Following the Science with Carbon Credits: SOIL at the Global Water Summit
SOIL’s Executive Director, Dr. Sasha Kramer, attended the Global Water Summit Water-Positive Zero Carbon conference in Madrid in May, delivering a keynote address in the Opening Plenary session and joining a panel discussion on “Monetising Carbon for SDG6”. The Global Water Summit brings together industry experts from the public and private sector with the goal to map out a better future for water through global political commitment and climate action to create transformational change for our valuable water resources.
The conference offered interesting insight and discussions around the opportunities and challenges of current carbon market with regards to the water sector, however SOIL’s participation in the conference was made even more significant thanks to our formal partnership with the summit organizer, Global Water Intelligence (GWI) to offset the carbon emissions for participants’ travel to the conference.
In an effort to mitigate the climate impacts of conference travel, GWI reached out to SOIL to explore partnership. Recent research done internally by GWI demonstrated that onsite sanitation (pit latrines and septic tanks) is a significant source of methane emissions in the sanitation sector which has been widely overlooked. After conducting this research, GWI was interested in finding a way to match the need for sanitation financing to increase access to vulnerable communities with their desire to offset carbon emissions associated with conference travel. After uncovering that partnership through the formal carbon marketplace would result in a significant portion of GWI’s financing going to companies that provide carbon trading services rather than creating direct impact, GWI dug into the scientific literature and found SOIL’s research published in the journal Nature which demonstrated the carbon offset impact of SOIL’s services through direct scientific measurement. GWI then reached out to SOIL to discuss partnership, creating a groundbreaking partnership between an industry conference and a grassroots service provider which both mitigates the climate impacts of the conference and increases access to basic services in a vulnerable community – a win for everyone!
GWI’s interest in following the evidence-based science and partnering directly with the source, as opposed to purchasing carbon offset credits through the voluntary market, represents a potential shift and exciting opportunity for carbon mitigation financing for smaller organizations, like SOIL’s (where formal accreditation seems financially infeasible). Through this climate impact partnership, GWI used SOIL’s scientific research published in the journal Nature to determine offset potential and then donated $25USD/ton CO2eq to offset carbon emitted by participant’s travel to the event.
Over the past year, SOIL has been working with a climate certification consultant to better understand the potential to participate in the voluntary market. Yet, as outlined in a blog published last month on climate financing, the ongoing verification and monitoring costs required by the voluntary market make it nearly impossible for smaller scale organizations and businesses to participate. Alternatively, through this partnership with GWI, and participation in the Global Water Summit, we feel this has opened up momentum for more direct contributions for climate mitigation. These partnerships can lead to even greater global impact because they also simultaneously support a range of other environmental and social impacts in addition to offsetting carbon emissions. Learn more about the partnership and check out a video for the conference here: Climate Impact Partnership.
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