The Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Carbon Credit Program Pays “Dividends”
February 26, 2014 /3BL Media/ - The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), the country’s largest private land trust, is using the trees to save the forest-- and that creates opportunities for organizations looking to reduce their carbon footprints.
When NCC acquired the massive Darkwoods forest property in southeastern BC in 2008, it faced a challenge. Effective conservation demands more than securing a property; NCC had to find ways to pay for the long-term care of Darkwoods. Harnessing the power of the voluntary carbon market offered an innovative solution.
“We believed in the potential of carbon offsets to finance the long-term stewardship of this large conservation project,” said Robert Wilson, NCC’s Director of Carbon Finance.
Today the conservation organization is offering high quality Darkwoods carbon credits for sale; an investment that will benefit both buyers and nature.
The spectacular Darkwoods property protects some of Canada’s most important natural capital. Nestled in the South Selkirk Mountains, Darkwoods harbours lakes, rivers and forests. It is home to at least 19 species at risk, including an endangered herd of mountain caribou and an isolated population of grizzly bear. It is the largest single, private conservation project ever undertaken in Canada.
Already, proceeds from the sale of more than 700,000 Darkwoods carbon credits (known as VCUs) have helped to pay for the long-term care of the 55 square kilometer conservation area.
‘BEYOND CARBON BENEFITS’
Darkwoods VCUs are unique. Not only do these credits assist businesses to responsibly achieve their carbon neutrality goals they also contribute to the protection of a vital natural area. Wilson says buyers of Darkwoods carbon are attracted by the conservation merits of the landscape in addition to the reputation of NCC, a highly-respected conservation leader.
“In this emerging market, organizations want to do business with a reliable partner with a proven track record of delivering results, said Wilson. “They want to know they can trust us and they appreciate the ‘beyond carbon’ benefits that a partnership with NCC can achieve,” he added.
Over its 52-year history NCC has protected more than 1 million hectares of land across Canada. It is widely known for its innovative and collaborative approach to conservation. NCC works with individuals, governments and Canada’s business community, including Telus, TD Bank Financial Group, Vale Canada and Shell Canada.
NCC spent more than three years developing its carbon credit program. Darkwoods carbon assets have been validated and verified by the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). This leading international forestry standard ensures the credits create “measurable benefits for the planet.”
Darkwoods produces the highest-quality conservation-based credits which can ultimately enhance an organization’s climate leadership and CSR reputation.
Wilson says NCC’s Carbon Finance team is now pursuing a new initiative to strengthen its program. The Darkwoods Project is undergoing certification under the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) standard. This additional accreditation focuses on biodiversity values and the impact of the project on the local community.
“The project was developed through extensive stakeholder engagement,” said Wilson. “From maintaining clean water sources, to conserving habitat and providing employment and recreational opportunities, there are many community benefits that flow from the Darkwoods.”
NCC believes there is strong potential for funding future conservation projects through the sale of carbon credits. The recent development of regional carbon markets, such as Quebec and California, are expected to generate significant demand for offsets. Moves to introduce regulated carbon markets in jurisdictions in North America and elsewhere are also encouraging businesses to further reduce carbon emissions and take steps to offset excess emissions.
NCC is gearing up to sell more of its carbon inventory to meet this demand. A recent agreement with Daniels Carbon will see the Ontario-based management firm represent the Darkwoods Carbon project to prospective buyers.
“We are thrilled to be working with NCC in connection with the Darkwoods Forest Carbon project and to further develop carbon as a conservation finance tool,” said Trevor Ducharme, Managing Director of Daniels Carbon.
Darkwoods is expected to generate in excess of 300,000 carbon credits annually for the next 20 years. This represents a significant and stable long-term source of high-quality carbon credits for the voluntary carbon market, as well as supporting an important investment in Canada’s natural landscape and heritage.
For more information:
Robert P. Wilson, Director, Carbon Finance
The Nature Conservancy of Canada
Telephone: (416) 932-3202, ext. 2278 Fax: (416) 932-3208
For information on Darkwoods: