations.

The group also confirmed that carbon footprint from gold’s downstream (Scope 3) uses are relatively small.  Here’s gold’s GHG emissions from its total downstream products.

Power emissions indeed play a big part in gold’s total carbon footprint. WGC seeks to provide an analysis of the potential impacts of changes in gold mining’s electricity generation.

More importantly, it aims to offer knowledge of how those changes may reflect the industry’s ability to meet climate targets.

This is to help investors and the wider stakeholder groups to be open to more opportunities as they seek to decarbonize energy sources.

Gold Net Zero Targets and Pathways

Based on its analysis, WGC outlined a range of possible steps and pathways for the industry to net zero. The image below shows these options.

The WGC estimated that the emissions pathway needed for the industry to help limit global warming to <2ºC calls for an emissions reduction of 80% by 2050. And if the industry wishes to achieve a 1.5ºC target, a 92% reduction by 2040 is necessary.

More so, gold mining companies need to achieve around 27% or 46% non-power emissions reduction by 2030.

Today, grids are transitioning to lower emission power sources. And WGC projected that this will translate to a 20% reduction in the emissions intensity of gold mines grid power by 2030.

That’s because new initiatives from gold miners are now focusing on cleaner electricity consumption. Solar energy is their top renewable energy source.

Solar is the preferred technology due to its relatively low cost, scalability and frequent geographic fit.

If single actions were taken to enable 1.5ºC target alignment, this requires either:

replacement of 55% or more of direct fossil fuel generated power with renewables or
replacement of 30% or more of grid supply with renewables.

So overall, the current net zero commitments by WGC gold miners show the vital role of energy in driving more emission reductions in the sector.

But there’s one more important finding that the WGC highlighted as the industry transitions to a low carbon future. That’s the impact of introducing gold as a strategic investment to a global multi-asset portfolio.

Aligning Investment Portfolios with Paris Agreement

One important finding of the group is that holding gold in a diversified portfolio can help reduce its carbon footprint.

For example:

For a portfolio of 70% equities and 30% bonds, introducing a 10% allocation to gold (and reducing the other asset holdings by equal amounts) reduced the emissions intensity of portfolio value by 7%, and a 20% holding in gold lowered it by 17%.

And so, the WGC suggested that gold may play a positive role in mitigating portfolio climate impacts.

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LanzaTech’s Bacteria Carbon Capture Tech

Chicago-based, LanzaTech, has been recycling carbon emissions into products such as clothes, aviation fuel, fragrances, and perfumes.

Their patented CarbonSmart technology has shown how its carbon capture and conversion technology can do away with virgin fossil fuels to make things people use in their daily lives. 

The major products made by LanzaTech out of its carbon recycling technology include the following:

Chemicals (100+)
Fuels (SAF)

For every ton of CarbonSmart product made 2 tons of CO2 is removed.

Their scalable tech has the potential to produce >1 billion tons/year of CarbonSmart products from waste feedstock.

The company does that with its unique carbon conversion process below.

LanzaTech’s fermentation process uses rabbit-gut bacteria to ferment gas pollution (contains CO2) captured from factories and municipal solid waste.

The bacteria then transforms those wastes to make its proprietary blend of ethanol it calls Lanzanol.

Ethanol is a basic building block of many materials and it’s an alcohol that is blended with gasoline to lessen the fuel used by cars.

Converting the gas streams from various carbon sources into a workable material is similar to a traditional fermentation process. 

But unlike making beer where sugar is fed to the yeast to make ethanol, LanzaTech doesn’t use sugar. Instead, it feeds the organisms inside the reactor either CO or CO2.

Then the converted gas is safely stored, waiting to be used as raw material for making a new product. 

LanzaTech’s CEO, Jennifer Holmgren said that steel mills usually flare carbon monoxide (CO) and CO2 into the atmosphere. She then added that:

“LanzaTech runs a plant at a steel-mill site, to easily grab the carbon monoxide emissions and put them into a reactor, a process called gas fermentation. Then, a unique strain of bacteria inside the reactor devours the emissions and “poops out ethanol, basically.”

LanzaTech’s ethanol is the same as fossil-fuel derived ethanol chemically speaking. It is then sent to companies that source it in making other chemicals used in polyester fabrics, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), and other sustainable products.

Carbon Capture Innovation and Scalability

With this innovative carbon conversion technology, LanzaTech has produced over 30 million gallons of ethanol since 2021. This corresponds to avoiding 150,000 metric tons of CO2 out of the air.

The carbon tech further aims to generate 100 million gallons by the end of 2023. And while their operating plants use only CO as source emissions, LanzaTech plans to expand and use CO2 as well.

In addition to its existing 2 commercial plants in operation, the firm has 7 more plants under construction. It is even planning to have 7 more engineering plants.

And to date, the company has over 1,115 patents granted worldwide with over 470 pending. It’s also working to make acetone and isopropanol, which should be ready in 2023.

LanzaTech also believes that it provides a profitable pathway to solving heavy industry’s carbon problems because of the following market advantages:

And a couple of LanzaTech’s partners are also thinking the same about the scalability of the company’s carbon technology.

The firm’s network of trusted partners and investors range from heavy industrial emitters to aviation companies and consumer brands.

There are several Global Fortune 500 companies that are deploying LanzaTech’s technology along with big investors in the space.

Total Energies converts the ethanol from LanzaTech into ethylene before polymerizing it into polyethylene that has the same technical characteristics as its fossil counterpart.

L’Oréal uses this polyethylene to make packaging for its products with the same quality and properties as conventional polyethylene.

Fashion Retailers Lululemon and Zara have partnered with them for sustainable clothing lines.

Steel company ArcelorMittal, Plastic firm Sekisui, Suncor Energy, and BASF are a few other companies investing to help scale up LanzaTech’s innovative process.

As seen below, LanzaTech’s SAF solution makes direct conversion of captured carbon to SAF possible.

With this technology, the carbon capture firm received $50 million in funding from Microsoft, adding to previous investments from Shell and many other energy companies and airlines. 

In the words of the company’s CEO,

“Fossil fuel is in everything we use, not just fuel or energy… dresses [SAF and other sustainable products] will show people that to decarbonize, we have to change where carbon in everything comes from.”

LanzaJet and SAF

Apart from a long list of CarbonSmart products, they have spun out a company “LanzaJet”  solely focused on producing sustainable jet fuel and additives for the aviation sector.

They already have partnerships in place with airlines such as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

In comparison with fossil fuel equivalent, LanzaJet offers the following performance when it comes to using CO2 waste and transforming it into SAF solution.

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DeepMarkit Announces Execution of LOI with Japan-based BloomX

DeepMarkit, focusing on minting credits into non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to democratize access to the voluntary carbon offset market, has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with Bloom X Alliance to form a referral arrangement.

Under the Arrangement, Bloom X will introduce and onboard carbon credit projects onto the blockchain through, DeepMarkit’s minting platform.

BloomX is a blockchain-based products and services company seeking to reduce cost, improve efficiency of international asset transfers, and invest in blockchain products/services.

It has an extensive network in the cryptocurrency community as its CEO is a member of the Crypto Valley Association, an independent, government-supported and world leading blockchain organization based in Switzerland,

By signing the LOI, DeepMarkit can expect to see more transaction volume due to users referred by BloomX that mint credits into NFTs. The company will also benefit from exposure to new carbon credit projects and more validation in the ASEAN carbon offset community through BloomX.

Under the LOI terms, BloomX will receive a fee for referring carbon projects to DeepMarkit. Also, both firms will perform due diligence and negotiate the terms of a definitive agreement to govern their Arrangement.

The Arrangement will be subject to applicable regulations, securities, corporate and tax laws, and any transaction may also be subject to TSX Venture Exchange approval.

The Arrangement will go along with Japan’s plan to have its first market for trading carbon emissions in the country through the partnership between the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Japan Exchange Group.

Both initiatives will help improve transparency in prices, encourage more companies to participate in the carbon market, and boost decarbonisation in the country.

Read the full News Release HERE

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Agricultural Carbon Credits and Carbon Farming Guide

There is a long list of sources of carbon emissions, and agriculture is one that may be hard for many people to believe.

After all, what does agricultural farming has to do with global warming? A lot.

This article will explain what are carbon credits in agriculture. It will also identify the ways how farmers or ranchers can generate agricultural or soil-based carbon credits.

Carbon Farming Guide: What are Agricultural Carbon Credits?

Plants or crops form part of the entire carbon cycle. Growing almost any sort of plant is the same as practicing small-scale carbon sequestration. That’s because plants use carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air during their photosynthesis.

When the plants die, their carbon-based structure begins to decay. Some of that CO2 is released into the air, and some of it is trapped underground.

Grasses and other crops draw down CO2 from the air quickly but they also tend to release it fast when they decompose. Yet, with proper soil carbon capture and farming practices like regenerative agriculture, they can sequester CO2 very well.

Here’s how soil captures carbon through a biological carbon sequestration cycle.

In carbon farming, carbon can be thought of as a crop similar to the other crops farmers produce on their farms or ranches. Agricultural practices give farmers the great potential to turn their farms’ carbon sequestration into cash with carbon credits.

Carbon credits are a medium of exchange used to “offset” CO2 emissions under the Cap and Trade guidelines set by the Paris Agreement.

The idea is that companies responsible for emitting CO2 have to reduce their emissions (cap) or pay for the efforts of farmers or others who can prove they are doing the work of removing CO2 from the air (trade).

In particular, carbon credits are created based on the amount of carbon you draw down into the soil. And so the GHG emissions you reduce above the soil. It can be an improvement in nitrogen timing, for instance.

Essentially, carbon credits operate like crops in some ways. If you produce corn to sell, the buyer will want to know the quantity and quality. Only by satisfying the information needed by the buyers you can sell them your agricultural produce.

They have to weigh your corn and test it for quality so they can be confident in your product.

Similarly, carbon credits measure and track the quantity of carbon sequestered in the soil and the corresponding GHG emissions reduced.

Ways to Produce Soil-Based Carbon Credits

There are various opportunities to generate carbon credits in agriculture. But before that, let’s explain what soil carbon capture is all about.

Soil Carbon Capture

Soil carbon capture or sequestration happens when plants capture and store, or “sequester,” atmospheric CO2 in the soil. This increases the quantity of soil carbon stocks.

Decaying plant matter, along with the carbon it contains, becomes part of the soil for a period of time before it is broken down by microbes. It’s during decomposition when CO2 sequestered goes back into the atmosphere.

The length of time carbon stays in the soil before returning to the atmosphere varies. It depends on the climate, soil composition, and other factors.

For instance, disrupting the soil structure like converting forests and grasslands to farmland, can speed up the process of releasing much of the captured carbon. When this occurs, global warming heats up more.

On the other hand, agricultural practices like no-till farming and planting cover crops can slow the rate of soil carbon loss. They can even potentially increase soil carbon levels.

Studies say that the past 200 years of agriculture released over 100 billion metric tons of CO2 (GtCO2) from the soil into the atmosphere. That’s more than 3x as much carbon as all human activities emitted in 2019 (43.1 GtCO2).

There has been a lot of buzz in the ag sector about voluntary carbon markets. In this market, farmers or ranchers can sell a carbon credit to investors for every metric ton of carbon that their land sequesters.

The carbon market creates new revenue streams for farmers that were not there before. This incentivizes them to transition to sustainable farming practices and adopt regenerative agriculture.

On the buyer side, companies, governments, and other entities buy carbon credits for around $15–$20/ton of carbon to offset their own emissions.

This can be done voluntarily (as offsets) to meet their emissions reduction goals. Or farmers can sell credits to entities in the regulatory market (cap-and-trade system) with reductions mandated by laws.

While soil carbon capture can work in different ways, some practices are proven to deliver amazing results. Let’s talk about regenerative farming first and how it can give farmers or ranchers carbon credits.

What is Regenerative Farming?

Many conventional industrial farming practices cause global warming and severely damage natural ecosystems.

Over-farming, too many chemical inputs, and mono-crops are contaminating and depleting water sources. They also cause soil erosion and destroy habitats. In fact, these farming practices are one of the biggest threats to biodiversity.

Worst case scenario is how they cause desertification that makes the Earth barren.

In Europe alone, researchers found that an area twice the size of Portugal was at high risk of desertification. And the two key contributors to this are tillage and overgrazing.

The good news is that a new, yet very old method of farming, has been taking the sector by storm – regenerative farming.

Regenerative farming practices hand degraded land back to nature. They let ecosystems store planet-warming CO2 by using soil as a carbon sink, literally. This farming approach also helps boost wildlife and promote biodiversity.

Many regenerative farming methods follow the traditional ways of farming that were used for thousands of years. These include:

Reducing soil disturbance due to tillage (no-till farming)
Ending the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers through mob grazing and manure/compost
Maximizing soil coverage through living roots and mulching (covering the soil with mulch)
Promoting crop rotation by moving away from monocultures and growing cover crops, which improves biodiversity
Combining livestock rearing with crops and other plants

By creating grasslands, restoring peatlands, and growing cover crops, carbon can be captured and stored for a long time. Plus, regenerative farming encourages farmers to move away from government subsidies.

And the best part? Farmers can help prevent soil desertification while earning more with carbon credits.

Regenerative Farming and Carbon Credits

As farmers and ranchers embrace regenerative farming, their land goes from being a net-emitter of GHG to sequestering carbon. In other words, becoming a carbon sink.

The reduction or sequestration of CO2 by regenerative farming methods can lead to the creation of carbon credits. These credits are created and brought to market by project developers. They then sold the credits to big companies seeking to offset their own emissions while supporting farmers.

In return, farmers receive additional revenue for every ton of CO2 reduced or sequestered by their farmlands. There’s a catch, however. Farmers may claim to achieve certain carbon reductions or sequestration falsely.

This is why a third-party body has to measure and verify the claim by the farmers to ensure there’s indeed a reduction/sequestration that’s happening.

Soil tests, for instance, are one part of carbon credit programs. Validation of conservation practices is also done by way of federal crop records and field data.

On the buyers’ side, investors and companies like Cargill, JPMorgan Chase, Shopify, and Microsoft have committed to promoting farming methods that regenerate the soil by buying carbon credits from farmers.

Through various regenerative farming techniques, corporations can invest to improve soil health and help grow farmers’ income. They can support growers today and drive the regenerative agricultural revolution.

And on top of that is reducing GHG emissions significantly. The case of nitrogen emissions is another unique opportunity for farmers to earn carbon credits.

The Unpopular Concept of Nitrogen Carbon Credits

Various factors that affect nitrogen or nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions allow for many ways that farmers might tweak their practices to reduce emissions.

One way to do that is to place nitrogen with the right depth in the soil by opting for the no-till method. The goal is to reduce the amount of N2O that’s lost from the soil and go into the crop for better growth and more yield.

No-till is a farming practice that falls under regenerative agriculture. Remember that tilling also causes desertification. And so, no-till is a sought-after farming technique that can help reduce N2O emissions.

A researcher found that no-till reduces N2O emissions by 57% over chisel tilling, which mixes crop residue into the surface soil.

No-till and cover crops, which will be explained next, both help limit N2O emissions.

With the lifespan and effects of nitrogen on the atmosphere, the global warming potential of one ton of N2O is 296x that of one ton of CO2 emitted.

A carbon offset is standardized as a reduction in one ton (or 1000 kilograms) of CO2 emitted. That amount is equal to 3.38 kilograms of N2O emitted.

In theory, a grower can adopt no-till and other regenerative farming methods that reduce N2O emissions and determine how much of that emission is prevented. Then the farmer can get and sell the resultant carbon credits in a carbon market.

Carbon emissions trading schemes in the market enable companies to buy carbon offsets. They then account for and report those offsets as part of their regulated or voluntary emission reduction targets.

The same thing can happen if growers use cover crops.

Why Farmers Should Grow Cover Crops

Cover crops are different from the primary cash crop. They are planted without the intention of harvesting. That sounds not right but farmers can get plenty of benefits from doing that.

They protect the soil from erosion and improve nutrient conditions. They are grown to help keep the soil intact which would otherwise be bare against winds, rains and water, and even tillage.

Cover crops are becoming popular as the world fights climate change. In fact, they now account for about 22 million acres of land, up 43% from past years.

Popular examples of cover crops are barley, oats, legume, radishes, and rye. Some crops are converted into biofuel or fed to animals. But leaving them to break down in the soil is best for the environment because doing so can help the soil sequester carbon.

And so, cover crops boost the capacity of agricultural lands to draw down carbon emissions.

The potential of cover crops for carbon credits

It is estimated that 20 million acres of cover crops can sequester over 66 million tons of CO2 equivalent a year. This is equal to the emissions of about 13 million vehicles. And this rate increases when cover cropping is used along with no-tillage farming.

Cover crops enhance soil sequestration that also improves farm productivity and global atmospheric CO2 removal when done wide-scale.

This is why growing cover crops qualify farmers for a carbon offset program. It means the crops can make carbon credits and give farmers additional revenue.

More and more farmers are considering cover crops for the additional revenue potential from carbon credits.

Other benefits of cover crops include:

Increase yield
Improve soil health and water quality
Retain soil moisture
Increase organic matter in the soil
Reduce the need for herbicides and pesticides
Outcompete weeds

Lawmakers also recognize the role that cover crops play in reducing emissions by capturing and storing CO2 and N2O. In fact, the Biden Administration proposed $28 billion for land conservation programs. $5 billion of that is for farmers and landowners who plant cover crops.

Forecasts suggest that by 2030, around 40 to 50 million acres of land would be for cover crops. That corresponds to 132 – 165 million tons of CO2 sequestered.

So if one carbon credit (equals one ton of GHG removal) has the maximum price at the current rate ($20), that’s about $2.6 billion to $3.3 billion market opportunity!

For instance, if one farmer has a total amount of sequestered GHG of 22,745 metric tons across his acres, he can make carbon credits worth $341,175 (if the price is $15 per ton).

The chart below shows the potential of cover crops in slashing emissions in million metric tons of CO2eq by decade until 2050. It also plots the no-till farming emissions reduction capacity.

The Current State of Agricultural Carbon Credits Market

The agricultural carbon credits market consists of two largest players: speculators and pilot-project developers.

Speculators expect a remarkable growth in carbon markets in the next few years. They’re investors who try to contract as many acres as they can to trade as many carbon credits as possible.

On the other hand, pilot-project developers are the ones who connect with growers or agribusiness partners. They act as intermediaries between producers and buyers of carbon credits with agriculture projects.

Both of them share the common goal of using carbon credits to promote sustainable farming practices while reducing emissions.

Ag Carbon Market in Canada

In Canada, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change developed the Federal Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Offset Credit System.

Canada’s carbon credit markets provide the largest opportunities in the world for farmers to participate. Over 20 million metric tons of carbon emissions reduction are from agricultural carbon credit projects in Alberta alone.

The Alberta Emission Offset System covers agriculture, along with forestry and carbon capture and storage/carbon capture and utilization.

Alberta is one of the three Prairie provinces in which most of Canada’s crop farming happens. And though Alberta’s crediting system covers multiple sectors, most credits come from projects in the renewable energy and agriculture sectors.

Alberta specifies 19 offset protocols that can generate carbon offset credits. Three of them cover the generation of agricultural carbon credits, focusing on cropping systems, N2O emissions reduction, and livestock.

Canadian companies have developed expertise in agricultural emissions reduction. Building on this expertise, they’re now leading the development of advanced systems for quantifying and tracking agricultural emissions reduction.

In Alberta, the Technology, Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) credits went up to $50 a credit in 2022 (from $40 in 2021).


Ag Carbon Market in the US and Europe

In the U.S., the Growing Climate Solutions Act of 2021 gives authority to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help farmers, ranchers and private forest landowners take part in carbon credit markets.

It supports the development of a voluntary market for agriculture carbon credits from the prevention or reduction of GHG or carbon sequestration on agricultural lands.

In particular, the Act is to ensure that the USDA certification program remains relevant, credible, and responsive to the needs of farmers and other players in the carbon market.

The common voluntary programs in the country include:

2 carbon and ecosystem services credit entities (Ecosystem Services Market Consortium-ESMC and Soil and Water Outcomes Fund),
2 carbon credit entities (Indigo and Nori),
4 input suppliers (Agoro Carbon Alliance, Bayer, Corteva, and Nutrien), and
3 data platforms (CIBO Impact, Gradable, and TruCarbon).

A study suggested that the potential demand for agriculture carbon credits in the US is 190 million tons per year. It also estimated the size of the US market for carbon credits at $5.2 billion per year.

Meanwhile, the other ecosystem services related to nitrogen and phosphorus management is $8.7 billion.

Despite limitations in upfront investments, large companies have plans to support agricultural carbon credits. Most of them are particularly after the regenerative farming practices on millions of acres of North American lands.

Some familiar names include General Mills, Cargill, McDonalds, Target and Land O’Lakes.

European nations also encourage farmers to shift to regenerative farming to reduce the sector’s GHG emissions. In fact, soil and agriculture plays a crucial role in the EU’s “Fit for 55” package.

But the bloc is still drawing up guidelines for recognizing and calculating credits in the carbon farming market by the end of 2022.

Once the EU regulation for carbon farming and emissions trading is ready, the goal is to cut 42 million tons of CO2 by 2030. Yet, the development of a framework for the market may take some time.

Still, the voluntary carbon market has been working already in the region. Agreena, in particular, is a Dutch startup that mints, verifies, and sells carbon credits generated by farmers who engage in regenerative agriculture.

Addressing the 2 Key Challenges

There’s no doubt that agricultural soil carbon capture and sequestration can help address climate change. Many studies back this up and billions of investments have been made in this space.

Yet, two major challenges remain that market players need to deal with: measurement and verification.

Carbon credits in agriculture and in other other sectors are only as real or valuable as the science and evidence underlying them. Rigorous standards for quantifying, monitoring, and verifying carbon offsets must be in place for the creation of agricultural carbon credits.

And so, international carbon certifiers exist to ensure highest standards when it comes to carbon credit measurement and accounting. Verra, Gold Standard, and Climate Action Reserve are some popular examples.

Their role is to set standards and guidelines on how to measure and verify carbon accurately and affordably. They see to it that there’s rigor and transparency in creating carbon credits in agriculture. Doing so will shed light on how the sector can help tackle climate change and bring confidence in the market.

Only through this that carbon market mechanisms can drive major investments into regenerative agricultural practices around the world.

And with the help of technology, investors can be confident in betting on farmers and in their lands to draw carbon from the air and do so verifiably.

After all, standards for agricultural carbon credits don’t need to be from the government. The markets can and will make their own standards.

Should you want to learn more about who verifies carbon credits, here’s the perfect article for that. And if you want to know more about carbon credits in general, here’s our ultimate guide.

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Urban Forest Carbon Credits: A Potential Market for Climate Investors

Cities and companies start to recognize how investing in trees is beneficial after the biggest single urban forest carbon credits purchase in US history.

A group of 13 organizations and government entities made a first-of-its-kind deal that bought all the city forest carbon credits available in the U.S.

Their urban forestry projects earned a total of over $1 million. The revenues will go back to supporting tree planting and management programs.

The landmark deal supports projects that are in communities reaching over 20 million Americans. The pilot projects were in Austin, Texas, and King County.

Market players said that the rising price of urban forest carbon credits shows that buyers are recognizing the immense value and benefits of city or urban forests.

What are Urban Forest Carbon Credits?

A carbon credit is a tradable permit that represents CO2 (or any equivalent greenhouse gas) removed from the atmosphere. A polluter can then buy the credit to offset or neutralize its carbon emissions.

Forestry-related carbon credits are one of the common offset options available in the market today. Yet, some climate activists criticize them for allowing big firms to greenwash.

But urban forest carbon credits are a more novel option. Many people believe their benefits offer a fresh and different kind of value that is more than just protecting trees.

They also help improve the quality of air and mental health of the population residing in the cities. These benefits contribute to the much higher price of the credits compared to global forest carbon credits.

According to Regen Network, the price per credit was between $34 – $45 per metric ton of CO2.

In contrast, the price for global forest credits can be lower than $10 per credit.

As for Kathleen Farley Wolf, manager of King County Forest Carbon Program:

“That price is really a signal that these kinds of projects are highly valued and that there’s recognition that doing urban forest projects is expensive; cities are expensive, suburbs are expensive.”

With the recent rise in corporate net zero pledges, the demand for urban forest carbon credits will also grow as projected by the City Forest Credits (CFC).

CFC is a registry organization based in Seattle that manages, promotes, and issues urban forest carbon credits. It’s a non-profit organization dedicated solely to urban forest carbon. It developed carbon protocols for tree planting and tree preservation projects in cities and towns.

The protocols set rules governing specifics like the location and duration of a project and how the carbon will be quantified.

These new credits are exclusive for the urban environment and the unique challenges and possibilities it has. And so they differ from traditional carbon credits.

The price and negotiation process occurs between the credit buyer and local operator. This is how this carbon credit program works:

Buyers can buy verified carbon credits directly from local operators to offset their emissions and bring more trees for communities.

Carbon Capture with Urban Forests

Between 2010 and 2060, urban land is estimated to increase another 95.5 million acres to 163.1 million acres (8.6%). Also, 18 states are projected to have an increase of over 2 million acres.

Urban forests, like any forests, help address climate change by capturing and storing CO2. They also help heat and cool buildings.

In the US alone, urban trees store over 708 million tons of carbon. This is equal to about 12.6% of annual CO2 emissions in the country.

Urban forests also capture an additional 28.2 million tons of carbon (0.05% of annual emissions) annually.

More interestingly, the value of urban forest carbon sequestration is huge. That’s around $2 billion per year with a total carbon storage value of more than $50 billion.

Potential for Market Growth

The potential of urban forest carbon credits in both fighting climate change and benefiting cities is huge. But there are also some barriers to beat for this carbon credit program to grow. These include:

limited awareness of urban forests and their ability to offer carbon credits,
a lack of binding requirements to participate, and
local governments’ minimal capacity to grow such programs

Yet, the widely recognized benefits of urban forests can be a catalyst for attracting more investments. For instance, extreme heat and poor air quality are going to make the credits even more valuable and bankable.

Right now, participation in this carbon credit market remains voluntary. But more climate commitments from companies and governments can help propel market growth.

As per Jad Daley, CEO of American Forests:

“Urban forests stand at the center of carbon removal, social equity, public health, biodiversity, and positive community impacts where millions of people live, work, breathe, and recreate… These credits are a critical step toward financing equitable city forests for everyone.”

The urban forest carbon credits aim to quantify not only the carbon capturing benefits of urban trees. They also include rainfall interception, energy savings from cooling and heating effects, and air-quality benefits.

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Carbon Streaming Enters Canadian Deal to Make 100M Carbon Credits

Carbon Streaming partnered with Will Solutions for a carbon credits deal to ramp up its Sustainable Community Projects in Quebec and Ontario, Canada.

Carbon Streaming is an ESG principled firm that offers investors exposure to carbon credits, a key tool to achieving carbon neutral and net zero climate goals.

Will Solutions is an established operator of carbon projects.

Carbon Streaming Founder and CEO Justin Cochrane remarked on the agreement:

“We are delighted to announce our first Canadian carbon stream with Will Solutions… The Sustainable Community Projects are an excellent addition to our portfolio and highlight what Canadians can do to reduce emissions…”

The Projects enroll and reward members for greenhouse gas emission reductions through waste diversion, conversion, and energy efficiency initiatives. There’s also a plan to include reductions in the transport sector.

The Carbon Credit Streaming Deal

Carbon Streaming investment in Will Solutions gives the latter more funding to work with thousands more Canadian businesses. It will also allow the operator to enhance its capacity to securely and efficiently process billions of transactions.

The projects will reduce over 100 million tons of CO2 equivalent emissions. This reduction will produce also 100 million Verified Carbon Units (VCUs or carbon credits) over the next 10 years. Verra will verify and register the credits.

Over the term of the agreement, Carbon Streaming will receive 50% of the VCUs from the Projects which is up to 44.1 million carbon credits. The company will also have the option to renew the partnership for another 10 years.

Carbon Streaming is also to make an upfront deposit of up to US$20 million. The first installment of US$4 million was paid on closing. The additional payments (US$16 million) will be paid during projects’ implementation and enrollment milestones.

Will Solutions can expect to deliver about 425,000 to 525,000 VCUs in the latter half of 2023. The project operator can then scale it up to around 10 million carbon credits in 2030.

Will Solutions operates one of the biggest grouped projects in Canada. The operator has also been successful in generating carbon credits since 2010.

Buyers of those VCUs vary, including big corporations in Canada, major financial firms, pension funds, public agencies, industrials and food companies.

Methane Avoidance

The carbon credit pricing sold by Will Solutions ranged from 2x to 5x the GEO spot price for the last 3 months. And Carbon Streaming expects that carbon credits through the deal will continue to attract premium pricing versus the GEO price.

That’s due to the good location of the Projects. Also, the big chunk of emission reductions would be from their methane avoidance, which is about 70%.

Methane is the 2nd most abundant GHG, with more than 80x the global warming potential of CO2. Hence, reducing methane will also help limit near-term temperature rise.

The proceeds from the carbon credit deal will be for scaling up the Projects by adding to Will Solutions’ sales and marketing team. In turn, this will support new member enrollment and improve automation, monitoring and reporting.

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DeepMarkit Engages Quantstamp for Security Assessment Services

DeepMarkit focuses on transitioning the global carbon offset market to the more accessible digital economy by minting credits into non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

The company’s wholly owned subsidiary, First Carbon Corp. (FCC), partnered with Quantstamp to provide security assessment services related to FCC’s platform over a 90-day period.

The key goal of the partnership is to enhance the platform’s codebase security.

To date, Quantstamp has protected over $200 billion in digital asset risk from hackers. It offers services including securing Layer 1 blockchains, securing smart contract powered NFT and DeFi applications, and developing financial primitives for Layer 1 blockchain ecosystems.

FCC’s obligations under the Agreement are to be responsible for providing access to personnel, content, resources, systems and information as may be needed by Quantstamp.

DeepMarkit’s engagement with Quantstamp aligns with its goal of ensuring the security of the for users and stakeholders.

It is also to enhance the global carbon offset credit and renewable energy certificate markets.

Read the Full News Release HERE

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Chanel Invests in Carbon Credit Offsets Removing 6.9 Million Mt CO2

Chanel has invested $25 million in carbon credit offsets that reduce or remove 6.9 million metric ton of emissions per year, according to its climate report.

The French luxury brand published its Mission 1.5 report detailing its climate action plan to 2030.

Chanel committed to invest in nature-based solutions to remove and avoid emissions at least equal to its full footprint. It’s part of the major fashion house climate strategies to reduce its carbon emissions.

Chanel’s Carbon Emissions

Chanel aims to deliver its ambition for a low carbon future through two commitments: reduce and accelerate.

Commitment 1: Reduce through energy efficiency

Reduce means cutting Chanel’s scope 1 and 2 emissions by 50% by 2030 and its value chain emissions (Scope 3) by 40% by 2030. Part of this climate pledge is also the goal to shift to 100% renewable electricity across its operations by 2025.

As of 2021, Chanel recorded a total emissions of 870,800 tCO2e, with the following breakdown:

Scope 1: 19,600 
Scope 2: 22,200 
Scope 3: 829,000

The image below shows the components of the firm’s total carbon footprint.

Reducing its carbon emissions involves many strategies. A major part of that is using cutting-edge architecture that promotes low carbon footprint buildings.

And so Chanel strives to follow the most exacting certification standards on energy efficiency for its boutiques.

These include LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), and BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) and HQE (Haute Qualité Environnementale).

As for its Scope 3 emissions reduction efforts, the company is setting high standards for its raw materials. They’re sourced from suppliers or growers that use a more regenerative and low carbon approach to agriculture.

Chanel is also opting for lightweight packaging products that have a lower carbon footprint. It also has been using reusable packaging for some of its foundation products.

Employee travel (7% of total emissions) is also cut down by using video conference meetings.

Commitment 2: Accelerate with carbon credit offsets

As per Chanel’s Mission 1.5 report:

“Reducing the impact of our business on climate change is a part of our journey to achieve Mission 1.5°, but we also recognise the role we can play in accelerating the transition to a low-carbon future beyond our own operations and value chain.”

Accelerate involves helping to speed up the transition to a lower carbon and more resilient planet. This is where Chanel seeks to invest in nature-based solutions to avoid and remove CO2 equal to its global emissions.

The fashion company also supports initiatives that protect and restore the environment. At the same, building resilience in communities to adapt to climate change.

In the past year, Chanel began investing in two separate funds which help advance its commitment to accelerate and adapt. These are:

Livelihoods Carbon Fund (LCF3): investing in LCF3 aims to source high-quality certified carbon credit offsets through carbon projects that restore natural ecosystems.

Other nature-based projects include agroforestry and regenerative agriculture. The LCF3 fund aims to create positive social, economic, and environmental impact for the communities it partners with.

Landscape Resilience Fund (LRF): Chanel is the anchor investor and sits on the board of LRF. It’s an independent foundation co-developed by climate solution company South Pole and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

The fund helps enable the most vulnerable people in rural landscapes to adapt to climate change by financing small businesses and projects. They promote climate resilient agriculture, forestry and sustainable development.

Below is the consolidated overview of the impacts of the carbon projects that Chanel invested in 2021. The results are based on the total contribution from investors.

As shown in the image above, Chanel’s investments in carbon credit offset projects remove or reduce about 6.9 million metric tons of CO2e a year.

The projects support the livelihoods of communities in five landscape areas in Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America.

Internally, Chanel is also imposing an internal carbon price of $60 per ton of CO2. The fashion house is using this carbon pricing system to assess all its major investments. It acts as an incentive to develop projects that will help reduce the company’s carbon footprint.

Between 2019 and 2024, Chanel is investing over $55m in a collection of carbon projects that protect and preserve forests, mangroves, and peatlands.

These projects more than offset the carbon emissions of the firm’s operations and value chain, meeting its goal to be carbon neutral from 2019 onwards.

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DeepMarkit to Attend the 4th Annual NFT NYC Event, June 20-23

DeepMarkit, focusing on minting credits into non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to democratize access to the voluntary carbon offset market, will be attending the 4th Annual “NFT NYC” Industry Event from June 20-23rd, 2022 in New York City.

The Event is held each year for individuals and entities to work together and boost innovation in the NFT space. It will explore NFT-related art, brands, collectibles, data, fashion, films, investments, music, real estate, and more.

The 4th Annual Event will be held in person with over 1,500 expert speakers across 7 different venues in NYC.

Some of the speakers would be Aaron Albano of MINGs Music Enterprises LLC, Adam Jeffcoat of Studio NX, Aiden Smith of Genzio, Garrett Brill of G-Link and Alexis King Wilson of Spotify.

DeepMarkit’s participation will help the firm to meet potential new counterparties, learn from them, and challenge itself as an NFT community member to help slash carbon emissions.

Read the full News Release HERE

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