New standard to boost tree planting by businesses

27th July 2011

Woodland carbon code version 1

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  • Management ,
  • Reporting ,
  • Certification ,
  • Mitigation ,
  • Agriculture



The Forestry Commission has launched the first UK standard for organisations creating woodland as a way to offset greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The Woodland Carbon Code (WCC), published today (27 July 2011), outlines requirements for sustainable forest management and specific methods for estimating the amount of carbon that will be captured by tree-planting projects.

Businesses offering such services can now register with the Forestry Commission and then be certified against the standard by independent assessors providing verification and validation to investors that projects are delivering the promised emissions reductions.

“Tree-planting projects are attractive to organisations on a number of levels: they can reduce their carbon footprint at low cost, improve the environment, and enhance their environmental reputation,” said Pam Warhurst, chair of the Forestry Commission.

Chris Waterfield, Woodland Carbon Code implementation officer for the commission, revealed that commercial interest in investing in tree planting is on the increase, but until now there has been no standard against which to measure claims.

“The code provides a consistent approach as well as clarity and transparency to potential investors over just what their money should buy them,” he said.

The WCC was launched alongside new guidance from Defra on how to report GHG emissions and sequestration from woodland creation.

While the WCC covers procedures to certify woodland projects and includes technical requirements such as addressing leakage, baseline projections and carbon accounting methodology, Defra’s publication offers a step-by step guide and examples of how to publish accurate data from tree-planting projects.

The new guidance includes steps to account for emissions created by the creation and maintenance of the woodland project, as well as the GHG reductions from the project.

Defra has confirmed the guidance must be read in conjunction with the WCC and existing guidance on how to measure and report GHG emissions.


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