PRESS RELEASE: Local nonprofit TreesCharlotte enters new venture to create carbon credits

February 22, 2017

(Charlotte, NC) – TreesCharlotte is partnering with Greensboro-based Urban Offsets to create carbon credits from its tree plantings that can be sold to higher education institutions seeking community-friendly ways to meet carbon reduction goals.

A carbon offset is a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide that helps to compensate for emissions occurring elsewhere. Activities such as tree planting, which increase carbon dioxide absorption, generate offsets and create carbon credits that companies or institutions can purchase to counterbalance emissions and reduce their carbon footprints.

Urban Offsets builds local carbon markets that support climate commitments by higher education institutions, working with cities to plant trees and track and sell their associated carbon credits over time. In its pilot program with TreesCharlotte, Urban Offsets will begin tracking, verifying and providing carbon offset valuations for approximately 900 trees TreesCharlotte has planted.

Over a two-year period, TreesCharlotte will be compensated for the carbon offsets produced by its trees if they remain healthy and grow. Colleges and universities will be able to purchase the credits toward their carbon reduction goals while also contributing to the expansion of Charlotte’s tree canopy. The partnership also affords research and volunteer opportunities to participating educational institutions, which can engage students in monitoring and stewarding the trees planted under the program.

“This partnership is a win-win,” says Chuck Cole, executive director of TreesCharlotte. “By creating a new carbon market around our tree planting program, Urban Offsets will provide us with a new funding mechanism while also enabling colleges and universities to purchase credits and make an important investment in Charlotte’s future.”

TreesCharlotte, founded in 2012, has a goal of attaining 50% tree canopy in Charlotte by 2050 with plans of planting 500,000 trees in the coming decades. The nonprofit, which has a partnership with the city of Charlotte, also protects trees from disease as well as educating the public about tree care.

Urban Offsets works with higher education institutions including Davidson College, Duke University and Elon University to help them source and purchase local, verified carbon offsets in the communities that matter to them. The firm is launching pilot programs similar to the TreesCharlotte initiative in Durham, Fayetteville, Phoenix and Tempe, Ariz.

“Colleges and universities with climate commitments want to purchase offsets that create value for their students, alumni and broader communities,” says Shawn Gagné, CEO of Urban Offsets. “TreesCharlotte is a highly regarded, trusted stakeholder and an ideal partner for us and our clients in higher education.”

Originally reported in the Charlotte Business Journal by Steve Huffman on Feb 15, 2017