- Sequestration in Context
- Scope of the Woodland Carbon Code
- Where does the Woodland Carbon Code fit in?
- Other carbon standards
Woodland carbon projects contribute to just one of a hierarchy of actions that can help to combat the effects of climate change. However, before considering carbon sequestration projects individuals, businesses and other organisations need to
- Measure: Understand their carbon footprint
- Avoid: Take steps to prevent avoidable emissions
- Reduce: Reduce remaining emissions where possible
Further information on Measuring, Avoiding and Reducing emissions is available from the Department for Energy and Climate Change.
The Code sets out design and management requirements for voluntary UK based projects that aim to sequester carbon through woodland creation.
It does account for
- carbon sequestration and emissions for new woodland creation, within the woodland boundary
- woodland created by planting and natural regeneration (where some intervention is necessary to establish woodland)
- carbon sequestration and emissions under various management regimes from frequent clearfelling to minimum intervention woodland.
- emissions outside the woodland boundary as a result of the project going ahead
It does not account for
- additional carbon sequestration due to changes to the management of existing woodland
- carbon stored in forest products
- the carbon saved when substituting wood products or fuels for other products or fuels with a larger carbon footprint.
The Woodland Carbon Code is a voluntary standard for woodland creation projects in the UK. Carbon sequestration resulting from certified projects will contribute directly to the UK’s national targets for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.
All organisations are encouraged to voluntarily measure and report their net greenhouse gas emissions, including emissions reductions achieved through investment in greenhouse gas reduction projects outside of their operations or supply chain. The government recommends that organisations should follow their Guidance on How to Measure and Report your Greenhouse Gas Emissions. A supplement to the Government guidance (Guidance on Reporting Greenhouse Gas Removals and Emissions from Domestic Woodland Creation) recognises the carbon benefits of woodland creation and allows organisations that invest in or are directly associated with projects certified to the Code, to report those carbon savings as part of their net greenhouse gas emissions.
The Government has announced that it will introduce a regulation in April 2013 to require reporting of greenhouse gas emissions by quoted companies. Such companies can choose to demonstrate their actions to compensate for these emissions in line with Government guidance. Such reporting may become a requirement for all large companies in 2016, following a review of evidence from the first two years of reporting by quoted companies.
The Code does not provide a route to conformance with regulatory carbon ‘offsetting’ schemes (eg. the Carbon Reduction Scheme or EU Emissions Trading Scheme); or the generation of internationally tradable carbon credits linked to either the compliance or voluntary markets.
Here are some of the voluntary carbon standards available globally. The UK Woodland Carbon Code is aligned with the core requirements of these international standards with the exception that 'Assigned Amount Units' cannot be retired because this is not currently permitted in the UK (Assigned amounts are the Kyoto Protocol emissions targets over the period 2008-2012). The Code does not generate internationally tradable offsets.
The Verified Carbon Standard The Verified Carbon Standard's 'Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Uses' programme covers afforestation, reforestation and revegetation, agricultural land management, Improved Forest Management and Reducing Emission from Deforestation and forest Degradation. Projects that meet the standard will produce credits called Voluntary Carbon Units which can be traded on the Verified Carbon Standard registries. Three international companies host registries which issue, hold, retire and transfer Verified Carbon Standard credits.
CarbonFix Standard The CarbonFix Standard applies to Afforestation and Reforestation. Certification requires compliance with their own methodologies, which are closely aligned to those established in international Clean Development Mechanism standards. The CarbonFix Standard allows woodlands to have combined certification with other certification schemes such as the Climate, Community and Biodiveristy Standards. The CarbonFix Standard has its own registry in which credits are logged and transacted, and also uses a third party registry.
The Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standards The Standards focus on land-based climate change mitigation projects, and their social and environmental impacts and co-benefits, but does not provide emission reduction credits. It sets standards for forest conservation, reforestation, agroforestry and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, which all must ensure they include environmental and social safeguards to avoid harm, and improve the livelihoods and biodiveristy of local communities. To gain credits, a forest carbon project must be linked with another carbon verification standard, such as Verified Carbon Standard or CarbonFix Standard for example.
Plan Vivo Plan Vivo is a standard that supports forest-based projects to accrue environmental, social and sustainable development benefits. Projects are designed by and worked on by rural communities, and the Plan Vivo standards emphasise ongoing stakeholder consultation and the use of native species. Afforestation and Reforestation, forest restoration, agro-forestry, and forest protection and management projects are all accepted under Plan Vivo. The Foundation certifies and issues offset credits in advance of sequestration to compliant projects in the form of 'Plan Vivo Certificates'. Companies and individuals are able to purchase Plan Vivo Certificates directly from the projects or through a number of retailers and brokers registered with Plan Vivo.