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Carbonfuture’s High-Quality Carbon Removal Credits Get Selected as Part of Microsoft’s Commitment to Become Carbon Negative by 2030

Carbonfuture is thrilled to be supporting a further ambitious climate pledge turn into ambitious climate action.

Staying true to the spirit of innovation Microsoft brings to areas such as software development and AI, the tech giant is applying the same level of ingenuity to its climate policies by being one of the first companies to have conducted appropriate due diligence on their carbon removal procurement. Supporting them on their self-named “climate moonshot” commitment is Carbonfuture.

As part of Microsoft's corporate climate pledge, they released a second request for proposals in 2021 (following the first in July 2020), from which Carbonfuture has been chosen as a provider of high-quality, biochar-based carbon removal credits. The extensive selection process was based upon stringent criteria, such as clarity of carbon accounting, durability, potential leakage, co-benefits and other environmental and social considerations. To deliver on the climate action, we worked with our long-term partner Pacific Biochar and their innovative triple-bottom-line project in Sonoma County, California, which gives forest biomass a second life, reduces catastrophic wildfire risk, produces renewable energy and helps the climate as well as local farmers by improving soil health and crop yield.

Merging the analog with algorithms

Physical carbon removal meets digital tracking

Many of today's tech giants have made their name by successfully combining aspects of the digital world with aspects of the physical world. At Carbonfuture, we follow the same path, effectively combining real-world CO2 removal efforts with seamless blockchain-based documentation of the climate action rendered.

“Carbonfuture takes a multi-faceted approach to carbon removal by delivering long-term CO2 sequestration, with fully digitized, end-to-end tracking of the resulting credits. We need this type of innovation to advance the nascent carbon removal market.” Elizabeth Willmott, carbon program director at Microsoft.

Getting to zero is a race to the top

In addition to extensive emission reduction efforts, which prevent new emissions from entering the atmosphere, scientists and policy makers alike agree that to keep within the 1.5° target, active carbon dioxide removal in the gigaton range will be needed. This entails both unavoidable and historic emissions. Corporations such as Microsoft have early-on recognized the essential role they play in enabling the world to reach this narrow goal and have made their climate pledges accordingly. Even with timely action being of the essence, businesses should not be willing to compromise on factors such as quality and rigor for speed, which is exactly where Carbonfuture’s idea was born.

Our mission: focus on solid climate performance by providing trusted carbon removal credits. This claim is made possible in multiple ways. By utilizing a defensively quantified carbon capturing capacity of the climate solutions behind our credits, we guarantee scientifically defensible and long-term removal certificates.

Our tamper-proof, digital tracking technology which is based on an innovative and low energy blockchain further supports the trustworthiness of the certificates. The use of this technology offers a unique “credit-to-cradle look-through” and eliminates the possibility of double-counting.

Carbonfuture’s fully digital platform is used to guarantee the secure and stringent documentation of all climate-preserving activities generated by any project, enabling the stringent selection criteria of high-profile clients such as Microsoft to be met.

“We are proud to assist Microsoft in fulfilling their climate pledge of becoming carbon negative by 2030 and removing all historic emissions by 2050. Ambition is essential in having a real effect on climate change. As trailblazers in the corporate sustainability field, Microsoft more than delivers upon this criterion. Our role at Carbonfuture is providing the scientifically-verified and transparent carbon removal solutions needed to translate these ambitions into impactful climate action.” Hannes Junginger-Gestrich, CEO at Carbonfuture.

Science can deliver economic, environmental, and social benefits

Pacific Biochar's approach helps local farmers

Microsoft’s carbon removal portfolio seeks solutions that provide maximum positive impact, transparency, and collective market intelligence with a high degree of scientific integrity. Carbonfuture’s proposal was particularly convincing, as it not only offered a market-ready, persistent and measurable solution in the form of biochar, but was also able to demonstrate an innovative triple-bottom-line approach to rendering the climate action itself.

The circular-economy concept taken by our Californian-based partner Pacific Biochar, gives forest biomass a second life, reduces catastrophic wildfire risk, produces renewable energy and helps the climate as well as local farmers by improving soil health and crop yield.

Officially recognized by the IPCC and often hailed as a “sweet spot” between the nature-based and technological carbon sequestering solutions, biochar combines ecosystem benefits with scientifically accurate measurability. Creating the substance involves burning biomass in an oxygen-limited environment through a process called pyrolysis. The resulting biochar can then be applied to soils, providing large co-benefits, such as increased water retention capacity, reduction of nutrient leakage and filtering of toxins, which in turn reduces the need for fertilizers.

Biochar is applied to soils

In the case of the Pacific Biochar project, residue biomass, collected from high-risk forest fire areas is used and turned into this more stable form of carbon. Repurposing existing bioenergy infrastructure to produce the biochar offers an extremely cost-efficient and scalable solution to meet growing demand for this climate solution as well as to address climate change in general.

“These are exciting times. Our knowledge about the multiple benefits that biochar provides is finally aligning with public awareness as well as the inventiveness of financial institutions and large companies to commit significant resources. These help identify, analyze, validate, and ultimately reward principles and practices that deliver durable carbon removal, contributing to the world we all want to see. Biochar delivers negative carbon emissions with outstanding ecosystem benefits at a better price than almost any other solution on the market today. We’re proud to join Carbonfuture and Microsoft on a journey that will rapidly scale solutions to meet this moment.Josiah Hunt from Pacific Biochar Benefit Corporation

United around going the extra mile

The common denominator in this joint effort: a willingness to take a step beyond the necessary in tackling the climate crisis. However, this project entails more far-reaching consequences. While for the tech giant, it means their own carbon removal goals can be attained with the highest-available standards and reliability, the procurement also sends a clear demand signal to the entire emerging carbon removal market. Microsoft’s purchase is therefore not only supposed to enable their future needs to be met (5m to 6m tons of carbon by 2030), but also pave the way in helping corporate demand volumes beyond their own scope to be fulfilled in the ongoing race towards a net zero world.

Such a “net zero 21st century” will only be achieved by significantly scaling-up the current CDR market. And at Carbonfuture, we have engrained this need into the roots of our business case: By not only acting as an intermediary between sellers and buyers, but much more as a one-stop-shop for trusted carbon removal solutions, we are bootstrapping essential supply and long-term offtake agreements. These strong connections with an extensive network have already given us the ability to offer removal volumes in the 10.000 – 100.000 tonnes range. However, growth should never happen at the cost of quality, which is why we exclusively select trustworthy, high-impact projects and often take a financing stake in the project development, with all mentioned projects adhering to the same high Carbonfuture quality standards. With this approach, we aim to position ourselves as the right partner for further procurements, such as the deal with Microsoft.

Modern tech companies have a huge influence and an equally large responsibility; they shape how we engage with the world and the information we see on a daily basis. Microsoft is taking a lead role in scaling permanent carbon removals. It actively supports long-term supplier contracts to meet current and future market demand. It chooses high-quality projects based on rigorous documentation and it acknowledges giant leaps and small steps go hand-in-hand. Carbonfuture’s mission embodies every single one of these points, which is why we are particularly proud to support Microsoft in shaping the way we face the climate crisis.Matthias Ansorge, CTO at Carbonfuture

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