6. How do I sell carbon units?
2. Find a buyer
Only verified Woodland Carbon Units can be used to compensate for emissions/ as an offset, but Pending Issuance Units can be used to help a company plan to be Net Zero by a given date, or at some point in the future. See the claims that companies can make.
- Selling PIUs 'Upfront': Once your project is validated, and your Pending Issuance Units are listed in the registry, you have a 'product' to sell. This will be soon after the trees are planted. The Units have a 'Vintage'/timestamp as to when they will be delivered and the buyer can only use them to help with their plans to be Net Zero in future. Remember: PIU's are not guaranteed - at verification they could be marked as 'Not Delivered'
- Selling WCUs once verified: Once a particular vintage is verified (at year 5, and every 10 years) your PIUs will be converted to WCUs. These can be used by a company to offset their emissions or claim Net Zero straight away. WCU's are guaranteed and protected by the WCC buffer if sold
Some project developers sell all the carbon up front as PIUs from a project to one buyer, others sell smaller amounts of a particular 'vintage' to different buyers, some wait to sell verified Woodland Carbon Units after each verification.
There are a number of ways to find a corporate buyer:
- Ask local businesses or those which you have business links with
- Once your project is validated, we'll add you to the list of project developers with units available to sell. We'll add a case study if you can provide text/pictures.
- Offer your units 'for sale' on the 'Request for Information' Platform within the UK Land Carbon Registry
- Ask one of the retail aggregators listed below. These companies have corporate clients who want to buy PIU to help with their Net Zero plans or WCU to offset their current year's emissions.
In England only, it is also possible to sell your carbon units to Government, as they are verified. If you would like to have the option to sell your carbon units to Government, you need to register with the WCC and enter a Woodland Carbon Guarantee auction, BEFORE you have started planting. Find out about the next auction here.
Agree a price with a buyer and receive payment 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 £7 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.
Voluntary carbon units are not a VAT-able commodity, so you do not need to charge VAT.
Larger volumes? - Buyer has own account?
Buyers of larger volumes can open an account on the UK Land Carbon Registry to manage their purchased carbon units - from either the Woodland Carbon Code or the Peatland Code. If a buyer has an account on the registry, they have more flexibility to manage their own units and to use/retire them when they are ready or wish to do so, but there is a fee to open an account (£400 for private companies and £200 for government/ charities). Their carbon units will also be visible on the 'Holdings' page of the UK Land Carbon Registry. Where buyers have accounts, you can transfer units to their account in a similar way to transferring cash through internet banking.
Smaller volumes? Assign or Retire units on your buyer's behalf
If your buyer does not have or want their own account, then you can 'assign' Pending Issuance Units or 'retire' Woodland Carbon Units, 'tagged' with the buyer's name and a comment as to the intention. It's less easy for the buyer to see all their purchases in one place, although they can search/find units with their name tagged, but they do not need to manage an account. The units are then effectively taken out of your account/circulation.
- ‘Assign’ Pending Issuance Units: Your buyer will be able to see their units on the 'Assigned Credits' page of the UK Land Carbon Registry with their name against them, and these units will be automatically ‘retired’ when verified, assuming the sequestration has occurred.
- ‘Retire’ verified Woodland Carbon Units: Your buyer will be able to see their units on the 'Retired Credits' page of the UK Land Carbon Registry, with their name against them, and they can refer to this page when they declare their use in an annual GHG emissions report.