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About this Series

This interview is part of an ongoing series of discussions with market participants culled from our research into this year’s “State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets” report, which will be launched on May 28 at Carbon Expo in Cologne, Germany. Click below for others in the series

Chevrolet: Driving in the Voluntary Carbon Market’s Fast Lane Chevrolet remains one of the leading buyers of carbon offsets in the voluntary market as it closes in on a commitment to reduce its emissions by up to eight million tonnes of carbon. But David Tulauskas, director of sustainability for General Motors (GM), Chevrolet’s parent company, says the road does not end there.

CarbonFund Foundation:
Seeing A Yellow Light For Forest Conservation Projects

The market for forest carbon offsets was challenged to say the least in 2013, with some developers forced to unload offsets at less-than-ideal prices. But Brian McFarland, Director of Carbon Projects and Origination for Bethesda, Maryland-based CarbonFund.org, believes there is some reason for optimism, particularly if a compliance market such as California’s carbon system steps up to the plate

The BioCarbon Group: Playing Both Sides The BioCarbon Group is a major investor in cookstove and forestry emissions reduction projects for both the voluntary and regulated carbon markets in Europe and North America. Jason Patrick, Investment Director for the BioCarbon Group, talked with Gloria Gonzalez about a recent evolution in the corporate social responsibility world and its impact on the voluntary carbon markets.

Environmental Credit Corp: California, here we come! Environmental Credit Corp (ECC) was busy in 2013 developing emissions reduction projects that received a total of more than one million tonnes from California’s regulated carbon market. But Derek Six, ECC’s CEO/CFO, spoke to Gloria Gonzalez about growing interest in a new charismatic project type that could be added to California’s program in the future.

EcoPlanet Bamboo: Thinking Long-Term EcoPlanet Bamboo yesterday announced that its Nicaragua bamboo projects successfully verified their first carbon offsets. These projects are expected to reduce 1.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2e) over their 20-year lifetime. This milestone came after a patient process of navigating the voluntary carbon markets and – as Troy Wiseman explains in the interview below – is part of the company’s truly long-term vision for triple bottom line profitability.

EcoPlanet Bamboo: Thinking Long-Term

Allie Goldstein

EcoPlanet Bamboo yesterday announced that its Nicaragua bamboo projects successfully verified their first carbon offsets. These projects are expected to reduce 1.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2e) over their 20-year lifetime. This milestone came after a patient process of navigating the voluntary carbon markets and – as Troy Wiseman explains in the interview below – is part of the company’s truly long-term vision for triple bottom line profitability.

EcoPlanet Bamboo yesterday announced that its Nicaragua bamboo projects successfully verified their first carbon offsets. These projects are expected to reduce 1.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2e) over their 20-year lifetime. This milestone came after a patient process of navigating the voluntary carbon markets and – as Troy Wiseman explains in the interview below – is part of the company’s truly long-term vision for triple bottom line profitability.

28 May 2014 | Troy Wiseman, CEO and Co-Founder of EcoPlanet Bamboo, never understood the idea of a zero-sum game when it came to corporate responsibility and profits. To him, achieving both simultaneously is all about the execution – and having the patience to do things right the first time around.

That patience paid off last week when EcoPlanet Bamboo, a company that aims to “make bamboo the timber of the 21st century” completed verification of its 2014 vintage offsets under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Alliance Standard. The verification marks the debut of carbon offsets from bamboo plantations. In 2012, EcoPlanet Bamboo also became the first carbon offset project to receive political risk insurance (to the tune of $27 million) from the World Bank Group’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency.

When he founded EcoPlanet Bamboo, Wiseman recognized that the only way to ‘move the needle’ on deforestation is to find alternatives to wood fiber. The company is working with major corporations that source paper, activated carbon (used to trap mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants and mines) and other wood products from boreal and other endangered forests to see if they can fill those same product needs with bamboo, at the same price point.

Based in Barrington, Illinois, the company owns seven bamboo plantations covering more than 8,000 acres in Nicaragua and 1,200 acres in South Africa. EcoPlanet Bamboo does extensive research and development on dozens of the more than 1400 types of bamboo, so they know which varieties fit which business need – from biofuels to pulp to furniture.

Wiseman, a lifelong entrepreneur, spoke with Allie Goldstein about the company’s long-term business vision, and how carbon offset sales fit in.

Allie Goldstein: Many of your bamboo plantations are validated as VCS, CCB and Forest Stewardships Council (FSC). Why did you make this effort to validate against multiple standards?

Troy Wiseman: The reason we went thought this intense triple certification process and spent the money to do this right, all the way from the community level to the top of our organization, was to set the benchmark for how bamboo should be industrialized. That is as a sustainable alternative fiber with high potential for reforestation, rather than as a species that otherwise has the potential to become another problem crop.

In addition to the carbon finance, the multiple certifications allowed that to be validated externally. EcoPlanet Bamboo only plants on degraded land that was deforested more than 10 years ago, in line with the VCS requirements, and we don’t compete with food security. If you’re using land like ours that doesn’t have good soils – either acidic, clay or very compacted – it’s going to cost an additional hundreds of thousands of dollars each year per plantation, because it’s going to take one or two years longer for that bamboo to mature. That’s real money. But we know that that’s the right way to do it, and because we’re building a company for 100 years – the long term – we’re trying to be a responsible market leader and set the benchmark.

Read more on the Forest Carbon Portal.

Allie Goldstein is an Associate in Ecosystem Marketplace’s Carbon Program. She can be reached at agoldstein@ecosystemmarketplace.com.

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