Water and Trees

Frequently Asked Questions

It is a way to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and store it for the long term in geological formations, terrestrial reservoirs, ocean sinks or products. The “long term” is defined as a minimum 100 years, but some methods sequester carbon for millennia.

Various carbon removal methods have earned their stripes to be certified on the voluntary carbon market:

  1. Afforestation and reforestation involve planting new forests or restoring existing ones, allowing trees and vegetation to absorb CO2 through photosynthesis. This carbon removal method is cheaper than most other CDR solutions but is subject to a lot of uncertainty as climate change itself makes trees much more at risk of fires and pests.  
  2. Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS): This process generates energy from biomass while capturing the resulting CO2 emissions. The captured carbon is then stored underground or in secure reservoirs, ensuring it doesn't make its way back into the atmosphere.
  3. Direct air capture (DAC): This cutting-edge technology directly filters CO2 out of the ambient air. The captured carbon is then stored in geological formations for millenia.
  4. Mineralization or enhanced weathering accelerates the natural process known as weathering by spreading crushed minerals onto various surfaces provoking triggering a chemical reaction that permanently immobilizes the carbon into rock formations.
  5. Ocean CDR enhances the ocean’s ability to soak up CO2 by stimulating some existing biological or geochemical processes from the marine environment.
  6. Soil carbon sequestration relies on practices such as conservation agriculture, cover cropping, and organic amendments, ramping up carbon storage in soils.
  7. Biochar: While also in itself a method for soil carbon sequestration, biochar can be used in a range of other applications, such as enhancing water filtration systems and improving the properties of construction materials.




A carbon removal credit is an independently verified document that confirms that 1 metric ton of CO2 has been removed from the atmosphere and stored for the long-term using a certified removal method. The certificate is issued to the supplier and can be purchased by a buyer who wants to compensate for their emissions in a trusted, credible way.


Our window of action to stay within a Paris-compatible trajectory is narrowing alarmingly. According to the IPCC, the UN’s climate science body, this means even the most ambitious emissions-reduction scenarios will not be enough to secure a sustainable future.

In addition, certain industries, such as aviation or agriculture, encounter inherent technical limitations when it comes to achieving substantial emission cuts. These residual, hard to abate emissions however need to compensated in order to achieve the “net” in “net zero”. This is where carbon removal comes into the picture, allowing us to remove both historical CO2 emissions that have already accumulated in the atmosphere but also address unavoidable, future ones.

Carbon capture and storage involve trapping CO2 at point-source emissions, such as fossil fuel power plants and heavy industries. On the other hand, carbon dioxide removal focuses on existing CO2 which has already accumulated in the air using different nature-based or technology-driven methods such as biochar or DAC, which result in negative emissions.

Carbon removal schemes are centred on addressing emissions that have already been released into the atmosphere and ensuring the verified and effective removal of these emissions. Despite their higher credibility and more tangible impact, carbon removal schemes currently constitute a relatively minor segment of the voluntary carbon market.

The market predominantly relies on avoidance-based offsets, where offsets consist of commitments of emission reductions or avoidances of potential future emissions. Avoidance offsets came under scrutiny in early 2023 when the Guardian uncovered a media scandal revealing that a staggering 90+% of rainforest carbon offsets were fraudulent and lacked real environmental benefits.

Several regions of the world have already created regulated, compliance-based carbon markets, including the European Union with its ETS cap-and-trade scheme. The scheme however only focuses on specific industries (aviation, power generation, heavy manufacturing and soon shipping) leaving a lot of sectors uncovered.

This underscores the significance of the voluntary carbon market, particularly with regard to CDR credits. It emphasizes the essential requirement for credible oversight mechanisms that ensure the transparency and integrity of projects. .

The European Union is in the process of developing regulations for a new Carbon Removal Certification Framework to govern the crediting and accounting of carbon removal methods. This soon-to-be-adopted framework aims to create a transparent and trusted market for CDR within the EU.

Corporate players have emerged as pioneers and first movers in promoting different forms of CDR, demonstrating leadership by investing substantially in high efficiency, long-lasting CDR solutions to fully comply with their climate neutrality targets. Notable examples of such ambitious efforts include Microsoft, Shopify and Swiss RE.

For buyers, carbon removal certificates provide a credible and transparent way to compensate for unavoidable or difficult-to-abate emissions. These certificates help offset their carbon footprint while supporting projects that actively remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Additionally, carbon removal certificates can be purchased and retired on behalf of an end-user of a product. For instance, a building owner can buy and retire carbon removal certificates equivalent to the carbon emissions associated with the construction materials used in their building project. This practice aligns with sustainable building practices and demonstrates the owner's commitment to carbon neutrality or net-zero goals.

Overall, carbon removal credits stimulate the growth of carbon-positive products and incentivize carbon removal activities, fostering a more sustainable and environmentally conscious economy.


Credits can be purchased from platforms and brokers, or directly from suppliers. Credits can be retired direclty or transferred to a holding account in the registry. Contracts can be paid for immediate delivery, known as "Spot" purchase or pre-purchase, or forward contracts.

A credit retirement occurs when the credit Beneficiary "uses up" the credit. A retired credit is then cancelled from the Registry and no longer exists. Only after a credit has been retired, can the Beneficiary make any claim about their emissions. All retirements are published in publicly available registries. 

A credit Beneficiary is the company or legal person who receives the benefit from the credit retirement. Only the Beneficiary can make a claim or statement about emissions removals or Net Zero.