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PRESS RELEASE: World’s biggest carbon removals deal announced at New York climate week

By News

Press release: 21st September 2022

  • Renewable energy leader Drax Group and impact-driven carbon finance business Respira International have announced a pioneering agreement that will stimulate the development of global voluntary carbon markets and the decarbonisation of new sectors of the economy.
  • Under the MoU, Respira will be able to secure up to 2 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide removals (CDR) certificates from Drax, which is pioneering bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS).
  • Drax aims to deliver 12 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide removals per year using BECCS by 2030 and this deal will relate to the CDRs produced from Drax’s North American BECCS facilities.

Renewable energy leader and biomass pioneer Drax has agreed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Respira, which could see the largest volume of carbon dioxide removals (CDRs) traded so far, globally.

Respira, which is an impact-driven carbon finance business, will be able to purchase up to 2 million metric tonnes of CDRs from Drax over a five year period, under the terms of the MoU. The creation of the CDRs would be linked to the future deployment of BECCS by Drax in North America.

Drax already aims to invest over £2bn in its UK BECCS project and its global supply chain by 2030, to remove 8 million metric tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere each year. In addition to this it is developing investment plans for BECCS projects outside the UK, including in North America, which could remove a further 4 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.

BECCS is a critical technology required globally, because it is the only one available which can provide reliable, renewable power, supporting energy security, whilst permanently removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Will Gardiner, Drax Group CEO said: “This agreement with Respira will play a pivotal role in the development of voluntary carbon markets globally and the deployment of BECCS.

“The clear demand that we are seeing for engineered carbon removals, alongside the policies being developed by progressive governments in the US and UK to support BECCS, will enable the investment needed to kickstart a vital new sector of the economy, creating tens of thousands of jobs, often in communities which need them the most.

“BECCS in the US has the potential to offer a game-changing contribution to the fight against climate change, provide energy grid stability to those areas which need it most and also revolutionise the way companies approach decarbonizing their operations .  Drax aims to be a global leader in the deployment of BECCS and our deal with Respira is a landmark moment for our business as well as the fight against climate change.”

Respira invests in high-quality carbon credits to unlock capital to invest in the creation and acceleration of carbon reduction and removal projects around the world.

Ana Haurie, Respira International CEO and co-founder said “Rising global temperatures underline that it is absolutely vital for corporates to augment existing carbon emissions strategies with further solutions to address the climate emergency. This partnership with Drax marks a new and exciting development for Respira as it is our first engineered carbon removals project.

“We are proud at Respira to be leading the way in the voluntary carbon market, supporting companies in their mitigation strategies by providing high-quality carbon credits. The deployment of critical technologies like BECCS by Drax, and the resulting engineered CDRs, very much have their place as an important instrument in the value chain management which supports corporate action”

In the US the $739 billion Inflation Reduction Act, which marked the largest investment in climate action in the country’s history, includes an enhanced level of support for carbon removal technologies. And a recent report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) underlined the importance of BECCS, in delivering the US’s target of 100% clean electricity by 2035, and the need for BECCS to achieve this.

Supportive regulatory frameworks for CDRs, including BECCS, are being developed at state level including in California, Louisiana and Texas.

Under the terms of the MoU with Drax, Respira would be able to purchase CDRs produced by Drax in North America, receiving up to 400,000 metric tonnes of CDRs a year over a five year period, to sell on a voluntary carbon market.

This would enable buyers, such as corporations and financial institutions, to achieve their own carbon emissions reduction targets.

The MoU between Drax and Respira supports a roadmap to secure binding commitments prior to a future final investment decision being made.

Since announcing its ambition to deliver 4 million metric tonnes of CDRs from BECCS in locations outside the UK, Drax has been working on models for developing BECCS projects, primarily in North America. To find out more about Drax’s high-quality, permanent CDRs, go to the website: www.drax.com/USBECCS

ENDS

Editor’s Notes

The deal between Respira and Drax is the biggest for carbon removals announced so far. The next biggest was for 100kt a year (400kt total) of DAC between Airbus and 1PointFive, a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum, which was announced in March 2022.

About Drax

Drax Group’s purpose is to enable a zero carbon, lower cost energy future and in 2019 announced a world-leading ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) technology.

Drax’s around 3,000 employees operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production and supply to third parties. For more information visit www.drax.com

Power generation:

Drax owns and operates a portfolio of renewable electricity generation assets in England and Scotland. The assets include the UK’s largest power station, based at Selby, North Yorkshire, which supplies five percent of the country’s electricity needs.

Having converted Drax Power Station to use sustainable biomass instead of coal it has become the UK’s biggest renewable power generator and the largest decarbonisation project in Europe. It is also where Drax is piloting the groundbreaking negative emissions technology BECCS within its CCUS (Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage) Incubation Area.

Its pumped storage, hydro and energy from waste assets in Scotland include Cruachan Power Station – a flexible pumped storage facility within the hollowed-out mountain Ben Cruachan.

The Group also aims to build on its BECCS innovation at Drax Power Station with a target to deliver 4 million tonnes of negative CO2 emissions each year from new-build BECCS outside of the UK by 2030 and is currently developing models for North American and European markets.

Pellet production and supply:
The Group has 18 operational pellet plants and developments with nameplate production capacity of around 5 million tonnes a year.

Drax is targeting 8 million tonnes of production capacity by 2030, which will require the development of over 3 million tonnes of new biomass pellet production capacity. The pellets are produced using materials sourced from sustainably managed working forests and are supplied to third party customers in Europe and Asia for the generation of renewable power.

Drax’s pellet plants supply biomass used at its own power station in North Yorkshire, England to generate flexible, renewable power for the UK’s homes and businesses, and also to customers in Europe and Asia.

Customers: 

Drax supplies renewable electricity to UK businesses, offering a range of energy-related services including energy optimisation, as well as electric vehicle strategy and management.

To find out more go to the website www.energy.drax.com

About Respira

Respira International is an impact-driven carbon finance business. Respira operates with an innovative offtake and profit share model which reinvests back into local communities.  Respira’s high-quality carbon credits allow corporations and financial institutions to mitigate their environmental impact. Respira channels private capital into climate solutions ensuring long-term relationships with trusted carbon project developers that enable its clients to use predominantly nature-based solutions to build sustainable, climate-positive businesses and portfolios. Respira’s team combines deep and varied experience working in global financial markets with a robust understanding of carbon project development in leading international conservation organisations.

 

For further information, please visit respira-international.com

greenhouse gas emissions

Respira to partner with new Net Zero Marketplace by Salesforce

By News

Respira International is proud to be a partner of  Net Zero Marketplace. Powered by Salesforce, the launch of this innovative platform was announced during Dreamforce today. Net Zero Marketplace is a climate action hub for everyone, and a trusted site for organisations to purchase carbon credits from ecopreneurs.

Respira International will be supplying high quality credits from our portfolio projects to Net Zero Marketplace. As soon as it is live, the marketplace will be accessible to browse globally. However, purchases will initially be open only to US-based organisations, but the goal is to soon expand to other regions of the world.

With detailed information, clear pricing, and third-party ratings for most carbon projects, Net Zero Marketplace puts the power in the hands of organisations to determine which carbon projects are best aligned with their priorities and standards. Furthermore, it energises the ecopreneur revolution by offering carbon projects the investment they need to grow while simultaneously connecting ecopreneurs with values-aligned buyers.

What are the benefits of  Net Zero Marketplace?

Connectivity

It will engage ecopreneurs from across the globe while facilitating greater communication between them.

Clarity

Highly transparent, the marketplace provides detailed third-party ratings and clear pricing. Additionally, the site itself is set to provide a seamless e-commerce experience.

Value-orientated

The marketplace will enable ecopreneurs to find carbon projects that are aligned with their individualised priorities and goals.

Collaboration

Through portfolio data sharing, the project will enable the collaborative management of carbon projects. As well as this, the new Net Zero Cloud technology will allow stakeholders to track credits alongside emissions reductions.

At Respira International, we are committed to driving quality and integrity across voluntary carbon markets. As such, we welcome the launch of Net Zero Marketplace by Salesforce and are looking forward to supplying high quality credits to the platform. This is an exciting development that will bring greater transparency, clarity and accessibility to the industry – we look forward to seeing Net Zero Marketplace in action.

For more information, visit Salesforce News. You can also sign up to receive a personal update to alert you that the marketplace is live here.

Howden and Respira launch ‘World-First’ voluntary carbon credit insurance product to help scale the market

By News

Designed to give buyers and sellers of high-quality, verified carbon credits greater certainty and help the voluntary carbon market grow to $50bn by 2030

6 September 2022, London – Howden, the international insurance broker, announced today that it has worked with carbon finance business, Respira International, and Nephila Capital, a leading investment manager specialising in reinsurance risk, to develop a carbon credit invalidation insurance solution to increase confidence in the Voluntary Carbon Market.

The product was developed in partnership with Respira and Nephila by Howden, who were advised by climate risk finance company, Parhelion. It was incubated through the product innovation work stream on the Insurance Task Force of the Sustainable Markets Initiative; an initiative led by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.

There is no doubt that the Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM) will play a vital role in the transition to a low-carbon future. Various estimates suggest that the market for carbon credits could be worth between $20bn[1] and $50bn[2] by 2030.

Trading turnover of the VCM has increased steadily over recent years to just under $2 billion in 2021[3]. A total of 60% of Fortune 500 companies have now set climate targets and these commitments point to substantial increases in demand for voluntary carbon credits.[4]

However, the VCM remains complex, particularly for new buyers, and doesn’t deliver consistently for carbon reduction and removals projects on the ground. In order to support future growth, it is critical that the VCM implement processes to improve credibility and transparency and to differentiate independently-verified, high-quality credits from unverified credits, thereby helping buyers to engage with confidence.

Given the anticipated increase in scale and number of newcomers to the VCM, this new insurance solution provides another very welcome layer of security. The product, which is wrapped around books of independently-verified, high-quality carbon credits, provides cover for third-party negligence and fraud. It is the first product of its kind for the VCM, and one of a suite of products that Howden is working on to help to grow the market to the scale needed to support global net zero targets.

Charlie Langdale, Head of Climate Risk and Resilience at Howden, says: “For the voluntary carbon market to grow to $50bn by 2030, buyers need to be able to trust that the carbon credits they are buying are removing the promised volume of carbon from the atmosphere.

The added layer of security provided by this product, combined with independent verification from established, reputable bodies will help buyers to purchase with confidence and should drive more buyers towards high-quality projects like those in Respira’s portfolio.”

Ana Haurie, Co-founder and CEO of Respira, explains: “The voluntary carbon market is an essential piece of the puzzle if we are to reach net zero.  Respira is committed to improving integrity and transparency in the market and this product will appeal to the many corporates and financial services companies who wish to engage in buying high-quality carbon credits as part of their own pathways to net zero and carbon projects keen to provide buyers with the highest assurance. This will enable much needed capital to be channelled into high-quality carbon projects on the ground.”

David Howden, CEO of Howden Group added: “This is a perfect example of the insurance market doing what it absolutely must do to drive climate resilience; bringing the client, insurer and broker all to the table to create brand new products that help to accelerate and de-risk the move to a more sustainable future.”

Capacity came from the Lloyd’s market, with Nephila’s Syndicate 2357 as the lead market.

Maria Rapin, CEO of Nephila Climate said: “From first meeting the Howden and Respira teams at COP26, it’s been a really enjoyable, collaborative process getting this ground-breaking product live. We are proud to support the growth of a market that is so important for climate resilience.”

The new product builds on the success of the work that Parhelion pioneered in the regulated California cap and trade market.

 

ENDS

 

 

 

 

Notes to Editors:

 

About Howden Broking Group

Howden Broking, a leading independent provider of (re)insurance brokerage, risk consulting and employee benefits advice, is headquartered in the UK and comprises owned businesses across Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.

Established in 1994, today Howden employs more than 10,500 people worldwide. Together with network partners aligned to its specialty-led proposition, Howden operates in more than 90 territories.

For more information, please visit www.howdengroup.com

 

 

About Respira

Respira International is an impact-driven carbon finance business. Respira operates with an innovative offtake and profit share model which reinvests back into local communities.  Respira’s high-quality carbon credits allow corporations and financial institutions to mitigate their environmental impact. Respira channels private capital into climate solutions ensuring long-term relationships with trusted carbon project developers that enable its clients to use predominantly nature-based solutions to build sustainable, climate-positive businesses and portfolios. Respira’s team combines deep and varied experience working in global financial markets with a robust understanding of carbon project development in leading international conservation organisations.

 

For further information, please visit respira-international.com

 

 

About NEPHILA

Nephila Capital Ltd is a leading investment manager specializing in (re)insurance risk. Nephila Climate is dedicated to climate and sustainability-linked risk transfer. Nephila Capital offers a broad range of investment products focusing on instruments such as insurance-linked securities, catastrophe bonds, insurance swaps, and private transactions. Nephila has approximately $8.6 billion in assets under management as of April 1, 2022 and is headquartered in Bermuda, with offices in San Francisco, CA, Nashville, TN and London.

 

Further information can be found at nephila.com

 

[1] https://trove-research.com/research-and-insight/voluntary-carbon-market-2021-year-in-review-and-2022-outlook

[2] https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/sustainability/our-insights/a-blueprint-for-scaling-voluntary-carbon-markets-to-meet-the-climate-challenge

[3] https://forest-trends.us18.list-manage.com/track/click?u=cff95aefc075dc49e7553805f&id=c9cc763116&e=05149c6103

[4] https://wwfint.awsassets.panda.org/downloads/power_forward_4_0.pdf

voluntary carbon

What will rising inflation do to the Voluntary Carbon Market?

By News

Ana Haurie, Co-founder and CEO of Respira, and Joel Krueger, Advisor to Respira and Chief Investment Officer, outline Respira’s views:

 

The overall growth of the Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM) has been striking over the past few years, posting 55% CAGR since 2016. In 2021 alone, the market grew by 190% to just under $ 1 billion. In IETA’s 2022 survey, respondents linked the main drivers for increased demand to increases in corporate net zero pledges, challenges in reducing GHG emissions across corporate value chains, and demand from compliance obligations (e.g., schemes such as CORSIA).

 

But given current acute global inflationary pressures, should we expect this growth to continue?

 

While higher inflation and slower economic growth may have short term temporary negative impacts on carbon credit prices, there are several structural reasons why we believe VCM credits are likely to remain resistant to long-term price declines and are in fact more likely to continue to rise in the medium to long-term.

 

Short term, there are a few likely negative price impacts associated with inflation, with pressures at their highest levels around the world in many years and with the likelihood of a global recession also at a high:

 

  1. We expect that corporate profitability will decline in sectors where input price increases are difficult to pass on to consumers and those firms may feel less able to pursue their carbon goals. While we do not expect large multinationals to step back from their climate and decarbonization commitments, including their purchases of carbon credits, it is possible that their total budgets for purchasing carbon credits will be reduced, thus putting downward pressure on the price per tonne needed to meet the commitment.

 

  1. It is possible that other smaller firms in these sectors may delay the implementation of net zero strategies; although they will still be increasingly obliged to report their Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.

 

  1. Retail demand for Voluntary Carbon Market credits could decline due to the rising cost of living. However, retail purchases of credits are a relatively small part of the market and while it may have an impact, it is likely to be muted as corporate buyers constitute most of the demand.

 

If the larger corporates were to make a meaningful shift away from purchases of VCM credits and prices fall as a consequence, some potential projects, and nature-based projects in particular, will no longer be feasible.

More worryingly, if carbon credit prices remain under pressure relative to other commodities, the opportunity cost is such that this could act as a disincentive to more environmentally conscious business practices.

However, while there could be some downward shift in demand amongst some end users of Voluntary Carbon Market credits, we believe that the structure of the market will continue to favour both sustained demand and constrained supply and consequently result in stable to increasing prices.

 

  1. The climate science has not changed, and we face the same carbon issues this year as last, except even more acutely. The impacts of carbon emissions are only becoming more apparent as extreme weather events rise. In this context, net zero and other climate pledges continue to rise. Over 4,000 corporates have now pledged to net zero by 2050 or earlier, and net zero pledges now cover nearly 25% of global CO2 emissions and 50% of GDP. Trove has analysed how these pledges translate into demand for carbon credits, with the latest estimates ranging from 4 to 8 billion tonnes of total VCM demand between 2021 and 2030 and 50 to 100 billion tonnes between 2021 and 2050. Insurers are also actively planning for the impact on climate perils in policies and carbon is becoming a component of these policies.  The litigation risk posed to corporates for inaction has the potential to be as serious as the litigation faced by the tobacco industry.

 

  1. Energy companies are large consumers of VCM credits and are now experiencing record profits. Not only is this large group of buyers more able to afford VCM credits, but they are likely to be under even more intense scrutiny to do what they can to mitigate climate risks. Combined with the impacts of the war in Ukraine forcing some European countries to rely on higher carbon emitting energy sources, we expect a short-term increase in their use of Voluntary Carbon Market credits. Further, we see another large buying group – airlines through CORSIA – also continuing to maintain demand as travel recovers after the pandemic. Reductions in demand for air travel in the event of deeper economic recession may impact VCM demand from airlines, but we have not seen any evidence to date of this occurring, as airlines are committed to offsetting if demand for travel persists.

 

  1. Ultimately, we believe the specific dynamics of project supply and demand will counter downward price levels. The supply of projects is sensitive to price, particularly in the nature-based sector where commodity price increases are raising the opportunity costs and any price reductions will have a meaningful impact on project development and consequently supply. This will only exacerbate the already tight supply of high-quality projects. It remains challenging to deliver high quality projects, particularly in regions of the world with manifest socioeconomic problems, where we see the most impact. These challenges, and the small number of groups able to deliver high quality projects, remain factors as relevant today as they have been in the past. Further, we see the current inflationary pressures leading to a sustained increase in interest rates. Higher costs of capital for project developers will increasingly put further pressure on the supply of new high-quality projects, particularly if short term pricing remains soft.

 

  1. We observe long-term trends in the financial sector that are likely to continue. Financial services firms are increasingly becoming buyers of carbon credits.  We see firms hedging their exposure to carbon prices through the purchases of credits.  Further, we see more asset managers considering carbon credits as a distinct asset class and that taking a long position in carbon is a natural position. We also see increasing pressure on asset owners to take a leading role in mitigating climate change and to use Voluntary Carbon Market credits as a tool.

 

  1. We anticipate increasing convergence between the VCM and compliance markets and the ability to use VCM credits in many ETS systems over time. We expect this convergence to take place more broadly in the medium to long term,  as the implications of Article 6 play out, although some markets are already beginning to consider VCM credits such as the Japan ETS market launching later this year. The price differential between VCM credits and compliance market allowances can be significant, with VCM credits consistently below that of the compliance market.  This differential we see converging over time as governments will continue to use the carbon price as a policy tool to reduce emissions even while allowing VCM credits to play a role in their systems.

 

The next 6-12 months are going to be interesting. On the one hand, we expect that some Corporates under financial pressure will buy fewer credits  – conversely some Corporates (eg energy companies/finance houses) will buy more or enter the market for the first time. This, coupled with a reduction in supply of high quality credits, should support prices. As we have seen with the recent record heatwave across the UK, climate change is upon us –  the bottom line is that we need to do something about it and, as highlighted by a major corporate we spoke to this week, they are not about to row back on climate commitments any time soon.

 

Picture credit: Northern Kenya Rangelands Project

voluntary carbon market

Respira – Leading the way in the voluntary carbon market

By News

The time is now: How the voluntary carbon market can help us to unite our self-interest and better nature

For scientists, governments and increasingly business leaders, it is clear: the window left in which we can avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change is rapidly closing. There is growing consensus that we must act now. We must reach ‘net zero’ emissions by 2050.

Achieving net zero by 2050 undeniably requires capital at scale. This is where the voluntary carbon market (VCM) can play a crucial role. It can act as a tool to unlock private capital and enable non-state actors, such as corporates, to step up and meet the challenge.

Our newly launched guide, ‘Respira – Leading the way in the voluntary carbon market’, demonstrates how we can unite our self-interest and better nature. Launching the new guide, Respira International’s Co-founder and CEO Ana Haurie said:

“Global net-zero targets require private capital at scale and the Voluntary Carbon Market is essential to delivering this capital. Respira uses its balance sheet to buy carbon credits from nature-based climate solution (NBS) projects. These projects deliver large-scale impacts for the climate, biodiversity and for local communities who will also benefit from Respira’s profit-share model.”

NBS projects involve the protection and restoration of biodiverse forests, vital soils and rare wetland habitats. High-quality nature-based carbon credits, such as ours, are critical; they can provide up to one-third of the emissions mitigation needed to reach our global climate goals. These credits are also particularly successful in delivering an array of vital benefits:

  • Providing verifiable impacts on emissions.
  • Offering proven co-benefits such as strengthening biodiversity, local communities and livelihoods.
  • A near-term route for businesses to mitigate unavoidable GHG emissions.
  • Financial and ESG impacts that create further incentives for the capital flows required for global decarbonisation.

Read our newly launched guide to discover how Respira is leading the way.

1

The time is now – net zero by 2050 requires private capital at scale.
2

The VCM can help deliver that scale with carbon credits generated from tangible, genuine projects that remove, reduce or avoid emissions.
3

Respira has secured a portfolio of long-term, primarily nature-based carbon projects to offer the VCM. Respira operates with an innovative offtake and profit share model giving its project developers certainty and enabling them to share in carbon pricing upside.
4

International corporations can incorporate Respira’s verifiable voluntary carbon credits into their climate strategies helping them to achieve multiple goals and to deliver genuine measurable ESG impacts.

Download our new guide: Respira – Leading the way in the voluntary carbon market

Not only does the voluntary carbon market provide an opportunity to create positive, measurable impacts for both people and the planet, but it also makes compelling business sense. The time to act is now.

Find out how Respira is leading the way and how high-quality nature-based carbon credits can assist you on your pathway to net zero.