UK Forestry WCUs and PIUs

How some companies can plan to compensate for future UK-based emissions

Shaun Mattingley


3 mins

Many UK-based companies on their path to carbon neutrality would like to position their offsetting to include projects closer to home – ideally here in the UK. The creation of new woodlands is one of the better known options. As well as sequestering (or capturing) carbon dioxide and boosting biodiversity, there are social and environmental benefits for communities across the UK, including health and wellbeing, education, employment and farming.

At the forefront of such projects is the Woodland Carbon Code (WCC). This is an ICROA endorsed, quality assurance standard for woodland creation projects in the UK that generates independently verified carbon units. The WCC is backed by the UK Government and the forest industry. Companies can compensate for their UK-based emissions by using carbon units from WCC projects, but not for their emissions overseas or from international aviation or shipping.

The WCC issues carbon units which represent measurable amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) removed from the atmosphere by trees as they grow. One unit is one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) removed from the atmosphere. As trees take a while to grow and sequester carbon dioxide, WCC has two types of units available to purchase. A Woodland Carbon Unit (WCU) is a tonne of CO2e which has been sequestered in a WCC-verified woodland. It has been independently verified and issued, and can be used by companies to report against UK-based emissions or to use in claims of carbon neutrality or Net Zero emissions.

A Pending Issuance Unit (PIU) is effectively a ‘promise to deliver’ a WCU in the future, based on predicted sequestration. It is not ‘guaranteed’, and cannot be used to report against UK-based emissions until verified. However, it does allows companies to plan to compensate for future UK-based emissions, or to make credible Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) statements in support of woodland creation.

Both types of unit are held in the UK Land Carbon Registry. Every 10 years, projects are checked and, if performing well, verified. At each of these points, PIUs that have been delivered are converted to WCUs. At the moment, the number of WCUs available for purchase is very small. The number of new woodlands being validated is growing, though, and PIUs are more readily available.

With Fenix Carbon, you have the unique opportunity to purchase PIUs at a fair price, directly from the UK based project developers. Making a strategic investment to offset your future emissions, in a project close to home, has never been simpler. Cut out the middlemen and make sure your money goes to what it’s supposed to: Taking carbon out of the atmosphere and putting it back into the ground.

You can take a look at the projects available here.

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