A Call for Greater Trust and Transparency in the Carbon Marketplace

November 28, 2023 in Sustainability Stories - #climatechange

By Alicia Robbins
VP, Portfolio Analytics & Business Development

Leaders from around the world will soon gather in Dubai for COP28 to continue mobilizing the global response to climate change. Among the key topics will be the role and effectiveness of carbon markets as one solution to this challenge.

The timing for this conversation is critical. Not all carbon credits are created equal, and recent stories have shown how flawed forest carbon projects can undermine the credibility of the entire voluntary carbon market (VCM). Unfortunately, a few bad actors have muddled the general understanding of how forest carbon markets can and should operate, calling into question their broader role in addressing climate change.

We must get this right. We know that many businesses are taking steps to reduce their emissions, but there are certain industries where it is not currently feasible to get all the way to zero. Tools like the VCM can fill important gaps on both sides of the market to incentivize actions – and real changes in behavior – that will help companies accelerate their clean-energy transitions and also protect and restore the environment.

We know that forest carbon is not a perfect solution. But forests play a vast and essential role in reducing and removing carbon from the atmosphere and must be part of a comprehensive approach to mitigating climate change. Even as we acknowledge the importance of reducing emissions first, the fact remains that we cannot solve the climate crisis without trees. And a trusted marketplace for carbon offers a crucial opportunity to leverage the power of forests – right now, and at a scale to make a meaningful difference for the climate – to drive positive changes in behavior and help companies around the world achieve net-zero ambitions.

That is why in advance of COP28 Weyerhaeuser is joining the call for greater integrity, trust and transparency in the VCM and sharing the core principles that guide our approach to carbon credits. These principles are the foundation of how we developed our first forest carbon project, approved earlier this year, and outline how we intend to continue building credibility by bringing high-quality projects to the marketplace.

Principle 1: Represent real, measurable change. Our carbon credits are only generated from changes made to remove and store additional carbon above conservative baselines that accurately reflect normal, business-as-usual operations.

Principle 2: Ensure durable climate benefits. We develop our projects to store carbon removed from the atmosphere through the length of the project commitment, and often well beyond. We take measures to ensure that carbon removal from one geography doesn’t drive greater emissions elsewhere.

Principle 3: Be transparent. Our projects follow clear scientific methodologies that are available for public review, and our measurements are validated and verified by an independent third party.

These principles are more than best practices. They provide guardrails and guideposts for how we make decisions at every stage in developing a forest carbon project. Our first forest carbon project, covering approximately 50,000 acres in Maine, provided a proof of concept for these principles. We were very deliberate in how we designed and worked with partners to ensure the project met both our own standards of integrity, as well as other criteria, and worked with third-party auditors to validate that it met a scientific methodology and registry standards.

We have two more forest carbon projects coming soon, both being developed with the same rigor, because we believe in the VCM as a mechanism for influencing positive change – and in forests as a natural climate solution.

We look forward to moving beyond the current cycle of negativity, doubt and cynicism toward the VCM, building on what we’ve started and working with like-minded partners to establish a more trusted, transparent and ethical carbon market. That’s how we are doing carbon differently at Weyerhaeuser, and we invite you to join us on the journey. We’ll see you at COP28 UAE.