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Burapha Agroforestry: A nature-based climate solution

By News

In the lush landscapes of Laos, you will find one of our flagship portfolio projects, Burapha Agroforestry. Since 2016, this nature-based project has been on a mission to demonstrate the mitigation potential of sustainable commercial forestry by restoring degraded lands to capture carbon from the earth’s atmosphere.

Nature-based climate solutions work with the natural world to limit the consequences of our global climate crisis. These projects conserve and restore ecosystems, including terrestrial forests, coastal mangroves and expansive grassland habitats. Burapha Agroforestry, as its name suggests, focuses on productive forests alongside the protection of conservation areas.

Burapha’s plantations are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council with plans to plant over 1,000 trees on each hectare of land inside a 60,000-hectare restoration zone. Do the maths; it’s an impressive ambition.

To ensure maximum impact, the project strategically focuses these restoration efforts on the most degraded areas in western and central Laos, working with local communities on leased land. Often, these are places that were previously used for intensive agriculture and where the soil is most depleted. 

In targeting sites of shifting cultivation, Burapha is systematically replacing intensive farming methods with sustainable agroforestry, which allows for intercropping and grazing until the trees reach maturity. The project has created 4,400 new full-time agroforestry positions and significant casual labour opportunities. In this way, the project creates new employment prospects for local people while simultaneously supporting global climate mitigation efforts.

When planted to full capacity, Burapha’s trees are expected to remove more than 28,000 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere, every year. The project also considers the need for a biodiverse landscape with 12,000 hectares of land designated specifically for conservation, providing a sanctuary for numerous native species including gibbons, Asiatic black bears, and the critically endangered pangolin. 

As the world grapples with an escalating climate crisis, Burapha Agroforestry is an innovative, nature-based climate solution. Not only does the project provide urgently needed carbon sequestration, but it also supports the conservation of remaining forests in the area. It creates alternatives to deforestation, deploys protection areas to enhance ecology and promotes socio-economic development in Laos. There’s no doubt – we need nature to ensure a liveable future for all.

PRESS RELEASE: Spinnaker Capital makes strategic investment in carbon finance pioneer Respira International

By News

London – December 22, 2023, Spinnaker Capital, a prominent emerging markets investment management firm, announced a proprietary strategic investment, alongside existing investor Capricorn’s Sustainable Investment Fund, in Respira International, the impact-driven carbon finance business.

Investment Overview

Since its establishment in 1999, Spinnaker Capital has been a pivotal player in the evolution of emerging markets financial instruments. 

Respira operates with an innovative offtake and profit share model which reinvests back into project stakeholders. 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 build sustainable, climate-positive businesses and portfolios. 

Strategic Implications

This investment reflects Spinnaker Capital’s commitment to the environment and its recognition of a strategic market opportunity. It marks a significant step in the firm’s sustainability journey and positions it to capitalize on the burgeoning voluntary carbon credit market. The collaboration envisages combining Spinnaker’s financial acumen with Respira’s innovative carbon finance strategies, promising future synergies and expanded market opportunities.

 The investment will also allow Respira to access core emerging markets, including Brazil where Spinnaker Capital has a physical presence, as well as providing additional funds to enhance new deal capacity and enable the on-boarding of large corporations and financial institutions.

Statements from Principals

Alexis Habib, founding principal of Spinnaker Capital, remarked: “These projects are beneficial for the environment and for communities in our strategic focus areas – the emerging markets. The voluntary carbon markets today are reminiscent of the EM financial markets of three decades ago, characterized by limited liquidity and lack of standardization. This investment allows us to apply our skills and experience to foster, and benefit from, the evolution of this market.”

Robert Schultz, partner at Capricorn, added: “We believe that the Respira team have the best voluntary carbon markets origination team. The addition of Spinnaker Capital as a strategic investor, with deep domain expertise in emerging markets, allows Respira to gain access to new markets and opportunities.”

Ana Haurie, Respira co-founder and CEO, said: “Scaling the carbon credit market is a prerequisite for any successful journey to Global Net Zero – there is no credible scientific pathway without it. This investment will help Respira reach more of the corporate institutions which hold the influence and – most importantly, the financial power – to deploy rapid and at scale solutions which support business efforts to decarbonise and turn the tide against climate change.”


Satellites in Action: Why Ed Mitchard founded Space Intelligence

By Tech in Action

When he was 15 years old, Ed Mitchard went to Brazil. For a teenager so keenly interested in tropical forests, this was a dream come true. Yet this was no school trip – Ed had won a competition to appear on a Japanese TV show. He now found himself 4,000 miles from home, in the depths of the Amazon rainforest.

Although Ed saw many areas of intact forest on his adventure, he also observed severe degradation and deforestation. Determined to make a difference, Ed pursued biology and forest ecology at university. As he learned more, it soon became clear to him that the world seriously lacked data on forest change. While there was some data on deforestation, Ed found nothing at all on forest regrowth. 

Ever since his undergraduate, Ed has been countering this problem. Becoming a full professor at the University of Edinburgh, he has published approximately 100 papers on different methods for monitoring forest change. Now, as Chief Scientist at his company Space Intelligence, Ed uses innovative satellite technology to provide high-quality data on forest carbon, forest regrowth and habitat loss.

Can you introduce yourself and explain why you founded Space Intelligence?

During my PhD, I developed new ways of working with radar satellites to measure the biomass of tropical forests. Unlike other satellites, radar satellites allowed us to see through clouds from space which is absolutely essential if you want to monitor tropical forests all year round.

I continued to research and write papers on this topic, first as a Research Fellow and then as Professor of Global Change Mapping at the University of Edinburgh. Between 2015 and 2018, a colleague and I received requests from a number of REDD+ projects asking to use our technology to monitor deforestation. It was a little tricky to help them from within the university as they wanted maps within a shorter time frame than we could offer.

At the time, there was no one doing high accuracy monitoring, so the university encouraged us to start a company. So in 2018, we set up Space Intelligence. We were small – I kept my university job and we employed just one other person – but we provided maps to some of the world’s largest NGOs including the Wildlife Conservation Society and The Nature Conservancy. 

Today, we have more than 50 employees and produce on-demand maps to support nature-based solutions. We work with project developers, predominantly in the tropics, who need us to produce the data to enable their carbon credits to be generated and validated. We also work with registries, such as Verra, to generate activity data for host countries. For Verra, we have generated activity data for Kenya and Tanzania which is supporting the introduction of their jurisdictional REDD+ methodology. 

We also work with the stakeholders buying carbon credits from those projects, who tend to be global-north-based corporate and financial investors conducting due diligence. As Chief Scientist, I run the map production side of the business and focus on developing these technologies to improve the data we can offer in the future.

Could you say more on the problem you seek to solve?

Throughout my life, a steady one percent of tropical forest has been lost every single year. I’m 37 now and around 37 percent of the world’s tropical forests have been destroyed since the 1980s. For people, for biodiversity and for our levels of atmospheric CO2, deforestation is a massive crisis.

For a minute, let’s take it back to the ‘big picture’ problem. Every year, humans release about 40 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The burning of fossil fuels accounts for 40 percent of that figure, while another 20 percent comes from deforestation. However, the atmospheric burden of CO2 only goes up by about 20 gigatonnes every year. Yes, this is still a lot, but about half of our emissions are absorbed by the oceans and earth’s vegetation. We need to stop burning coal and reduce our fossil fuel emissions, but simultaneously we must stop deforestation to conserve our natural carbon sink. It’s a no brainer.

Space Intelligence is playing a part in solving this problem. Without measuring forests, how can we know the extent of the problem or when we have made progress? This is why we provide high-quality data on deforestation and forest regrowth to project developers, carbon credit buyers and governments. 

As governments start to make large transfers of cash to countries conserving forests, Space Intelligence is producing the data to make these transactions possible. There’s no way the UK government would transfer tens of billions of dollars a year to different tropical countries based on data produced by those countries themselves. Instead, they want to go to an external independent third party that uses the latest scientific methods.

Space Intelligence exists to be an independent provider of data. We don’t have data precomputed – we talk to clients about their requirements and then produce high-quality maps on demand. Our teams conduct the analysis and then will report back to the client.

Let’s get technical: how does your product work?

Space Intelligence produces on demand maps of land cover and forest carbon. First, I’ll speak about HabitatMapper, our tool to map land cover. 

In HabitatMapper, every pixel is assigned a class such as tropical forest, degraded forest, savannah, grassland, urban area, agricultural land or water. We use a year’s worth of satellite data to determine these classes, meaning that every pixel has been viewed around 400 times using both optical and radar data. 

We use this satellite data to train a machine learning algorithm to assign each pixel to the most likely class. This is very useful for project developers to work out how much forest they have within their site and to assess its deforestation rate.

Our second tool is called CarbonMapper. Instead of placing pixels into landscape classes, CarbonMapper only considers those pixels containing forests. While HabitatMapper would display a forest as uniform, CarbonMapper visualises the differing amounts of carbon stored in each pixel of forest.

You can estimate the carbon stored in a tree very accurately if you measure its diameter, height and water density. Obviously you can’t do all this from space, but on the ground it is very easy to measure a tree’s diameter. Once you know a tree’s species and diameter, height and water density can both be estimated accurately.

Space Intelligence monitors forest canopy height using space-born LIDAR and then correlates these height measurements with local field data. We try not to fly out to the places we map. Instead, our clients will employ local teams to collect field plots. Although this is anyway a requirement of the carbon standards, it provides us with the field data we need to calibrate our equations. From here, we can reveal if a forest is gaining or losing carbon and if deforestation occurs in carbon dense areas.

Could you share a story of success?

I’d like to talk about our recent work with Verra. This November, Verra announced updates to its REDD+ methodology as another step in increasing the overall integrity, transparency and efficiency of carbon markets. Under this revised methodology, it will be Verra, not project developers, who will provide baseline data. What’s more, the data will cover the entire jurisdiction. 

When it considered making these methodology updates, Verra recognised that advancements in remote sensing can provide the accuracy needed to address some of the challenges in the market. Space Intelligence was selected by Verra to produce data for two jurisdictions – Kenya and Tanzania. We worked across an area of approximately 150 million hectares to provide Verra with maps and data on forest coverage and activity data on deforestation.

We followed our usual HabitatMapper process for this work, which included mapping around eight classes for each region across three time periods. We then converted these land cover maps to change maps with the following classes:

  • Stable forest; 
  • Stable non-forest;
  • Deforestation; and 
  • Reforestation.

In this type of work, distinguishing between vegetation types, especially accounting for seasonal changes, can be challenging. Indeed, an aerial view can change quite dramatically within the year as parts of the country look drier and wetter at different times. 

To overcome these challenges, we sought the expertise of our ecologists and local partners in Kenya and Tanzania to identify the different vegetation types in our satellite imagery. Without this in-house ecological expertise – and without applying it to our machine learning models – our estimates of deforestation rates would not be accurate.

To test the performance of the maps, we undertook an independent accuracy assessment. More than 1,600 sample points were assessed, both internally and by our project partners, the Kenya Forest Service. For any points we disagreed on, we met for resolution sessions. As a result, we were able to supply Verra with jurisdictional level data with confidence.

And finally, what’s next for Space Intelligence?

As well as providing our on-demand maps, we’d like to continuously monitor our clients’ project sites. We want project developers to have a platform through which to access monthly data on their area and quickly catch illegal deforestation or natural degradation. It would also provide a visualised record of conservation successes that could be shared with customers and the public. 

The prototypes are developing well, so our aim is for this product to be ready by the summer of next year. When I started out, there weren’t many people working in forest change mapping, but now I feel there is a lot more interest and commitment to stop deforestation.


Learn more about Space Intelligence here.

Contact Respira

PRESS RELEASE: Respira announces intention to purchase up to 50,000 carbon removal credits from Capture6

By News

Press release: 29th November 2023

  • Expanding its global carbon removal and reduction initiatives, Respira adds the first direct air capture (DAC) project to its portfolio


LONDON, UK – 29 November – Respira, an impact-driven carbon finance business, has announced its intention to purchase up to 50,000 direct air capture (DAC) carbon credits from Capture6, a water-positive carbon removal company.

This will be Respira’s first investment in direct air capture technology and represents an expansion of its engineered carbon removals portfolio, following the signing of an MOU with BECCS (Bioenergy Carbon Capture & Storage) pioneer, Drax, as the business builds on its market leading nature-based portfolio. 

Ana Haurie, CEO of Respira commented: “The voluntary carbon market is going to be vital if we are to tackle the climate crisis and we must use all of the tools at our disposal. This new agreement enhances our portfolio of nature-based projects that are reducing carbon emissions today, with an exciting new technological solution that will be an important part of removing carbon from the atmosphere into the future.”  

This pre-purchase will support Capture6’s groundbreaking project in the United Arab Emirates, where world leaders will meet later this month for COP28 in Dubai. Capture6’s technology integrates direct air capture while generating freshwater and has the potential to eliminate the disposal of excess brine into the fragile marine environment.

Capture6’s technology can deliver significant additional decarbonization associated with green industrial chemical production. The processes can operate at ambient temperature, without any need for thermal energy, so the process can run on 100% renewable energy. This enables Capture6’s technology to yield high net negativity for carbon removal and drives scalability and cost efficiency. Given these synergies between desalination, carbon removal, and decarbonization, the UAE represents a unique opportunity for Capture6 to demonstrate the full potential of its technology in delivering impactful climate solutions to the world. 

The CEO of Capture6, Dr. Ethan Cohen-Cole, expressed his enthusiasm about this offtake agreement: “Our partnership with Respira marks a pivotal step in realizing our vision of scalable, sustainable solutions for carbon removal. Together, we are not only mitigating the impacts of climate change but also pioneering innovations that contribute to the long-term well-being of our planet.”

United Arab Emirates could remove ~158 million tons of atmospheric CO2 by incorporating Capture6’s technology into its existing desalination facilities. Capture6’s innovative process has the added advantage of increasing the freshwater production capacity of existing seawater desalination plants by up to 50%. This industry promises significant economic growth and the creation of tens of thousands of jobs in the country.

The pre-purchase of CDR credits by Respira shows clear support for Capture’s goal to decarbonize industries while at the same time reducing emissions and increasing freshwater supplies. Global temperatures have already risen 1.2°C from pre-industrial levels due to burning fossil fuels. According to the Paris Agreement, we need to keep global warming under 1.5°C to avert the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. Reaching that target is no longer possible by reducing emissions alone, a fact highlighted in the latest IPCC report. Permanent and irreversible carbon removal must be deployed at unprecedented speed and scale.



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 project stakeholders.  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 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

About Capture6

Capture6 is a water-positive carbon removal company based in California and New Zealand leveraging its technology to support climate resilience and industrial decarbonization. The company develops and commercializes highly scalable approaches to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Capture6 is pioneering an approach that can be deployed today by repurposing existing industrial-scale technologies. Additionally, when coupled with desalination facilities, Capture6 can recover over 50% of freshwater from desalination waste brine for drinking and industrial purposes in the process of removing CO₂. This creates a meaningful synergy between carbon removal and water security. Learn more at

Removal in action: How Antti Vihavainen is growing the engineered carbon removal market

By News, Tech in Action

Antti Vihavainen is certain. He is sure that hope alone will not solve the climate crisis. For Antti, hope must always be accompanied by action if a true impact is to be made. It is on this firm belief that his company,, was founded in 2018. Ever since, has been actively expanding the tech-based carbon removals sector with a carbon crediting program dedicated to engineered carbon removal. 

Engineered carbon removal differs from nature-based carbon removal. Rather than investing in natural carbon sinks, such as forests and soil, engineered carbon removal uses technology to draw and store greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Methods including carbon capture and storage (CCS) and direct air capture (DAC) store the emissions they remove securely, often in vast underground geologic formations. 

In the past five years, has validated the technological removal activities of more than 50 companies and facilitated the sale of verified credits to corporate stakeholders to support their decarbonisation strategies. Here, Antti shares his motivations and reveals how is scaling the engineered carbon removal market.

Can you introduce yourself and explain why you decided to found

In 2017, it became apparent to me. I realised the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) was already too high. Although I’ve always been interested in the climate, this was a pivotal moment for me. I realised that our emissions reduction efforts were simply not fast enough and that humanity faced an unprecedented, runaway climate catastrophe.

Yet, there was something else I recognised. While emissions soared, more and more research was being conducted into technological methods for removing carbon from the atmosphere. But something was missing – these engineered climate solutions were not being sufficiently commercialised. With the climate crisis at our door, I wanted to explore the commercialisation of tech-based carbon removal with the aim of facilitating the growth of new, net-negative carbon industries. So in 2018, I co-founded, the first carbon crediting program focused exclusively on technology-driven carbon removals.

Could you say more on the problem you seek to solve? solves the very same issues that first drew me to the world of engineered carbon removal. With such extensive research into these technologies, I had identified a real need for commercialisation. So, first and foremost, is a platform dedicated to harmonising the climate effects of different carbon removal methods. In this way, assists in the overall scaling of engineered carbon removal. We want to help the removals market grow in efficiency and enable more companies to embark on a science-based pathway to reach a state of net-zero emissions. 

Since we launched, has pioneered several of the world’s first crediting methodologies for engineered carbon removal. While we bring together a range of removal activities, our criteria always remains the same. We look for methods which can be scientifically verified; that durably capture and store CO2 for 100+ years and which have the potential to scale industrially. We believe that in facilitating corporate engagement with engineered carbon removal, we can drive the development of a strong, carbon net-negative economy. It’s our aim to galvanise further investment in these technologies. 

Let’s get technical: How does your product work?

Our platform brings together suppliers of carbon net-negative technologies and climate-conscious companies. We have developed our own Puro Standard with which to verify CO2 Removal Certificates (CORCs). Each CORC represents one tonne of CO2 that has been removed from the atmosphere via an engineered method and stored long-term in carbon net-negative processes or products. 

We are particularly proud of our Puro Standard for it is the first to assess carbon credits generated exclusively from such tech-based removal activities. The methodologies of the Puro Standard are science-based and durable, meaning that companies can depend on them for precise emission compensation. To maintain independence, the Puro Standard is managed by an Advisory Board which oversees any proposed changes to its rules and requirements.

On our platform, buyers can browse the available tech-based carbon removal suppliers and explore purchase options. However, buyers do not purchase CORCs through Instead they negotiate an agreement directly with an accredited CORC supplier or via our network of carbon marketplaces connected to our registry. CORCs can either be bought as a spot purchase or as an advance market commitment. In the latter, the buyer agrees to purchase CORCs that will be verified in the future. Known as Pre-CORCs, these are certificates that allow companies to pre-pay for validated projections of engineered CO2 removal. Only after such a carbon removal has been independently verified are Pre-CORCs converted into CORCs.

Can you share a story of success?

In the five years since our launch, we have grown to be the world’s leading crediting platform for engineered carbon removal. Now, more than 50 companies have issued CORCs and are selling them directly to corporations or via the carbon marketplaces connected to our registry. 

It is hard to choose just one story of success because throughout 2023 we have formed numerous partnerships and made agreements with other companies in the engineered removals space! In July, we announced our CORCs would be available on Xpansiv’s CBL Spot Exchange platform, while in September  we signed an agreement with the carbon capture company, Climeworks. Moreover, we are working to develop Africa’s first DAC facility with Octavia Carbon and Cella. We consider such collaborations to be essential in the expansion of the tech-based removals market.

And finally, what’s next for 

There’s so much innovation happening within the climate space that we are constantly impressed with the suggestions we are given the opportunity to assess. Amid so much fast-paced transformation, we expect to jump one order of magnitude in the next 18 months and make a second leap by 2027.


Disclaimer: Respira International does not have any undisclosed affiliation with Read more about here.

Respira founding member of Kita’s Carbon Supplier Pool as market develops

By News

We are pleased to announce that Respira is a founding member of Kita’s Carbon Supplier Pool. Taking a new, innovative approach, the carbon insurance specialist now offers clients of its Carbon Purchase Protection Cover the option to receive claims in carbon credits. We welcome such professionalism in the voluntary carbon market, viewing these developments as clear, positive markers of growth for the industry.

As a Lloyd’s of London coverholder, Kita’s Carbon Purchase Cover insures buyers of forward-purchased carbon credits against under-delivery. Kita’s new approach highlights its commitment to scaling the carbon markets and to supporting client’s high integrity net zero goals. 

Kita will work closely with lead capacity provider, Chaucer, to review and assess claims and offer replacement carbon credit payment. Cash payment for eligible claims will also remain an option. Any replacement carbon credits for eligible claims will be distributed from Kita’s proprietary Carbon Supplier Pool. Respira is proud to join Everland, Pachama and Vertree as the founding members of this pool.

Speaking on the new developments, Kita’s CEO and co-founder, Natalie Dorfman, said:

“Kita’s mission is to drive more financing to scale high-integrity carbon projects, and we believe insurance is a key enabler to do this. We are proud to be leading the field when it comes to paying claims in carbon, and look forward to working with, and expanding, our Carbon Supplier Pool as we move forward.”

Kita shares more in a press release here. Read more about Kita’s products here and more about Respira’s portfolio of carbon credits here.

Retired carbon credits explained

By News

When we hear the word ‘retirement’, most might imagine a pension, large quantities of free time and perhaps a new-found love of gardening. Given these connotations, it is perhaps unsurprising that used in the context of the voluntary carbon market, the concept of retirement can create confusion.

In the carbon markets, retirement has a different meaning. In its essence, a retired carbon credit means its buyer has ‘redeemed’ the one tonne of carbon reduction it represents and claimed it against their own emissions which they have not yet been able to cut. 

When a buyer retires a credit they have purchased, the credit is removed from the market. This means no one else is able to counterbalance their emissions based on the carbon reduction the credit represents. 

To put this in context, 196 million carbon credits were retired overall in 2022. If these retirements had been evenly distributed throughout the year, more than 500,000 credits would have been retired every, single day. Although this represents a 1.3 percent decline on the previous year, the most recent market sentiment survey from the IETA found optimism among its respondents. Based on the responses from market participants the survey predicts that the market will soon return to a positive upward trajectory.

Wait, how are credits generated?

To truly understand the concept of a retired carbon credit, let us first refresh ourselves on the basics of credits.

What? A carbon credit represents one tonne of carbon dioxide or an equivalent volume of another greenhouse gas (CO2e) that has been either removed from, or prevented from entering, the atmosphere. 

However, historically not all credits have been created equally. Learn more about the criteria for a ‘good’ credit with this article from our archives.

How? A credit can be generated from nature-based projects, technological climate solutions or even renewable energy generation. The volume of CO2e avoided or removed from the atmosphere is calculated and a corresponding number of carbon credits is conservatively calculated. 

The calculation process involves following established methodologies, baseline allocation and verification. Find out more about this process here.

Why? Carbon credits are sold to individuals and businesses to support their decarbonisation strategies. The carbon finance generated from these sales funds further climate mitigation activities and can even support the delivery of impactful, non-carbon benefits for people and nature.

For an example of carbon credits in action, please see this case study of the Gola Rainforest Conservation Project. And to learn more about the responsible purchase of credits, see this flyer on the mitigation hierarchy.

But why do you need to retire credits at all?

In this section we will cover why carbon credits need to be retired, including:

  • Confirming impact
  • Claims
  • Double-counting

When a buyer purchases carbon credits in line with the mitigation hierarchy, the positive benefits of those credits are not automatically attributed to that individual or company. Rather, the buyer ‘holds’ these credits until they wish to retire them. However, once a retirement has been executed, the buyer is free to claim the positive impacts the credits represent. This effectively ends the credit’s ‘life’ for it cannot be reused or reclaimed.

In this way, retirement stops the benefits of credit from being claimed multiple times. In the industry, this is known as preventing double-counting. Only the stakeholder who retires the credit can claim the emission reduction it represents towards its climate targets and they can only do so once. Retirement is extremely important for driving credibility and traceability when using carbon credits to achieve net zero.

What’s the process for retired carbon credits?

Before a carbon project can issue credits, it will complete a process of verification which happens within a framework set up by a programme, such as VCS by Verra or Gold Standard. Only after verification are credits issued in a dedicated registry. Credits are always marked with a unique serial number which allows them to be tracked and accounted for.

Carbon credits can be owned by a number of market participants – the project developer, financing institution, intermediary or a company wishing to use them to counterbalance their own emissions. They can be traded, sometimes several times, among the market participants. This means that carbon credits can exist, unretired, for some time. However, at the point of retirement carbon credits are permanently removed from circulation and cannot be resold. This prevents any double-counting of emission reductions. Information on historic retirements is stored in publicly accessible emission registries, driving transparency for the market.

The future of retired carbon credits

As technology advances, stakeholders across the voluntary carbon market are working to better the carbon markets including the retirement process itself. Blockchain, Tokenization and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) all hold great potential for scaling of the voluntary carbon markets. These technologies can boost the overall transparency of credit retirements and support the overall integrity of the markets. We look forward to engaging with new innovations as the world of credit retirements develops and interacts with these emerging technologies.

Carbon Credits

“We are not a broker, we’re a carbon finance company”

By News

Traditionally, carbon credits have been bought and sold by brokers on a spot basis, but at Respira, we operate differently, and have helped to shift towards a carbon finance model of carbon credit trading. We recognise that the broker approach creates little long-term certainty for carbon communities, and, at times, even curtails the development of high-quality projects. This is why we offer an alternative – a model prioritising the overall stability of our flagship portfolio projects. 

Respira is not a broker. Rather, we are a source of non-dilutive private capital. We offer revenue certainty for project developers through a guaranteed floor price for carbon credits and use our balance sheet to support them with long-term offtake agreements. Not only does this enable project developers to expand with confidence, but also creates greater certainty for our buyers who can lock-in future prices. 


The Respira model

The Respira ethos 

Respira International was co-founded by Ana Haurie and Robin Bowie in 2019. They saw the urgency with which we must address the climate crisis and recognised the role the private sector must play in these efforts. To drive the necessary levels of corporate action, the voluntary carbon market offered great potential. Speaking of the role of high-quality carbon credits in mitigation, Robin said:

“Buying voluntary carbon credits provides an engaging and impactful way for companies to compensate for residual emissions whilst on the pathway to reducing internal emissions. It enables corporations to go beyond what they are mandated to do through regulation.”

He continues:

“Through integrated plans which combine value chain emissions reductions with appropriate use of carbon credits, corporations can set a powerful and engaging example for others to follow.”

Now, four years later, Respira International continues to expand. Our diverse team combines a 30+ year track record in global financial markets with a deep understanding of carbon project development in leading international conservation organisations. 

Reflecting on the Respira team, Chris Villiers, Director of Portfolio Management, said:

“Respira has brought together a team with the network and experience to develop products in the voluntary carbon market that can attract institutional capital at scale that will be used towards reducing emissions globally and deliver significant climate impact.”

The time is now

Our team knows we cannot delay climate action. In the next seven years, we must significantly decarbonise our economies if we are to meet the targets set by the Paris Agreement. Eva Weightman, Director of Corporate Client Relations, said: 

“With 2030 fast approaching, there is no time to sit idle. The world needs business leaders to act with urgency and curb their companies’ emissions if we are to limit global temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre industrial levels. ”

Chief Technology Officer, Jon Mulder agrees:

“The time to act on decarbonisation and nature restoration has never been more critical. The solutions exist today and must be scaled and deployed more rapidly. We all have a role to play and carbon credits provide a vital service in protecting and restoring nature.”

If we are to achieve our 2030 ambitions, Finance Director, Peter Christie, argues that businesses must take voluntary action on climate mitigation.

“In the absence of direct regulation by governments, companies need to voluntarily ramp up their decarbonisation efforts so we can collectively solve the climate crisis. Carbon credits are an essential part of the business toolkit.”

Respira is committed to nature

However, carbon credits are not uniform in the benefits they deliver. Credits can be generated from activities which remove carbon from the atmosphere or from projects that prevent additional carbon emissions from release. But regardless of whether a project focuses on removal or avoidance, they can deliver a great many benefits for people and nature. It is with these projects – those with measurable impacts, aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals – that Respira partners.

This is why our flagship portfolio focuses predominantly upon nature-based projects such as forest conservation or mangrove restoration. Director Natural Climate Solutions, Ed Hewitt, further explains Respira’s investment rationale.

“There is a critical need to attach a monetary value to services that nature provides such as carbon capture, water quality, clean air and biodiversity.”

Ed continues:

“Carbon is really the first to be monetised at scale. By doing this we can financially incentivise the conservation and restoration of forests, soils and wetlands, helping us address the twin challenges of climate change and nature loss.”

Josh Schaefer, our Portfolio Director, explains that climate change and nature loss are inseparable challenges.

“Global emissions reductions can’t be achieved without tackling nature loss, because the earth’s natural ecosystems absorb roughly half of man-made carbon emissions – as well as providing numerous other benefits for people and biodiversity. Verified carbon credits have proved to be an effective way to finance the protection of natural ecosystems.”

Our CEO, Ana Haurie, concludes with a call to action:

“The time for the financial sector to act on climate is now. The predicted growth of the voluntary carbon market, with an increasing focus on nature-based solutions, provides a unique opportunity for institutional investors to benefit from this new asset class, while also supporting sustainable development goals and making a positive impact,” she said.

We encourage you to view our introductory video to learn more of our non-broker approach. And if you would like to find out more about our team, you can read more here.

Leakage: What does it mean for carbon credits?

By News

When a government declares one forest protected, who’s to say it won’t grant a logging concession for another? If a forest can no longer be cleared for subsistence agriculture, then where do these family farmers go? If carbon project developers are not careful, the answer can simply be: to the forest ‘next door’.

In the voluntary carbon market, this is known as leakage – a situation in which deforestation activities are not prevented, merely shifted from one area to another. It is a conundrum with which the market has grappled for years. Yet, despite making progress on leakage limitation, the ways in which project developers tackle the issue are not generally well understood. Cue this explainer.

What is REDD+?

But first, we must lay the foundations. Without a solid understanding of REDD+, you will likely be lost when it comes to the matter of leakage. Broadly, REDD+ refers to forest conservation activities but it also has a more specific meaning. According to UNFCCC, REDD+ activities work to “reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and degradation while promoting the sustainable management of forests and the conservation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.”

REDD+ can occur at different scales. There is project level – usually tens to hundreds of thousands of hectares and normally run by NGOs or social enterprises – and there is the jurisdictional level – typically millions of hectares and can be run by a project developer under national or subnational frameworks. For every type of REDD+ project, it must ensure local people have the chance to give their free, prior informed consent to its activities and that is before it is verified by the industry’s standards bodies.

Whatever the scale, REDD+ can address different types of deforestation and degradation. There is avoided planned deforestation and avoided unplanned deforestation. Unplanned deforestation is inherently local, driven mainly by subsistence agriculture whereas planned deforestation usually takes place under government approved logging or agricultural development concessions. However, concessions need not always be destructive – they can be granted for conservation activities too.

When does leakage occur?

The risk of leakage presents differently depending on the project type. In avoided unplanned deforestation projects, leakage occurs when subsistence farmers stop clearing trees inside the conservation area but instead cut the trees outside of it.

In avoided planned deforestation projects, leakage can occur if the government hands out a concession for an NGO or social enterprise to conserve one area of forest while simultaneously granting a different concession to a company to log another. However, if a project operates on a jurisdictional level, the risk is that the deforestation or degradation activities are shifted to the neighbouring jurisdiction.

But whatever the project type, when leakage does occur, it underlines the level of pressure facing forests. If there is leakage, there is clearly a need for more conservation activities in an area. 

What can be done to address leakage?

There is a misconception in carbon markets that leakage from REDD+ projects continues unaddressed. Yet this perception is outdated –  leakage limitation has always been considered and incorporated into a project’s design. 

Whether it operates at a project level or a jurisdictional level, developers assess leakage risk as part of their verification processes and to monitor deforestation in its ‘leakage belt’ – an area outside of the project’s own conservation remit. Based on these calculations, it is standard practice for a project to set aside between 10 and 20 percent of the credits it produces as insurance against forest damage or leakage. This is known as a buffer pool.

What’s more, project’s often work to tackle the underlying drivers of deforestation and degradation in the surrounding landscape. In avoided, unplanned REDD+ projects, leakage can be addressed by offering alternative income streams to subsistence farmers and educating local people on agricultural practices.

It can also be tackled through the sustainable intensification of agriculture. While this might sound like an oxymoron, it is actually a clever conservation strategy. It shifts agricultural expansion away from standing forests and towards marginal lands or to areas historically cleared.

On the other hand, addressing leakage from planned deforestation usually requires government cooperation. If logging is identified as a major cause of emissions, market leakage is one way to reduce risk. Developers would use a national timber extraction figure and calculate the percentage of forest potentially lost to logging across the project area.

Indeed, if deforestation reduction targets are set at a jurisdictional level, it can incentivise conservation across the whole country for governments, bound by national commitments, are less likely to offer conservation concessions in one area and logging concessions in another.

At the same time, it must be acknowledged that coordinating all the political, economic and social actors in a jurisdictional REDD+ project can be a challenge. This role sometimes falls to NGOs, but there is a case to be made that this should be a government’s own responsibility. 

Regardless of whether a project works to prevent planned or unplanned deforestation, if leakage persists the developers will take precautionary action. They will reduce the overall number of credits issued by the project to prevent instances of over-crediting. 

Case study: Leakage limitation success

Makame Savannah, a project developed by Carbon Tanzania, has been successfully working to address the drivers of unplanned deforestation around its expansive conservation area. Spanning more than 360,000 hectares, this Wildlife Management Area has become a safespace for trees and wildlife. Indeed, since the project began in 2016, more than one million trees that would otherwise have been cut continue to stand. Based on Makame’s conservation work, 517,000 carbon credits have been verified and issued, including 330,00 to Respira.

Carbon Tanzania has woven leakage accounting into the very fabric of Makame Savannah’s project design. Taking a conservative approach to calculating leakage and issuing credits, 28 percent are not sold on the market, withheld instead as a buffer. At the same time, Carbon Tanzania operates proactively, engaging in specific leakage mitigation activities to reduce overall risk. 

What’s more, Carbon Tanzania works directly with local communities to address the underlying drivers of deforestation. The foundation of this approach is to reduce the daily cost of living to individuals and therefore reducing the financial necessity to fell trees for short-term economic gains.

Therefore, Carbon Tanzania ensures that revenues from these credit sales are distributed to members of the local community. So far these funds have been predominantly allocated to education and healthcare. Children have benefitted from scholarships, which has simultaneously lifted financial pressure from their families. Many individuals have received health insurance cards which, funded by the project, allow them to be treated in local hospitals for free. And in October 2022, more than 60 students had their university fees entirely covered by carbon revenue. 

Makame Savannah also employs local people for surveillance. Together, the team monitors the area for signs of poaching and agricultural expansion, catching some of the underlying activities driving deforestation early on. These holistic approaches adopted by Makame Savannah work to reduce leakage around the project area and clearly demonstrate how leakage can be minimised if effectively factored into a project’s design.

Projects like Makame Savannah give us confidence that the risk of leakage is taken seriously by project developers. However, while efforts are made to tackle the underlying drivers of unplanned deforestation and degradation, we also understand that occasionally leakage can still occur. Standard practice in the market provides assurance. In the event of leakage does occur, less credits are issued and a projects insurance buffer pool prevents any over-crediting from taking place.




When are carbon credits most effective?

By News

It is often said that a bad workman blames their tools. As with many old proverbs, this saying does contain a morsel of truth, especially when applied to the voluntary carbon market. 

Recently, we have seen more cases of criticism directed at carbon credits and those who use them. But this is not always justified; it is not the credits themselves which are to blame. They are simply a mechanism which – when used wisely – can drive action for climate and nature. 

So while critics are busy accusing companies of using carbon credits to avoid meaningfully reducing emissions, a study has been quietly investigating the reality of this claim. Its findings revealed this statement to be far from the truth – it reported a positive correlation between an investment in carbon credits and the speed with which a company decarbonises.

So if it’s not the carbon credits themselves, then what can go wrong? Issues can arise during both the supply and the demand stages, so it’s important to understand what constitutes best practice. Choosing the best solution is challenging, particularly if you are new to the market, so here we outline the key traits which define high quality supply of, and high integrity demand for carbon credits. 

High-quality supply

In many ways, the success of including carbon credits within a corporate net zero strategy is determined long before a company decides to counterbalance their emissions. Ultimately, success is reliant upon the original quality of the credit supply which places a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of carbon project developers.

Firstly, developers must ensure that their project – be it forest conservation or mangrove restoration – would not have been possible without carbon finance. Only if credits are generated from an activity that would not otherwise be possible, can a project be classed as ‘additional’. When searching for high quality, it is essential that buyers check if a project’s additionality is verified.

Project developers should also take every precaution to ensure the benefits of their project are long-lasting. This applies, not just to its potential for climate mitigation, but also to any beyond-carbon benefits it offers to local people and the surrounding biodiversity. If a project’s impacts are short lived, it is not possible to consider its credits high quality.

The good news is that the voluntary carbon market is increasingly regulated. Buyers should always look to see if carbon credits are verified before they purchase. This means that any advertised emissions reductions have been measured and accounted for by an independent third-party agency. This includes analysis of the scientific methodologies used to calculate project baselines and regular surveillance of project areas. Emerging ‘nature tech’ is already paving the way for increasingly reliable verification across the carbon markets. 

There is also increasing guidance available to help buyers understand the characteristics of high quality carbon credits. For example, earlier this year, the IC-VCM released the much-anticipated Core Carbon Principles to set a minimum criteria for high quality carbon credits. This will help corporates to evaluate credits prior to purchase and ensure that they are engaging with climate solutions which bring genuine, long-lasting benefits.


High-integrity demand

However high the supply-side quality, credits cannot drive meaningful climate action unless the demand side operates with integrity. Corporates are encouraged to follow the mitigation hierarchy when considering using carbon credits to support their environmental action. This model advises that carbon credits are purchased only after every effort has been made to cut emissions from across the company’s value chain.


A diagram of the mitigation hierarchy which shows carbon credits as the fifth and final measure companies should consider in their net zero strategies. First they should avoid, minimise, rectify and reduce.

Recent years have seen growth, both due to mandatory disclosure and reporting initiatives such as the TCFD, and from the voluntary carbon market. More than 3,000 corporations have so far set net zero targets and are increasingly motivated to demonstrate their climate credentials to end consumers. This means many more are opting to voluntarily purchase credits to counterbalance their residual emissions in the near to medium term.

As more corporates are turning to carbon credits, organisations such as the VCMI focuses on regulating the environmental claims which can be made following purchase. Its work on the Provisional Claims Code of Practice is designed to address allegations of greenwashing and to ensure any claims made are entirely science-based and credible. 

Speaking of the growing body of regulation and guidance, our Director of Business Development Will Close-Brooks said: 

“If we take all of these together, we see an increasingly robust foundation from which the market can grow with integrity over the coming years.”

Indeed, operating under these guidelines, carbon credits are truly a mechanism to celebrate. Sourced from high quality projects and implemented with integrity, they hold enormous potential to drive climate action.


For more information on what makes a good carbon credit, please consider our previous article here.