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2.7 Carbon Statements and Reporting


Carbon Claims

It is vital to the reputation of the Code that any claims made about carbon are true and accurate and that carbon from a given project is not used, or accounted for, more than once.  As a general principle, carbon can only be used once the trees have grown, carbon is sequestered and verified.  Companies using verified Woodland Carbon Units should demonstrate their use in an annual report (environmental, GHG or financial) as well as in other promotional claims.  Landowners, project developers and carbon buyers should make every effort to ensure the appropriateness and accuracy of any claims.

The UK Woodland Carbon Registry, a carbon unit registry for the Woodland Carbon Code, hosted by Markit.  This contains units in two forms

  • Pending Issuance Units of a given ‘vintage’/time-period (essentially a promise to deliver carbon units in a given time-frame) and
  • verified Woodland Carbon Units of a particular vintage/time-period (verified carbon sequestration which can be used, or reported). 

All units are linked to the project they belong to, and publicly visible with their current status and owner.  When units are retired from the registry for use, this will be publicly visible on a 'retirement' page.  This will provide clarity and transparency of carbon owners and claims that are made.


Statements ‘up-front’ (ie prior to sequestration and verification)

Anyone involved in a project can make a statement about the carbon benefits of their project, at any time provided they state clearly the timescale over which the net carbon sequestration will take place, being clear what is already sequestered, and what will be sequestered in future.

Example statement(s) might be:

  • Company A has invested £[x] in a woodland project of [y] ha in [z] location.  The woodland was planted in year [a] and to date (current date/year) our contribution to the project has sequestered [b] tCO2e.  However, over the next [c] years our contribution to the project would be expected to result in an additional sequestration of [d] tCO2e.
  • Landowner B created a woodland carbon project of [y] ha in [z] location.  The woodland was planted in year [a] and to date (2013) has created 50 Woodland Carbon Units.  Over the next [c] years the project is predicted to sequester another [d] tCO2e.

No-one involved in the project can state anything which suggests that carbon units exist until they are verified – so whilst carbon units are 'pending issuance' (ie PIU status) no claims of use, compensating for/balancing emissions or carbon neutrality can be made by the carbon owner at that time.

Retiring and using/reporting verified Woodland Carbon Units

There is only one ‘owner’ of each carbon unit (tonne of carbon dioxide) at any one time.  Carbon can be traded but ultimately there can only be one 'user' of the carbon unit.  The UK Woodland Carbon Registry will indicate the current owner of each carbon unit.  Pending Issuance Units cannot be used, but once the carbon is actually sequestered, verified and transferred to Woodland Carbon Units, the process for using them is as follows:


Example GHG emissions report - in brief

An organisation's GHG emissions report following UK government guidance should show a company’s gross emissions for a given year and then list any compensatory activities.  These could be Kyoto compliant or voluntary offsets as well as Woodland Carbon Units or electricity generation exported. 

Example Company Net GHG Emissions Report (Source: Environmental Reporting Guidelines Annex H:  Example Reporting Format)  

Reporting Period 2015-2016 2014-2015
Scopes of Emissions Reported on Scope 1, 2 and 3 Scope 1, 2 and 3
Gross Emissions 89,510 91,390
Exported Renewable Energy Generation (18) (15)
Offsets (5,000) 0
Woodland Carbon Units (100)  
Net Emissions 84,392 91,375


Qualifying text for Woodland Carbon Units should include:

  • The number of Woodland Carbon Units and their vintage
  • The Name and ID number of the project that created them
  • A link to the UK Woodland Carbon Registry project page
  • A link to the UK Woodland Carbon Registry retirement page, demonstrating the retirement of these units
  • The name of the validator/verifier


Last updated: 2nd August 2017