When it comes to protecting the planet, companies are showing that they care about more than just the bottom line.
Companies purchase forest carbon offsets to reduce their “footprint,” recognizing that to care for nature is to ensure the well-being of humanity. And the market for forest carbon offsets is growing: the cumulative volumes of forestry offsets purchased in the last 10 years are about equal to the amount bought in 2008 alone.
Forest Carbon Offsets
At the most basic level, a forest carbon offset represents a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. One carbon offset represents one less metric ton of greenhouse gases that would have been released into the atmosphere and a forest carbon offset is a reduction of carbon dioxide released from deforestation or a removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by growing more trees.
CI and our partners are working to implement effective forest carbon offset programs that provide multiple-benefits: they address climate change, while also delivering biodiversity and local community benefits.
LEARN MORE: CI's portfolio of forest carbon offset projects.
The CI-convened Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA), a partnership of leading companies and non-governmental organizations, has created the leading multiple-benefit forest carbon global standards (the CCB Standards) for the voluntary market to guide the development of forest protection and reforestation initiatives that offset CO2 emissions while protecting biodiversity and supporting local communities.
To test the market for such projects, CI collaborated with the CCBA, EcoSecurities (a leading emissions reduction company), and ClimateBiz, the online business resource for climate management, in order to understand corporate attitudes about forest carbon offsets.
The survey collected input from global, multinational and regional companies. Just under half of the respondents operate in financial services, professional services, transport and aviation, energy/utilities and IT, which represent the most active sectors when it comes to voluntary investment in emission reduction projects.
Human Benefits Beyond The Trees
The survey shows that companies scored community and environmental benefits highest - 88% of the 141 survey respondents - among key motivators for companies to purchase forest carbon offsets.
In order to better understand the value that companies place on biodiversity protection and local community development, they were also asked about their willingness to pay a premium for credits from projects that are certified with the CCB Standards.
The survey results show that a large number of carbon buyers are - in principle - willing to pay significant premiums for verified carbon credits from projects that are also certified according to the CCB Standards.
A significant group (30 percent) is willing to pay a premium of at least US $4 or more per offset, and a large majority of respondents (77 percent) are willing to pay a premium of at least US $1 for offsets from projects that are also CCB certified.
Companies also indicated they are open to investing in ecosystem services other than emissions reductions - 73 percent said that quantified water services would be a desirable investment, opening the door for future developments with CI’s fresh water work. Nearly two-thirds expressed a desire to invest philanthropically by providing a donation that would enable forest carbon projects without receiving credits in return.
“This survey demonstrates the growing understanding among offset buyers of the potential of forestry activities to generate high-quality, cost-effective emissions reductions while at the same time providing additional advantages like conserving species and supporting local communities,” said Joanna Durbin, Director of the CCBA, in the announcement of the survey’s results.
I believe the survey findings underscore the important role that the Climate Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standards play [in] helping project developers and offset buyers to identify high quality carbon projects that improve the well-being of local communities and conserve habitats.”