To keep global warming to no more than 1.5°C, as called for in the Paris Agreement – emissions need to be reduced by 45% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050.
Many businesses are already making great strides to reduce their Impact, and while you can reduce, achieving true carbon neutrality will involve offsetting a certain amount of emissions.
Treeconomy are one of the few companies in the UK that offer credible carbon credits. Backed by principles of PAS 2060 (Carbon Neutrality), they seek to break the greenwashing cycle.
Mel is joined by Harry Grocott, CEO and Co-founder of Treeconomy, to discuss their credible carbon offsetting schemes and the innovative technology they use to help quantify the value of nature.
[00:30] Catch up our episodes covering the Sustainable Development Goals (Part 1 / Part 2), ISO 14064 and PAS 2060.
[01:00] Treeconomy are a company that offer credible carbon offsetting schemes – they are one of the few companies who are recognised by PAS 2060 (the Standard for Carbon Neutrality)
[02:05] Harry Grocott (CEO) introduces Treeconomy – A nature based, carbon removal and restoration company that operate in the UK and Internationally. They offer schemes that work towards afforestation, peatland restoration, rewilding ect. They are also keen to enable evidencing the impact, developing a software platform, remote sensing, and AI technology to do so.
[03:41] They are part of the Centre for climate change innovation which is an initiative of Imperial College London and the Royal Institution to catalyse innovation of all forms that address the causes and effects of climate change.
[04:22] What is the difference in services for Landowners and Offset Buyers? For landowners, Treeconomy can help you change land use from one to another. I.e changing land used for sheep grazing into something more carbon intensive. Treeconomy will ensure that any project started with them is a verified Carbon Scheme – in-line with the woodland carbon code. Once your project set up has been completed and verified, Treeconomy will assist in the sale of credible carbon credits.
[07:22] For offset buyers: Treeconomy offer a wide range of projects and varyingly priced carbon credits.
[07:45] Can we quantify the value of nature? Short answer right now is no, but there is a lot of nuance. Nature offers ecosystem services i.e. farms offer a calorific benefit, we can put a price on the value that offers. The same principle applies to resources such as wood or oil. Now we are gaining the ability to quantify CO2 removal, which is undeniably valuable to humanity.
[09:18] Other more recent services such as biodiversity projects are a bit harder to quantify – as they vary so much depending on the country. However, we are starting to assign value to these.
[12:15] How can people be sure that they don’t fall prey to Greenwashing? There are 2 main issues to consider: 1) Are your carbon credits credible? 2) what claims are top management making?
[12:44] Tackling claims made by leadership: ISO standards are starting to solve this issue. There are clear requirements and certifications that need to be in place to back those claims.
[13:00] Tackling carbon credits: The carbon offsetting market is heavily unregulated currently. Essentially it’s a lot of people trading in invisible gas. There are a number of carbon standards (Not quite at the same level as ISO Standards), such as the Woodland Carbon Code and the Peatland Code, and Internationally there are standards such as Verra VSC – unfortunately, a lot of these standards aren’t very robust and aren’t enforced.
[15:30] Many companies will often look to buy the cheapest offsets available, which are likely to be non-credible and will provide no evidence of actual offsetting occurring. But, there are a lot of new companies emerging that provide tangible evidence of offsetting (such as Treeconomy 😊)
[18:30] How can someone go about buying and monitoring offsetting credits? If you don’t want to use a company like Treeconomy, you would need to directly contact and purchase credits from a company who is developing a project.
[19:23] Treeconomy have created a platform called Sherwood – this displays all the projects they are helping to develop, which also tells you who the landowners are and the carbon inventory attached to each project. It can also help you evidence credits purchased, whether they are historic or future carbon removal.
[21:30] Not many companies offer comprehensive reporting and evidencing of carbon credits in practice. Treeconomy use a range of methods such as drones, satellites and AI programs to report back, and aim to make getting this information as easy as possible for credit purchasers.
[23:20] How did Harry get into this business? Starting off studying geography and Science – he later went onto work in finance for 3 years and qualified as a finance adviser. While working he realised that the amount of money available is rarely the issue, rather the use of it. He saw that there was a large gap in funding for climate change mitigation and adaptation – but not enough money was going towards it. He began wondering why more couldn’t be invested and so decided to study climate change management and finance (partly though Covid), where he met his co-founder. After getting some Government grant funding, investors and landowner partners, they have flourished over the last 3 years.
[27:00] Are Treeconomy’s offsetting schemes verified? Yes – they work under the UK woodland carbon code (and soon the peatland carbon code). They are also working to create a new protocol to tackle rewilding, including how the value and progress can be tracked. Internationally they will be working under Verra.
[29:05] Treeconomy can help to provide detailed evidence of carbon offsetting thanks to their reporting capabilities, this can be passed onto 3rd party auditors to verify in-line with any carbon Standard.
[30:00] You can find Treeconomy via their website, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram 😊
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