The Woodland Carbon Code: An Introduction

21 April 2022

Outlining the Code’s Credentials

The UK government has developed a standard which, by quantifying these benefits (it calculates the tons
of CO₂e sequestered per hectare of woodland) and regulating the issuance of woodland-related carbon credits, creates a valuable, credible and saleable product (used by carbon-emitting organisations to offset their emissions) and an incentive for landowners to plant more trees.

The Woodland Carbon Code (WCC) is that standard and, reflecting the value of its work, it enjoys strong credentials. It was launched by the Forestry Commission in 2011, it is operated by Scottish Forestry, the science underpinning its calculations has been developed by Forest Research and it is backed by the UK Government.

The Woodland Carbon Code has also been granted international endorsement by ICROA, the International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance. Companies, which have bought carbon units issued and authorised by the WCC can therefore take confidence that their carbon credits meet all the standards required of international offsetting schemes.

The Woodland Carbon Code Enjoys High Level Support.

The Purpose of the Woodland Carbon Code

As we explained earlier, landowners need an incentive to plant trees. They enjoy various potential uses for their land, such as livestock, dairy or arable farming and, being understandably keen to maximise the income generated from that land, need a convincing financial incentive to deploy it as woodland.

In the meantime, with technology still insufficient for companies to run their operations free of carbon emissions and many announcing net zero targets, there is a strong demand for “carbon credits” which allow companies to offset the unavoidable emissions which are generated by their factories, offices, company cars etc. Between companies looking to buy and landowners seeking to sell woodland carbon credits, robust regulatory oversight is necessary. Companies need to trust the sequestration claims of woodland-generated carbon credits i.e. that they represent the permanent removal of one tonne of CO₂e. Landowners also need clear, standardised guidance when calculating the number of units which they are allowed to sell to companies.

The Woodland Carbon Code provides this oversight. By outlining a consistent, uniform and rigorous set of procedures, inspections and practices which landowners must follow when applying for woodland carbon-related funding, it ensures companies can have confidence in the veracity and credibility of the woodland carbon credits they are buying.

You can find more information about the Woodland Carbon Code in our Carbon Codes section.

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Pending Issuance Unit: A promise to deliver a Woodland Carbon Unit during a given period, based on the trees’ predicted growth Woodland Carbon Unit: A ton of carbon dioxide which has been sequestered in a scheme verified under the Woodland Carbon Code