In a year with record numbers of entries Forest Carbon was 'Highly Commended' in the carbon management category at the annual Sustainability Leaders Awards held in London on 21st November. Forest Carbon finished behind only the winner, supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, whilst the other category finalists were: Tesco; Carbon Clear with Japan Tobacco International; SC Johnson; and Schneider Electric. The judging panel was headed by Lord Smith, chairman of the Environment Agency.
The company was placed among the finalists for the award because of its role in pioneering woodland creation for carbon capture in the UK, and for its work in contributing to the development of the UK government’s Woodland Carbon Code. Since 2006 Forest Carbon has developed nearly 70 new woodlands in the UK for corporate partners, planting nearly 4 million trees that are set to capture over 890,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as well as creating new habitat, offering space for recreation, preventing erosion, reducing flooding and lowering pollution. Companies that have worked with Forest Carbon to mitigate their business emissions include ICAP, BWOC, sofa.com, M&S, Stagecoach, Valassis and Kwik Fit.
Forest Carbon Ltd was formed by Stephen Prior and James Hepburne Scott in 2007 to develop new woodland creation projects in the UK on behalf of companies and individuals wanting to capture their unavoidable carbon dioxide emissions. Prior to that date there had been no organised market for woodland carbon credits in the UK; no standards for assessing the volume of carbon sequestered, for ensuring the permanence of these woods, that they were genuinely additional to “business as usual” and could not be “double-counted”.
It was at the instigation of Forest Carbon that the Forestry Commission undertook the major task of developing the Woodland Carbon Code, which was launched in 2011. Stephen Prior was on the working group which developed the Code, and Forest Carbon has a seat on the Carbon Advisory Group which oversees its further development. The Code was recently launched on the industry leading Markit Environmental Registry – providing a final layer of transparency for woodland carbon credit buyers.
Steve Prior, co-founder of Forest Carbon, said:
UK woodland carbon is an exciting, fledgling market, and we recognise benefits in being a small and agile enterprise, but conversely it is challenging to get commercial recognition with larger businesses as potential clients. Sainsbury’s is a deserving carbon management winner and we are extremely pleased to be highly commended. Sustainability Leaders provides a valuable opportunity to showcase UK excellence in sustainability practice, be it small, medium or large.