How to buy woodland carbon units

1. Before you buy credits from the Woodland Carbon Code

2. Decide whether you want PIUs or WCUs

3. Decide how you'd like to receive your units

4. Discuss with a project developer

5. Pay for your units

6. Receive your carbon units

Companies can compensate for their UK-based emissions using verified carbon units from Woodland Carbon Code projects, but not for their emissions overseas or emissions from international aviation or shipping.  Units can be purchased from Project Developers, this page sets out what you need to do to make a purchase.  Units are housed in the UK Land Carbon Registry.

1. Before you buy credits from the Woodland Carbon Code or another carbon standard:

Woodland carbon projects contribute to just one of a hierarchy of actions that can help to combat the effects of climate change. Before considering buying any carbon credits, including Woodland Carbon Units,  businesses and other organisations should:

  • Understand and measure their carbon footprint (Scope 1, 2 and where possible Scope 3 emissions), in line with the UK Government’s Environmental Reporting Guidelines;
  • Set science-based targets to reduce emissions in line with the UK’s commitment to be Net Zero by 2050
  • Take action to reduce Scope 1, 2 and where possible Scope 3 emissions in line with your emissions reduction plan

Expectations of high integrity buyers in the carbon market are being set out by the Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative.

2. Decide whether you want PIUs or WCUs

Once you're on track with your emissions reduction plan, look at 'What are PIUs and WCUs' - remembering that PIUs are an 'advance' purchase and are not guaranteed.  See Where to Buy Carbon Units to find project developers and other agents with PIU and WCU avaialble to sell.

3. Decide how you'd like to receive your units

Open your own account

Open an account on the UK Land Carbon Registry to manage purchased carbon units. With this account you can buy both Woodland Carbon Units and Peatland Carbon Units, PIU or WCU. If you have an account on the registry, you have more flexibility to manage your own units and to use/retire them when you are ready or wish to do so, but there is a fee to open an account, this option is useful for buyers purchasing larger volumes of credits.

Ask a project developer to 'assign' PIUs or 'retire' WCUs in your name

The project developer can ‘tag’ units with your name to confirm the purchase, without you needing to have your own account. Any units purchased upfront as Pending Issuance Units will automatically be 'retired' once verified, assuming the sequestration has occurred.  It's less easy to see all your purchases in one place, but The UK Land Carbon Registry keeps a pubic record of Assigned PIUs and Retired WCUs.

4. Discuss with a project developer 

Find the units you would like to buy in one of these ways:

5. Pay for your units

Once you've found carbon units you'd like to buy, you need to agree a price with the project developer and pay for your units. The price varies, depending upon the costs of creating and managing the woodland and the range of benefits that it provides.  Within the UK, companies are paying between £10 and £20 /tCO2e for purchases of Pending Issuance Units.  As only a small number of verified Woodland Carbon Units have been sold, we cannot yet say whether the price for these differs.

6.  Receive your carbon units

The project developer will confirm your purchase in one of two ways: 

  • If you have an account on the UK Land Carbon Registry, the project developer will transfer the carbon units purchased to your account.  You can see all the units you purchased (both from the Woodland Carbon Code and Peatland Code) in one place, and can retire verified Woodland Carbon Units when you are ready to use them against your greenhouse gas emissions.
  • If you don’t want to setup an account, the project developer can: 
    • Assign’ Pending Issuance Units to you (You will be able to see your units on the 'Assigned Credits' page with your name against them, and these units will be automatically ‘retired’ if and when they are verified) 
    • Retire’ verified Woodland Carbon Units on your behalf (You will be able to see your units on the 'Retired Credits' page, and you can refer to this page when you declare their use in your annual greenhouse gas emissions report)

Next:  Find out where to buy carbon units


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