Emissions caused by human activities have already raised the average temperature of the earth by approximately 1°C. Scientists tell us that if warming reaches 1.5°C we can expect major disruption to human and natural systems and irreversible damage to our world, particularly to ecosystems. We are already witnessing increasing volatility in weather and sea-level rise. All pathways to keeping global warming below 1.5°C require both reducing our emissions to net-zero AND actively removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. While there are many carbon avoidance projects, carbon removal is under-represented in the carbon markets and currently more difficult to achieve. The sooner carbon removal efforts are scaled up, the less likely it is that we will overshoot the 1.5°C, so it is of critical importance. See here for an excellent summary
One of our partners, Puro.earth, is entirely dedicated to expand and bring finance to removals projects, an effort we whole heartedly applaud and support. Our portfolio will always include both types of projects and we will work towards a ratio of removal and avoidance credits that matches current scientific advice on the most efficient pathways to avoiding global warming.
Project Drawdown is an excellent resource that pulls together scientific data to assess the types of technology, or solutions, that can reduce the greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. For each solution, Project Drawdown estimates the potential impact on reducing or removing carbon. We use this data to score projects higher if they are using a technology which has a larger impact potential.
Some technologies are well proven and have many established projects producing credits. Other technologies have only recently become available on the voluntary carbon markets. We score these nascent technologies higher as we want to encourage the breadth of activities that address climate change.
Biodiversity & Community
We are passionate about the importance of biodiversity for our collective future. We ensure that a significant proportion of our portfolio comprises projects that are able to avoid or remove carbon emissions while also protecting fragile ecosystems. Community engagement is often deeply intertwined and essential for the protection of eco-systems and sustainability of biodiversity-focused projects. When carefully designed, land management projects can improve livelihoods, create employment, protect traditional cultures and endangered species, help secure tenure to lands and resources, increase the resiliency of ecosystems and help to combat climate change. In our scoring we prioritise projects that operate in biodiversity hotspots and have been endorsed by a major wildlife protection programme or explicitly support biodiversity SDGs.
We believe it is important to use our platform to prioritise support for projects that empower women, both as beneficiaries and in employment as project managers and staff. We use the SDG for gender and a review of the annual reports and staffing structure of projects to rate each of them.
The cost of credits can vary significantly. We take this into account to ensure that when we choose more expensive credits for the portfolio, they are truly worth the money and add value to the portfolio as a whole. Carbon removal credits are currently much more expensive than avoidance but are of vital importance, and we will always include them in our portfolio.