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What are Woodland Carbon Units?

The Woodland Carbon Code (WCC) is the standard for woodland creation projects in the UK which generate verifiable Woodland Carbon Units (WCUs). These are measurable amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) removed from the atmosphere by the growing trees. Backed by government, forest industry and carbon market experts, the Code is unique in providing woodland carbon right here in the UK. Buying carbon from these projects brings many benefits in addition to carbon sequestration.

A Woodland Carbon Unit (WCU) is a tonne of CO2 which has been sequestered in a WCC-certified woodland. It has been independently verified, is guaranteed to be there, and can be used by UK companies to report against emissions or use in claims of carbon neutrality as soon as it is purchased.

A Pending Issuance Unit (PIU) is effectively a ‘promise to deliver’ a Woodland Carbon Unit during a given period, based on predicted growth. It is not ‘guaranteed’, and cannot be used to report against emissions until verified. However, it allows companies to plan to compensate for future emissions.

Every 10 years, projects are checked and, if performing well, verified. At that point the PIUs are converted to WCUs.  PIUs are available now from a growing number of projects, and the first WCUs will be available in 2016.

The average global price of woodland carbon in January 2014 was £6/tCO2, although there was wide variation around this figure, depending on the nature of the project.  See ‘State of the Forest Carbon Market’ reports