What are Woodland Carbon Units?

The Woodland Carbon Code (WCC) is the standard for woodland creation projects in the UK which generate verifiable Woodland Carbon Units (WCUs). These are measurable amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) removed from the atmosphere by the growing trees. Backed by government, forest industry and carbon market experts, the Code is unique in providing woodland carbon right here in the UK. Buying carbon from these projects brings many benefits in addition to carbon sequestration.

A Woodland Carbon Unit (WCU) is a tonne of CO2 which has been sequestered in a WCC-verified woodland. It has been independently verified, is guaranteed to be there, and can be used by companies to report against UK-based emissions or use in claims of carbon neutrality as soon as it is purchased.

A Pending Issuance Unit (PIU) is effectively a ‘promise to deliver’ a Woodland Carbon Unit during a given period, based on predicted growth. It is not ‘guaranteed’, and cannot be used to report against UK-based emissions until verified. However, it allows companies to plan to compensate for future UK-based emissions.

Every 10 years, projects are checked and, if performing well, verified. At that point the PIUs are converted to WCUs. Over 3.4 Million PIUs had been listed by March 2019 and the number continues to increase.  There's now a growing number of verified projects with a small amount of WCUs - the number of WCUs available will increase as woodlands grow and mature.

Within the UK, landowners report prices between £5 and £15 /tCO2 for purchases of Pending Issuance Units.  As only a small number of verified Woodland Carbon Units have been sold, we cannot yet say whether there is a price differential. See ‘State of the Forest Carbon Market’ reports for more infromation on global carbon prices in forestry projects.

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