Simon Mulcahy, Alicia Robbins (second from left), Jonathan Goldberg, Taylor Wright and Lydia Sheldrake on our Weyerhaeuser-hosted panel, 'Forest Carbon Markets: Building a Trusted Marketplace.'
Last month, several members of the Weyerhaeuser team attended Climate Week NYC, a gathering of domestic and international leaders from across the public and private sectors to discuss action on climate change. We were excited for the opportunity to participate in several events throughout the week that underscored the critical role nature-based solutions play in the fight against climate change. But the highlight for us was our Weyerhaeuser-hosted panel event, which featured our own Alicia Robbins, vice president of Portfolio Analytics and Business Development, alongside leaders from Carbon Direct, the Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative (VCMI), JPMorgan Chase & Co., and TIME CO2 for a conversation about how to build a trusted marketplace for forest carbon credits.
As Russell Hagen, senior vice president and chief development officer, said at the beginning of the panel, “We need everyone: We need policymakers, we need NGOs, academia, businesses, private enterprise and more to come to the table if we're going to find solutions to climate change.”
FOREST CARBON & CLIMATE CHANGE
Being a part of Climate Week was important for us — not just as a company, but for the future of our planet. With each passing year, it’s becoming clearer that combating climate change requires engagement and participation from everyone. And to truly address a challenge of this magnitude, we need all ideas — and all people — at the table. We cannot get to net zero unless we leverage every possible tool that helps reduce CO2 in the atmosphere. We must both pursue new technologies and take full advantage of existing solutions to make an impact right now.
Paul Hossain (at right), vice president of Natural Resources & Climate Solutions, speaking at Eversheds Sutherland’s Inaugural US Green Summit about how forestry-based solutions are the best and most scalable tool we have to achieve the levels of decarbonization needed to mitigate climate change on a global scale.
That was the driving force behind our presence at Climate Week. As companies increasingly search for technologies and practices that reduce their carbon footprint, they need trusted systems in place to help them navigate the landscape. They also need clear visibility into the science and methodologies behind available options for offsetting hard-to-abate emissions. And above all, they need to have confidence they are investing in high-quality solutions that deliver real, measurable climate benefits.
We believe that, when done right, carbon credits from working forests can deliver on all these imperatives. And as the largest private owner of timberlands in North America, we know we can help set a new standard for quality and build more trust in forest carbon markets that can deliver real and necessary results, right now, at scale.
At Weyerhaeuser, we know forests aren’t the only solution to fight climate change, but we also know we can’t be successful without forests. With the approval of our first forest carbon project last month, we have hit an important milestone in providing a proof of concept for how to create high-integrity, scientifically robust credits that reflect real changes in how we manage our forest.
Ara Erickson, vice president of corporate sustainability, discussed Weyerhaeuser’s participation in the development of forest sector guidance on a panel, 'Nature Action: Lessons from WBCSD’s Roadmaps to Nature Positive and TNFD Pilot.'
THE MARKETPLACE FOR CARBON CREDITS
One of the main challenges with forest carbon credits is the lack of clear alignment and visibility in the existing market infrastructure. Not all carbon credits are created equal, and without more transparency to demonstrate the quality of credits, companies are struggling to assess the value and impact of what they are purchasing. That was the focus of our panel discussion at Climate Week NYC: What does the carbon market need in order to grow and help companies demonstrate real action?
As panelist Lydia Sheldrake, director of policy and partnerships at VCMI said, “We need these integrity frameworks… We've done them, we've made them, and now it's time to bring them to life and see them operate and see how that can embed integrity and trust in the market.”
By establishing rigor and defining impact, carbon credits can be a win-win solution for both the climate and businesses. We also discussed how we can help incentivize companies to be active and involved in both reducing or avoiding their emissions.
“The key for us moving forward is to take the analytical work that's been done… and get high-quality projects and high-quality buyers to really scale the market,” said Jonathan Goldberg, CEO and founder of Carbon Direct. “We're excited to see some traction in that.”
Alicia (at right) taking part in the Women in Carbon panel, 'Disproportionate Impacts: How Women are Poised to Have an Outsized Effect on Climate Action.' Photo Credit: Women in Carbon
THE ROAD AHEAD
The next six to 12 months will be pivotal for the carbon market and clarifying the role of nature-based climate solutions. Recently released benchmarks and criteria have signaled that there is more to come as the industry evolves how forest carbon credits come to market and are evaluated. Alongside our panelists, we think there is good reason to be hopeful that upcoming framework and industry efforts to solidify credibility will continue to support growth and maturity in the voluntary market.
Learn more about Weyerhaeuser’s Natural Climate Solutions business.