Climate change is a global problem and needs to have a global solution. We are thrilled to be partnering with one of the leading forces in solving climate change - South Pole. South Pole develops and implements comprehensive emission reduction projects and strategies that turn climate action into long-term business opportunities for companies, governments and organizations around the world. Their global reach and tactical impact resonates with NCX’s view that we must work together to transform our global society and economy for the better.
I had the opportunity to chat with Racheal Notto, Carbon Portfolio Analyst at South Pole, about all things mitigation and forest carbon.
Q: Some really exciting news has come out recently about South Pole - can you tell us what has been going on this past year?
A: Where to begin? I think the most exciting news is the fact that we have more than doubled in size as a company in one year, despite the pandemic. This is a testament to the fact that even with economic slowdowns and global uncertainties, companies are doubling down on their efforts to address their climate impact. There’s still a long way to go but we’ve never seen more interest in our efforts to act today for a better tomorrow.
Q: Why are you excited about partnering with NCX?
A: Being an early partner of NCX we saw quite quickly the value they bring for climate action and regional environmental benefits. We knew we had to join NCX as they truly want to pave the way for a better future just like us. South Pole recognizes there are many ways to support climate action but trees happen to be among the most efficient and readily available actors in the carbon offset space. Using trees, or more specifically, managing forests properly, requires a great deal of monitoring and high quality data to ensure that a forestry project is doing what it claims it is. The better the data, the more reliable the project. NCX is well poised to deliver highly accurate information about the various forests where its technology has been applied.
Q: Why do you think NCX’s approach will advance the forest carbon market?
A: Climate action for all is an important concept to South Pole and I think this is reflected in NCX’s approach of working with landholders of all sizes. This allows more people to participate in the carbon market that previously couldn’t because of financial or technical barriers. Their approach of working with a variety of landholders to defer harvests in a targeted manner accelerates the transition to a climate-smart society. NCX is actively optimizing how we can sequester carbon to benefit the climate but also doing it in a manner that works with landholder interests under a new financially viable option to sustainably maintain their trees.
Additionally, South Pole’s decision to participate in NCX’s program is driven by the much needed transparency that NCX brings to forestry projects regarding data collection and quality for project monitoring. While the voluntary carbon market and its major players, like South Pole, continue to work to improve forestry projects and related methodologies, NCX’s technology is seen as a major leap.
Q: What do you think is needed to scale the forest carbon market while ensuring quality?
A: Greater availability of tools and practices that boosts data collection and quality of project monitoring in forestry projects in a transparent and cost effective way. The best thing about the kind of technology that NCX uses is that they can tell basically down to an exact land plot how the forest is performing. That level of transparency is a game changer in the forestry sector.
Second to data, we need to see projects that use a landscape approach. Climate experts are saying that if we want to have a real chance at getting the upper hand on climate change, we need programs like NCX that focus on a landscape level. To achieve scale, buyers need to be willing to purchase carbon credits from projects at the landscape level instead of a hyper specific project on one forest parcel in a specific state.
Q: How should companies think about removals and offsets in relation to their larger sustainability goals?
A: We walk all our clients through the same process we call the climate journey. In a nutshell, before even getting to removals and offsets, a company needs a clear path to reducing their emissions, including Scopes 1, 2, & 3. Only after a company has reduced emissions as much as possible do offsets & removals come into the picture. At that point we’ll discuss with a company how to support carbon offset projects that best align with their additional corporate CSR goals and budget. For example, many companies wish to finance projects that are tied into their local geography, others may have a maritime focus, and still others may simply want the most affordable projects.
Q. How does South Pole hope to drive impact beyond carbon?
A: All the projects South Pole works with have additional co-benefits beyond simply pulling carbon out of the air. In the case of NCX, we greatly appreciate the emphasis on supporting local communities, helping to unlock carbon market access for small landholders, and building in co-benefits in relation to local wildlife.
To add to that, NCX provides its partners with a tailored impact dashboard that we see as a valuable tool. This helps to bring projects to life and remind people that carbon offsets aren’t just a tick box for climate action. They have meaningful impact that helps us move to a 1.5 degree world and support local communities.