Highlighting The Positives Of The Carbon Market

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Ric Porteus CEO

It’s been an interesting week on Linkedin and watching the media output following the Guardian newspaper’s one-sided article on the validity of carbon credit issuance. This seems an irresponsible approach, that completely disregards the immense and critical benefits gained by funding the protection and regeneration of nature.

I feel that as CEO of a global platform that supports hundreds of conservation organisations benefiting indigenous tribes and small holders globally, who are dedicated to helping to protect, regenerate and prevent forest biodiversity loss, we have a deep insight and decades of experience in this sector. 

It’s clear that scrutiny and scientific evaluation is important, especially in an area that is so new and that aims to address such an urgent need for our planet.  Verra’s concise response strongly refutes the alarmist claim that 94% of REDD+ carbon credits are over issued and do not represent genuine reductions in carbon emissions. They identified the fundamental flaws in relying on “incorrect synthetic controls” for REDD+ projects that did not compare “like for like,” that disregarded Verra’s stringent methodologies and did not take into account on the ground, site specific pre-conditions and local factors specific to each project. It’s also important to note that the West et al. 2020 and 2023 and Guizar-Coutiño et al. 2022 studies, which The Guardian based its article on, have not been peer reviewed, so the validity and impact of this seems disproportionate and grossly misleading.

My concern is the wider impact this attempt to discredit the voluntary carbon market will have, not only  businesses that genuinely want to contribute to forest conservation as part of their net zero strategies but more importantly the impact on the local communities and landholders who are dedicated to preserving the world’s natural resources and ecosystems.

I’d like to therefore focus on the positives, on the incredible opportunity nature based solutions bring to communities, individuals, companies and ultimately our planet.

What’s good about the voluntary carbon market?

  1. Democratising access to funds – The voluntary carbon markets are the financial delivery system that not only puts a value on the protection and regeneration of nature but most importantly democratises the benefits and allows some of the most marginalised peoples to gain direct funds from their contribution to forest conservation.
  2. Technology advances – Highlighting flaws, inherent in most financial systems, can be a positive, especially when it increases the demand for the development of new science and technology. We are currently experiencing a boom in technological developments that are taking old legacy systems into the new age and making huge advances in verification, validation and monitoring technologies, such as;, satellite and lidar high density scanning that is enabling more accurate inventories of forests to be measured. 
  3. Protecting biodiversity is critical – Biodiversity is in collapse and the additional benefits in nature based solutions is the focus on the regeneration and protection of forest biomass, ecosystems and biodiversity.
  4. Deforestation must be stopped – Despite the criticism, carbon projects are still one of the most effective methods for preventing deforestation by providing economic incentives for conservation. We don’t have time, we need every solution and we need it now. Carbon projects are a key solution and must be scaled up urgently if we want to end deforestation by 2030.

All of these factors are driving a ‘carbon markets V2.0’ approach and the next critical decade for climate action and enabling climate finance to hit the ground and protecting forests has never been in better shape. We now have the technology and investment to drive real protection, regeneration and move toward a more established and robust market.

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Eric currently works as an independent consultant at the intersection of nature and climate, focused on catalysing market and non-market solutions to drive the just transition.

He previously was Head of Product at Earthshot Labs, supporting nature conservation and restoration projects across the global south secure project finance. Prior to Earthshot Labs, Eric led nature-based carbon project development for Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique and founded the Carbon Cooperative, a global alliance of leading nature conservation and restoration practitioners exploring carbon finance. After serving in the Peace Corps in Mozambique out of university, he spent much of his 20s working in community-based conservation and ecosystem restoration efforts in Sub-Saharan Africa interspersed with two startup ventures as co-founder and CEO of a mental health tech startup and COO of a sustainable coffee company. Eric has a dual Masters in Environmental Engineering and Environmental Policy from Stanford University where he was a NSF Graduate Research Fellow and a BS in Environmental Engineering from Tufts University.

Alan is a risk management thought-leader, superconnector, and FinTech pioneer. His mission is to enable an Earth Positive economy which includes nature in global accounting systems.

Alan is Founder of Generation Blue, a venture studio dedicated to planetary game changers powered by exponential technologies. Previously, Alan established Natural Capital Markets at Lykke AG, pioneering blockchain based forestry and carbon backed tokens. Alan has over two decades of risk management experience advising global financial institutions, and was a founding member of the RiskMetrics Group, a JPMorgan spin-off. Alan is an investor and advisor to regenerative impact ventures, including TreeBuddy.Earth, Regenativ, and Vlinder Climate.

Lori Whitecalf made history when she became the first woman to be elected Chief of Sweetgrass First Nation in 2011. She served three terms of office from 2011-2017.  

Lori took a two-year hiatus from leadership to expand the family ranch and serve as the FSIN Senior Industry Liaison. She was re-elected on November 29. 2019 and again on November 30, 2021, as Chief of Sweetgrass. Chief Whitecalf practises a traditional lifestyle of hunting, fishing and gathering. She currently sits on the following boards: Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology, FSIN Lands and Resource Commission, Battle River Treaty 6 Health Centre and Battleford Agency Tribal Chiefs Executive Council, FSIN Women’s Commission.

Tina is the Chief Business Officer for MLTC Industrial Investments, the Economic Development arm of the Meadow Lake Tribal Council. She has a diverse background of experience. Having spent 15 years as a municipal Chief Operating Officer, 20 years involved in Saskatchewan’s Health Authority Board Keewatin Yatthe and 9 years with Northern Lights Board of Education. 


She continues as a Board Member with Beaver River Community Futures supporting small business development in her home region. Tina brings a wealth of experience in a variety of fields and many connections to the Indigenous communities of Northern Saskatchewan. In addition Tina holds a BA Advanced from the U of S, a Certificate in Local Government Authority from the U of R and is certified as a Professional Economic Developer for Saskatchewan and a certified Technician Aboriginal Economic Developer (TAED).

Tootoosis’ career spans 40+ years in HRM, political leadership, and Indigenous economic development, as a dedicated bridge builder and advocate for Indigenous causes.
As a key member of the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority (SREDA) team since 2021, he develops strategies for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission final report and Call to Action #92.

He is a graduate of the First Nations University of Canada and a certified Professional Aboriginal Economic Developer. Spearheading various community initiatives while serving as a Chair of the SIEDN while directing ILDII and WIBF. Founder of MGT Consulting Tootoosis is based in Saskatoon, Treaty Six Territory.

Cy Standing (Wakanya Najin in Dakota) has a long and distinguished career including serving overseas as an Electronics Technician in the Royal Canadian Air Force, former Chief of Wahpeton Dakota Nation, former Vice Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indigenous Nations (FSIN), past Executive Director of Community Development Branch of the Department of Northern Saskatchewan as well as an Order in Council appointment to the Federal Parole Board.  

Mr. Standing has served as a Director on many Profit and Non-Profit Corporate Boards, including serving as a Director for Affinity Credit Union with assets of over six billion dollars as well as IMI Brokerage and Wanuskewin and is currently a member of the One Tribe Indigenous Carbon Board.