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21 February, 2023

Built by Nature and Good Energies co-funded cluster grant to explore carbon monetisation of biobased construction materials

Built by Nature and Good Energies co-funded cluster grant to explore carbon monetisation of biobased construction materials

AMSTERDAM – February 21, 2023 A new Built by Nature initiative, in collaboration with Good Energies Foundation, part of Porticus, will address the cost disadvantages of bio-based construction materials compared to traditional options through funding of four projects designed to investigate and potentially realise the market value of construction-stored carbon.

The “construction-stored carbon monetisation initiative” will explore how carbon stored in biobased construction materials such as mass timber could be monetised as removable carbon credits on existing carbon markets. Currently, voluntary carbon markets or government-regulated emissions trading schemes do not allow for construction stored carbon to be traded at scale.  

Enabling the monetisation of construction stored carbon, if done effectively, fairly and transparently, could help overcome the green premium associated with biobased construction materials.

The cluster of grants aims to collectively address key elements that have been identified as fundamental to promoting the emergence of effective construction-stored carbon monetisation schemes, namely:

  • Traceability of the timber supply – necessary for verification, certification, commercial and legal compliance;
  • Verification and certification – to safeguard the reliability and credibility of construction-stored carbon credits, and
  • Fair allocation of the credits and their ownership, with monetary gains fairly distributed to incentivise actions with the lowest carbon footprint.

Four organisations are leading projects under this initiative, each representing a larger consortium of experts, researchers and industry players:

  • In the United States, Topl – an impact technology firm – will focus on traceability by developing a blockchain registry for construction-stored carbon.
  • Easy Housing, working in Uganda, Ghana and Mozambique, will identify ownership models of stored carbon and the applicability of construction-stored carbon monetisation in the global south.
  • Swiss-based Timber Finance Initiative and Dutch foundation Climate Clean Up are both developing methodologies and verification/certification processes and standards for construction-stored carbon monetisation.

According to Built by Nature CEO Amanda Sturgeon, “Allowing biobased construction materials to access the carbon markets and monetise the carbon stored in these sustainably managed materials would help reduce the so-called green premium of biobased materials. Along with confronting barriers to adoption of these materials, Built by Nature is committed to exploring and supporting solutions which reduce embodied carbon, safely store carbon in our buildings, and sequester carbon through exemplary forest stewardship and regeneration practices.”

Mariana Wongtschowski, Sector Director Caring for the Earth at Porticus added: “There is a huge potential to establish a reliable system in which biobased construction attracts capital and investment. While this potential is significant, so are the challenges. This system can only be successful in the long term if it is built on fair, transparent, people-centered and sustainable forest management. We need to ensure the fair allocation of benefits for all stakeholders along the value chain”.

Work on the projects, commencing in the first quarter of 2023, is expected to be completed by mid-2024. Collective learning mechanisms are included to ensure that insights are shared across all four workstreams, with opportunities for external industry expert engagement and feedback also incorporated.

About Built by Nature

Built by Nature connects key actors across the built environment and forest communities to spark city-scale projects and amplify stories of ground-breaking timber and biobased projects and solutions. Through collaboration with its major partners and frontrunners, Built by Nature aims to change perceptions around timber construction and reshape the built environment system. The Built by Nature Fund awards grants to the teams and solutions that can increase the uptake of sustainable timber and improve its climate impact, overcoming some of the most challenging barriers.

About Good Energies Foundation

Good Energies Foundation is a Swiss-based philanthropic organisation funding initiatives that work to reverse the impact of climate change in two key areas: access to clean energy and protection of tropical forests. Good Energies is part of Porticus. Good Energies has a history of supporting innovative and local approaches that unlock climate-positive forest products from sectors that need rapid decarbonisation and with a view to using such market demand as an incentive for more sustainable land management as opposed to driving forest conversion.