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The UK is the first major economy to achieve it’s 50% reduction target for Greenhouse Gas Emissions (between 1990 and 2022). However, we’ve still got a lot of work to do to reach our 2023 target of a 68% reduction.

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.

One of the biggest challenges for businesses in terms of completing their offsetting is finding a credible carbon offsetting scheme.

Mel is joined by Luke Baldwin, Co-founder and CEO of Nature Broking, to discuss credible nature-based solutions for carbon offsetting.

You’ll learn

  • Who are Nature Broking?
  • What is Natural Capital?
  • How can we restore nature at scale?
  • Financing transition regenerative agriculture through the sale of natural capital
  • How have Nature Broking worked with clients to complete their carbon offsetting?
  • How can you demonstrate a credible carbon offsetting scheme?
  • What projects are Nature Broking currently working on?

Resources

In this episode, we talk about:

[00:30] Join the isologyhub – To get access to a suite of ISO related tools, training and templates. Simply head on over to isologyhub.com to either sign-up or book a demo.

[02:05] Episode summary: Today Mel is joined by guest Luke Baldwin, Co-founder and CEO of Nature Broking, to discuss credible nature based solutions for carbon offsetting and explore some of the wonderful projects Nature Broking have been involved with.

[04:10] What is natural capital?  – Natural capital is the idea of creating value from nature. What natural capital does is, it encompasses all the things that we get from nature that we rely on. That could be the shelter in your house all the way through to carbon offsets.

[04:55] Who are Nature Broking? – Nature Broking’s story starts off on a somber note. Sadly, Luke lost one of his friends in a mountaineering accident, and in his memory, Luke and another friend rewilded one acre of Scottish Borders Woodlands. This is something they make a point to visit every year, to pay tribute and to keep their living, breathing monument of his friends memory alive and well.

The experience was an eye opening one. For as lovely as the process was, it was incredibly expensive, and not very easy to do. Luke then realised that philanthropy alone wasn’t going to be able to cover the costs of what we required to restore nature.

Looking into the matter further he found that 50% of the world’s GDP is moderately or highly dependent on nature and that the UK, whilst green and beautiful, sits in the bottom 10%.

And so, an idea was sparked. Together his friend and Co-founder Andy started down the nature restoration path and created Nature Broking.

[06:20] What is Nature Broking’s mission?: Nature Broking have 2 major missions:

#1: Help restore nature at scale

#2: Help finance a transition to regenerative agriculture

[06:34] How can we restore nature at scale?  – The UK Government has set targets of halting nature decline by 2030, with a view to increase nature by 2045.

The Green Finance Institute has calculated that there is a funding gap of about 56 billion in order for us to achieve our legally binding environmental targets. That’s a hefty sum to put on public money and philanthropy, which is where private markets and business can make a big impact.

Frameworks like PAS 2060 (ISO 14068) help businesses invest in nature, and with the creation of carbon credits, carbon has been commodified to make it more accessible for businesses to contribute to carbon offsetting.

[08:20] How can we help finance transition regenerative agriculture through the sale of natural capital? – Regenerative agriculture is about restoring the soils, restoring nature back to its original level.

Modern farming techniques, while fruitful, use tools such as fertilisers and mechanised farming that have damaged the soils biome. That’s going to take time and a concerted effort to fix.

Now obviously, we can’t just stop farming, we need food, so not all land can go back to nature. Currently, 70% of the UK is farmed, so the agricultural sector will play a big part in being more regenerative.

However, the current incentives aren’t great, so there’s a lot of work that needs to be done in terms of financing the mechanisms behind it, i.e. funding and subsidies ect. One way we could do this is by ulitilising the carbon markets, as regenerative agriculture can lead to significant carbon sequestration.

[12:20] How do Nature Broking work with clients? – They make sure to work within the bounds of the business itself, as every business is different..

They don’t do off the shelf solutions, preferring to work closely with their clients and help them to really spend time in nature at the place where their carbon credits are being implemented. It’s ultimately about education on the different solutions available, including asking important questions like:

  • What impact do you want to have?
  • What are the challenges with each solution?
  • What do you need to watch out for?

Each solution is tailored to your business. So, if you’d prefer to work in woodland restoration over regenerative agriculture, then Nature Broking would be happy to work with you to achieve that.

Carbon credits include their own set of challenges, one of the main ones being that science changes, so the solutions offered through carbon credits will also change. It may be a case of purchasing credits that tackle different solutions over a large area rather than pooling them all into planting trees for example. Nature Broking are here to help advise and facilitate this.

[15:30] Join the isologyhub – Don’t miss out on a suite of over 200+ ISO tools, templates and training, sign-up to become a member of the isologyhub

[17:45] How can Nature Broking demonstrate credible carbon offsetting? – Nature Broking are at their heart transparent with how they operate. By taking clients to see the actual physical results of their carbon credits, they can educate and help others form a genuine connection to nature. They want clients to truly understand the full impact of their efforts.

 The second element is due diligence, which can be displayed by utilising one of the many carbon related frameworks now available, such as B Corp and Sylvera. Though these don’t always work within a UK setting, so Nature Broking are working towards creating frameworks that do fit within the overall market view.

Lastly, they ensure that the standard they’re using is of high integrity, using frameworks such as the Integrity Council for the voluntary market, which analyses different standards. The 2nd is understanding the quality of the project developer, so looking at their technical expertise, looking at their financial ratings, and then evaluating the individual project itself in terms of potential risks.

[21:50] What are some of the projects that Nature Broking are currently working on? – A broad view of what’s available in terms of schemes include:

They are both defined and funded by DEFRA. These are some of the first carbon codes to move into the UK, however there is a lack of available carbon credits, which should change in future.

Other’s include:

  • Wilder Carbon – A carbon code focused on rewilding, run by The Wildlife Trust.
  • Carbon Code of Conduct – A regenerative agriculture code, so it focuses on analysing the full sequestration and full emissions potential of a whole landholding.

[25:00] Carbon Credits in practice – There’s a current project called Bank Farm in Kent, which is being used as a test site for regenerative agriculture. This includes the likes of agroforestry, which is where you integrate trees into fields which provide shade for animals and store carbon. So, you’re not removing those fields from production, simply adapting them to be more sustainable.

They’re also practicing mob grazing, which is all about using herbivores to maxmise the amount of carbon stored in the soil. You can do this by moving, say cows for example, around a field to graze quickly on small areas before moving them on.

[27:05] Mel’s conclusion – There’s a huge opportunity in the management of agriculture that can be utilised within carbon credit schemes. In addition to helping our economy by creating new jobs within this new approach to tackling emissions and storing carbon. Hopefully we’ll see larger corporations investing in these sorts of schemes both here in the UK and abroad.

If You’d like to learn more about Nature Broking and their solutions, check out their website.

If you’d like to book a demo for the isologyhub, simply contact us and we’d be happy to give you a tour.

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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.

You’ll learn

  • Who are Treeconomy?
  • What is the difference between services offered for landowners and Offset buyers?
  • Can you quantify the value of nature?
  • How can people be sure that they don’t fall prey to Greenwashing?
  • How can someone go about buying and monitoring offsetting credits?
  • Are Treeconomy’s carbon offsetting schemes verified?

Resources

In this episode, we talk about:

[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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