Carbon Partnership: Breaking New Ground

Kelley Hamrick

Although New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme was the first in the world to accept forestry offsets, many local forestry projects are ineligible for the program, forcing them to turn to the voluntary carbon markets where demand for offsets is limited. Consultancy Carbon Partnership explains the challenges facing Kiwi forest carbon projects within the context of its Rarakau project.


June 9  2014 | Consultancy Carbon Partnership has finished designing and developing a new methodology for New Zealand forests – specifically, for its Rarakau project. While this first project covers only 1,000 hectares, it is part of a larger program that applies to indigenous forests nationally. Since these forests existed before 1990, they didn’t qualify for New Zealand’s compliance markets. Instead, Director Sean Weaver created his own methodology for the voluntary carbon markets.

However, the voluntary market presents its own challenges: buyers usually prefer the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) for forestry projects. While elements of the methodology were created with VCS, the overall project has been verified under the lesser-known ISO14064-2 carbon standard – principally because Carbon Partnership and its funders could not afford the transaction costs of the VCS path. But both standards present complications and New Zealand project developers face other larger risks in developing current projects, Weaver explained.

Despite these hurdles, he hopes that the project’s strong biodiversity and conservation co-benefits will interest buyers – and he’s not afraid to look outside of the voluntary carbon markets to find them. Ecosystem Marketplace’s just released State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2014 executive summary highlights the growing trend (in New Zealand and elsewhere) of companies preferring and paying above-average prices for projects with strong co-benefits.

Kelley Hamrick: What stage are you at right now?

We’re just at the stage of commercializing the project. That’s also including a plan to try and find buyers who aren’t interested in carbon but are more interested in saving rainforests; for which, the bigger story is: what kind of forests are you protecting? Because, of course, there are buyers, even in the voluntary carbon market, who are more interested in a corporate social responsibility (CSR) claim than they are in offsetting carbon. It’s those kinds of people we need to try and connect with, for this particular project and program in New Zealand.

To read the rest of this Q&A, please visit the  Forest Carbon Portal  for free.


Kelley Hamrick is an Associate in Ecosystem Marketplace’s Carbon Program. She can be reached at [email protected].

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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, 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.