The launch of the government backed Woodland Carbon Code in July 2011 marked a significant, positive development in UK carbon woodland creation. Forest Carbon were members of the Forestry Commission's Technical Group that developed the Code during 2009 and 2010. Our membership of the Code's Advisory Board is ongoing.
In 2010 we contributed to the Code's trial phase with two of our existing projects before it went live, and achieved the first ever project certification in 2011. In 2015 we piloted the year 5 project verification methodology and achieved the first ever year 5 verification in March 2016.
As at the launch of the Code we had already previously developed over 40 carbon woodlands, all meeting the kind of carbon project and UK woodland creation best practice enshrined in the Code. As a consequence we have been able to attain Woodland Carbon Code certification for all of these woodlands (and of course, for many since).
What it means in practice
The Code offers carbon credit buyers the assurance that each woodland scheme will deliver the benefits that we say it will, and that that woodland represents genuine new planting. There is more about the range of principles concerned in the Code in our pages about Additionality & Permanence, Carbon Calculations, Biodiversity & Environment, and Monitoring.
Compliance with the Code means that buyers can be assured that:
- That the right trees have been planted, in the right place
- The woodlands are responsibly and sustainably managed to the UK Forestry Standard, and are protected in the long term
- The carbon capture estimates are project specific, based on sound science, and risk adjusted
- The woodland has been independently audited and verified
- The trees would not be there but for the intervention of Forest Carbon and its partners
Each project developed under the Code is registered with the independent Markit Registry, a leading provider of global carbon and environmental credit registry services. Projects are certified to ISO standards by a UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) accredited third party and an ongoing monitoring programme for the woodlands is agreed between the parties. Carbon credits that arise from certified projects appear on the Markit Registry - giving buyers assurance and interested parties transparency.
The Code is aligned with the core requirements of other international voluntary forest carbon standards and of the Kyoto Protocol.