A consortium of experts including FORLIANCE, BiocharWorks and South Pole has been selected by Verra to help develop a comprehensive greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting methodology for biochar within its Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program, the world’s leading voluntary GHG program. The consortium has been tasked with reviewing existing documentation on biochar production and certification, drafting the comprehensive methodology for Verra, organizing public consultations, and ensuring the draft methodology is successfully audited and validated by an independent verification body prior to it being released for public use.
What is biochar?
Biochar — a carbon-rich solid material made from biomass subjected to high heat and limited-oxygen environments — offers compelling climate, agronomic, and environmental benefits. Because its organic carbon component is generally one to two orders of magnitude more stable than the feedstock biomass it was produced from, biochar can contribute significantly to climate change mitigation when deployed at a massive global scale. Additionally, it aids in soil fertility and rehabilitation and can be used for alternative and innovative end uses such as in building materials, cement, and asphalt. Biomass residues from land-use practices – for instance sawdust or the shells and husks of cocoa, rice and coffee – are commonly used. Via the process of pyrolysis, the biomass carbon component is locked into a stable form, enabling long-term carbon sequestration. This way, the major part of the original carbon remains as a carbon sink, even after more than 100 years.
The need for cost-effective carbon removal solutions is urgent. To avert the worst effects of climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has said that nations may need to remove up to 1000 Gt of CO2 by 2050. For ambitious companies with Net Zero commitments – especially those in the Agriculture, Forestry, and Land Use sector (AFOLU) – carbon removal solutions, such as biochar, offer great potential to draw down carbon.
At the same time, the science and insights around biochar, its properties, applications, and GHG accounting procedures continues to evolve. To help scale the nascent biochar industry and ensure its environmental integrity, Verra has enlisted a consortium of experts to help create a standardized carbon accounting methodology for biochar.
- Q2/2021: First biochar methodology draft
- Q3/2021: Public stakeholder consultation
- Q4/2021: Publication of the standardized carbon accounting methodology for biochar
How to get involved?
The consortium wants to ensure that the methodology reflects the position of stakeholders within the biochar realm. For this purpose, it will host a series of stakeholder consultations to gain perspective from diverse partners from academia, the private sector and NGOs.
If you would like to be considered for stakeholder consultation during the methodology development (i.e. have input on eligibility, baselines, additionality, etc.) or have any feedback, please contact Andrea Vera at andrea.vera(at)forliance.com.
About the consortium
FORLIANCE is a leading service provider for natural climate solutions. We initiate, finance, create and manage robust nature-based climate projects and integrate them into sustainability strategies with our clients to achieve their Net Zero Carbon targets. Our purpose is to make a decisive impact on climate and global well-being by connecting meaningful nature-based climate projects with inspiring businesses and impact investors.
Biochar Works was founded by Simon Manley. It is a UK-based consultancy serving individuals and organisations in the expanding international biochar sector. Offering advisory and project development services, the company supports the design, finance and implementation of biochar systems in supply chains.
South Pole is a leading project developer and provider of global climate solutions, with around 400 experts in 18 offices worldwide. South Pole helps companies, capital markets, and governments reduce their impact on the climate while mitigating risk and creating value. Its expertise covers project finance, climate risk analysis, and the development of environmental commodities, like carbon and renewable energy credits.
The core team shall comprise of Andrea Vera from FORLIANCE, Hannes Etter and Chetan Aggarwal from South Pole, and Simon Manley from Biochar Works. They will be supported by experts Matt Delaney and Dr. Greg Latta, experienced developers of carbon offset methodologies with a scientific understanding of biochar life cycles and GHG accounting.