Lesson to North Cowichan: King County forest carbon credit prices double in one year
King County is the first local government in the United States to offer a certified carbon credit program that protects local forests.
King County priced its forest carbon credits at $15 a ton in 2021; one year later, they are selling at up to $34 per ton.
These prices are substantially higher than the initial pricing assumption of $25/ton CDN used in the North Cowichan Forest Scenario revenue calculations.
What is King County doing to differentiate itself from the competition?
The answer may be found in their slogan: “Invest Locally, Benefit Globally”.
“We are making it possible for local companies to help us protect forests, confront climate change, and promote healthy habitat right here where their employees live, work, and play. Our first-of-its-kind carbon credit program has the potential to be a national model for public-private partnerships that improve the quality of life for people and wildlife in their own backyards.” Dow Constantine, King County executive
Instead of just targeting international corporate investors, King County also reaches out to local businesses with a commitment to net-zero emissions.
They offer their carbon credits through three sales channels: direct to customers, through brokers, and third party platforms.
Why is this important to North Cowichan?
We just finished a four-year public engagement on the future of the North Cowichan Forest Reserve, culminating in a preferred forest management scenario survey.
Seventy-six per cent of the survey takers chose a “Conservation” scenario as their first choice and 83 per cent of the survey takers chose a scenario fully or partially funded by the sale of carbon credits.
It’s time for North Cowichan to learn more about structuring and marketing a successful forest carbon project.
On the marketing side, we have a powerful story to tell about protecting one of the most endangered forests in Canada.
“Large sections of the Municipal Forest are located within the Coastal Douglas-fir Biogeoclimatic Zone. This collection of rare ecosystems is found only in a small portion of southwestern B.C., and it is considered one of the most imperilled ecosystems in Canada.” (source: North Cowichan Forest Review Discussion Guide)
A draft report commissioned by the municipality estimates that 141 species at risk are found in North Cowichan’s 5,000-hectare Municipal Forest Reserve.
It is important to emphasize to local investors that this isn’t some distant forest halfway around the world — this is our “community forest” — and that this project will be professionally verified and monitored by local experts.
“Invest Locally, Benefit Globally”.
Hopefully, the mayor and council will reach out to our neighbours to the south in King County, Washington, and learn from their experience.