Government approves carbon accreditation scheme

In a UK first the British government has approved a carbon accreditation scheme set up to recognise business' efforts to capture and store carbon.

The creation of the Woodland Carbon Code (WCC) means corporations may now include details of any woodland creation schemes they operate in their emissions reports.

Developed by an industry stakeholder group led by the Forestry Commission, the code is not a means to take credit for carbon off-setting, patrons claim. Rather, it will provide credibility to UK woodland projects which are designed to reduce existing carbon in the atmosphere.

“The Woodland Carbon Code puts woodland creation on the map as part of the UK’s response to climate change,” said the Woodland Trust’s Dr Nick Atkinson, who was pivotal to the development of the WCC.

“Businesses looking to voluntarily support tree planting can have confidence in the claims made around carbon removal whilst at the same time demonstrating their environmental commitment to their customers.”

Organisations will only be able to claim “credit” under the code’s guidelines once their woodland schemes have collected and locked in carbon from the atmosphere. The amount of CO2 stored in any given woodland site will be validated by an independent body and a registry will keep track of certified projects into the future.

So far companies such as Pearson, Waitrose and Eurocamp are among the first to get involved.

Peter Hughes of Pearson, which operates Penguin books, added: “As a company that publishes books and newspapers, woodland creation and forest protection have always underpinned the longstanding Pearson commitment to climate neutrality.

“We are pleased that there is now a carbon removal option for UK woodland creation backed up by a government-approved accreditation scheme, and we’re delighted to extend our valued partnership with the Woodland Trust through this new carbon solution.”

Sam Plester

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