13 Oct 2020

Blog: Grow the carbon market and your income from trees

It’s no secret that woodlands are making a significant contribution to tackling climate change.

In 2017, Scotland’s forests and woodlands sequestered 9.5 Million harmful CO2 emissions from the atmosphere – no mean feat!

The impetus to tackle the current climate emergency is growing at a pace too. The Scottish Government has committed to a net zero greenhouse gas emission target by 2045, which is five years earlier than the rest of the UK.

Recognising the role that woodlands and carbon sequestration have to play, the Scottish Government have committed to increasing the size of the woodland carbon market by 50% in five years. This is where the Woodland Carbon Code comes into play.

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Woodland Carbon Code
Only businesses in energy and some industrial sectors are currently mandated to reduce their emissions, but there is a rapidly increasing desire amongst all businesses to voluntarily reduce their emissions to help meet these ambitious targets.

The Woodland Carbon Code (WCC), launched in 2011, is the UK’s government-backed standard for woodland carbon projects. It provides the mechanism for landowners creating woodland to engage in the carbon market in the UK.

An expanding market
So far, over 500 woodland creation projects have registered across the UK with the Woodland Carbon Code, with over 40% of projects in Scotland. The registered projects across the UK will create over 20,000 hectares of woodland and are predicted to sequester almost 8 Million tonnes of carbon dioxide over their lifetime (up to 100 years).

The Peatland Code, a standard managed by IUCN, is also joining us in the Markit Registry from Autumn 2020. It follows similar principles to the Woodland Carbon Code.

 A native woodland could sequester 400 tCO2 per ha over the next 100 years. ScotClimateWeek

How it works
Validation through the Woodland Carbon Code allows landowners to generate carbon units which they can either sell to companies looking to compensate for their unavoidable CO2 emissions, or use against their own estate or business emissions. 

If you are thinking of creating woodland then now’s the time to consider acting. You could either sell validated carbon units to other companies to generate extra income and make the project viable, or use them to help compensate for your own GHG emissions. Either way you are supporting a green recovery from the current pandemic.

To help illustrate how it can work, there’s a number of helpful case studies on the Woodland Carbon Code website – click on the top right “Case Studies” on this page.

Further help

The Woodland Carbon Code team are happy to give free advice – drop them an email to start with on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Woodland Carbon Code: www.woodlandcarboncode.org.uk

Peatland Code: https://www.iucn-uk-peatlandprogramme.org/funding-finance/peatland-code or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.