Sprint 1: Ecosystem Formation

Frontrunners tackle the Construction Stored Carbon monetisation challenge

Sacha Brons, Sprint & Intervention Lead
Hanny van Hout, Operations Lead
Tijn Tjoelker, Intervention Manager
Sven Jense, Sprint Lead

Amsterdam, May 1, 2023

The big picture

Currently, the use of conventional construction materials such as concrete, steel and aluminium is responsible for around 11% of annual global CO2 emissions. By transitioning to the use of biobased materials, our built environment could become a carbon sink, storing 11% of annual global CO2 emissions by 2040. Additionally, this transition provides a myriad of other benefits: cleaner, faster and safer construction processes, more pleasant internal building climates and a potential to develop local value chains (see this Dutch article). 

Just one piece of the puzzle is missing: bridging the cost gap between bio-based and conventional materials throughout the whole value-chain. For a biobased construction industry to reach economies of scale, equitable and reliable transition finance is needed that benefits all stakeholders in bio-based value chains (see image 1). Crucially, such financial flows must provide strong incentives for sustainable, ecological land and forest management. In 2023, it is our mission at Climate Cleanup to develop an open-source mechanism to provide this transition finance to the construction industry. 

To reward the sustainable use of biobased materials equitably for their contribution to this goal, one mechanism stands out: carbon removal credits. We at Climate Cleanup believe in the transformative power of carbon removal credits, when issued transparently, effectively and holistically. To ensure Construction Stored Carbon (CSC) credits are greenwash-proof – meaning they tangibly contribute to reversing the climate crisis – we have developed the Oncra framework. For more information on carbon removal credits and Oncra, visit www.oncra.org
The Built by Nature fund shares our mission and believes in the potential of CSC credits. We have joined the construction-stored carbon monetisation initiative, a collaboration between Built by Nature and Good Energies by Porticus. In this Sprint Diary, we explain how our contribution to this initiative will take shape, what partner organisations are committed to our contribution, and what other challenges are being tackled as a part of this initiative.

Figure 1. Visualisation of Stakeholders in Biobased Value Chains. Stakeholders are divided into three categories: Agro (agriculture & forestry), Industry (transport, processing, manufacturing), and Construction (including end use and re-use). © Jan-Willem van de Groep.

Goals of Sprint 1

  • Form an ecosystem of people and organisations that work together to create a CSC certification protocol
  • Align existing and past efforts to monetise and certify CSC with the CSC Credits intervention
  • Develop a strategy for the launch of the CSC certification protocol

Ecosystem map

Figure 2. The CSC Credit partner ecosystem (for the interactive version go here)

Here you see our ever-evolving CSC Credits Ecosystem. Starting January 25, 2023, organisations have joined this ecosystem and committed themselves to developing the CSC credit mechanism. By selecting an organisation in this diagram, you can read more about their contribution to the initiative. Some organisations take a supporting role (e.g., by providing feedback), some are involved more intensively (e.g., by testing the certification protocol in practice).

The organisations involved are grouped into six clusters: Core Partners (1), Monetisation Initiative (2), Value Chain (3), Project Development (4), Finance (5), and Governance (6). Do you want to be part of this ecosystem and provide input for CSC credits? Send an email to sacha@climatecleanup.org

About the CSC Monetisation Initiative

Built by Nature and Good Energies by Porticus are funding the CSC Credits intervention as a part of the CSC Monetisation Initiative. The CSC Credits intervention runs from January 1, 2023 until April 1, 2024. Climate Cleanup has agreed with the funding partners on these five deliverables for the intervention:

  1. The formation of a collaborative ecosystem of organisations that are aligned on both the practical and abstract elements of CSC Credits. This ensures that a unified message is sent to the Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM) and society as a whole regarding the benefits and risks of CSC Credits.
  2. The development of a certification protocol for carbon removal with biobased materials, referred to as the CSC certification protocol. The protocol is based on best practices in the VCM, emerging regulatory context, expertise from the collaborative ecosystem and experiences from practical testing. 
  3. The testing of the CSC certification protocol through (at least) five pilot projects certified using the protocol. These pilot projects span the entire biobased value chain and different segments of the (Dutch) housing market. Priority is given to pilot projects in the Netherlands. The pilot CSC credits will be sold using the Oncra framework.
  4. The alignment of the CSC certification protocol with national, international and financial legislation, such as the EC regulation on carbon removal and the PCAF Standard.
  5. The transparent documentation of the entire intervention through LifeLab Sprint Diaries, report(s) and events where necessary. The CSC certification protocol, pilot certifications & credits, findings and recommendations will all be made publicly available and open-source.

Results

Thank you to Gideon Building Transition Tribes, Ballast Nedam Development, Building Balance, LTO Bedrijven, Yesandmore, and Nice Developers for collaborating on a strategy for the CSC Credits intervention. By combining our commitment to the CSC Monetisation Initiative with the co-developed strategy, we have created the following one-pager:

Go deeper

  • Learn more about the CSC Monetisation Initiative here.
  • Learn more about our Metric for Construction Stored Carbon here.
  • With ecosystem partners ASN Bank, Gideon Building Tribes and others, Climate Cleanup advised the European Commission on “Sustainable Carbon Cycles”.
  • Explore our bio-based building materials tool we developed with Holland Houtland and the Province of South-Holland.
  • Learn more about Oncra, our Open Natural Carbon Removal Accounting Framework.

Sprint 2: Finance & Buyer Side

Harnessing a market perspective to develop reliable, high-integrity CSC credits

Sprint 3: Certification Protocol

Sprint 4: Institutional Alignment

Inform and connect to the emerging policy field on three governmental levels

Sprint 5: Pilot Projects

A catalogue of certified carbon storage projects, providing detailed information on verified initiatives aimed at storing carbon dioxide in buildings.

Join us!

Stay in the loop on our Construction Stored Carbon interventions and contribute.

Sacha Brons, Sprint & Intervention Lead