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Half a Decade of Bringing Trust, Credibility, and Transparency to the Voluntary Carbon Market

In May of 2019, Puro.earth offered the first CO2 Removal Certificates (CORCs) in an inaugural auction that changed the carbon markets. Based on three pioneering methodologies to assess the atmospheric carbon removal and storage in biochar, carbonated building materials, and wooden building elements, these were the first ever credits based on engineered carbon removals, marking the start of the carbon removal era. 

A New Era for Integrity 

From day one, Puro co-founders, Antti Vihavainen and Marianne Tikkanen, set about to do something different. They realized that the already-too-high levels of CO2 in the atmosphere could be addressed through carbon removal technology, but the right business model and incentive was missing. Credits based on durable carbon removals were not available. Therefore, we created the CORC, thinking about corporate buyers who want to remove carbon in the most credible, least disputable way. 

On March 14, 2019 Marianne and Antti started working with 22 organizations to establish methodologies, general rules, terms and conditions, tech spec for a registry, instructions for auditors and an auction site for trading. Just 71 days later, on May 24, 2019, the system was up and running. 

Fast forward five years and the Puro Standard has facilitated the removal of 426,695 tonnes of CO2 safely stored for at least 100+ years through 196 registered suppliers in 41 countries! Our team has expanded to 42 employees based in 10 cities around the world, working tirelessly to uphold credibility and traceability and we now have five broad and rigorous pioneering methodologies, that include BECCS, DACS, terrestrial storage of biomass and an ocean-based sixth methodology in the works. 

Creating Scale through Governance and Continual Improvement 

In 2019, there were only a handful of biochar producers. CORCs and advance market commitments gave them crucial extra revenue for running and growing their production, and investments to new facilities started to be made quickly afterwards. Now there are probably 500 biochar producers in the world, and some are very ambitious in their growth plans. 

During the first years, we actively looked for entities that could endorse what we are doing, but no organization dared to take the stance and say that carbon removals are necessary. The EU funded the first programs, and Puro participated in some of them, but globally, there was very little attention to carbon removals. 

We’ve seen a significant shift from our founding years. The high quality of the Puro Standard and scientific rigor of our methodologies has been endorsed by the International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance (ICROA) – the first carbon removal crediting program focused on durable carbon removal with storage time of 100+ years to achieve such endorsement. We are further aligning our standard with the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM) because we believe that a global benchmark for high-integrity will unlock finance for the pioneering sector of engineered carbon removal to help deliver the net in net-zero emissions. 

With the trust corporate buyers have in the Puro Standard, to date, the Puro Registry has recorded the retirement of 216,801 CORCs from worldwide companies! 

Increased Momentum with the Right Partner 

In June 2021, our efforts were recognized by Nasdaq, who bought a majority stake in Puro.earth, so we now celebrate three years of partnership. It was at this point that our mission gained significant momentum. The Puro Advisory Board was formed: an independent entity established to ensure high credit-level integrity and robust principles for our science-based carbon removal verification. We also collaborated with Nasdaq to create a first-of-its-kind index family that tracks the price of sequestering carbon through engineered carbon removal. This is relevant information for corporations to understand the true cost of neutralizing their emissions. 

Market Leaders in a Turbulent Wind 

In 2023, the carbon dioxide removal market got fresh wind in its sails and grew more than in any previous year, propelled by key policies such as the Inflation Reduction Act in the US. In 2024, the largest number of carbon removal credits in the voluntary carbon markets was issued under the Puro Standard (157,000 tons) from BECCS producer Red Trail Energy LLC. The largest direct air capture and storage supplier in the world, Climeworks, has also just announced its Puro Standard certification. But even though supply has grown, the wind is getting turbulent as backing for corporations to make long term carbon removal purchases is still missing. 

The carbon removal industry has the potential to remove 10 gigatonnes of CO2 per year, so we are holding even firmer on our commitment to bring about trust and integrity into the market. We are starting to see new signs of progress: 

Large intermediaries have started to look into biochar credits with increased interest, thanks to a now sufficient number of producers, transactions, and data available. 

The next generation of facilities with an order of magnitude larger capacity are being commissioned and supply will thus increase dramatically. 

The Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (IVCVM) and Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) are processing our applications, and we hope to have their endorsement by the end of the year. 

What Do the Next Five Years Hold for Puro? 

Our vision is for a future where every company can contribute to mitigating climate change by credibly removing carbon emissions from the atmosphere, and we are committed to propelling this vision forward until it becomes a reality. Over the next five years, we expect the supply volume to grow exponentially as technology is unlocked allowing for greater and greater volumes of CO2 to be captured and stored. 

We will continue to support suppliers in securing advanced payments for their CORCs, allowing them to expand and develop their operations. We will continue to evolve the market by sharpening our general rules and methodologies as best practices and science evolves. Ultimately, our founding mission remains: to establish a carbon net-negative economy by ensuring that buyers can purchase carbon removal credits with confidence, so that vast quantities of CO2 can be removed from the atmosphere and the effects of climate change be mitigated. 

The market needs more guidance from independent bodies, such as SBTI, on how corporations can reach the “Net” in net-zero. If they leave that undefined, the vacuum will be filled by some other entity. Demand signals need to be created now so that there is a flourishing and robust carbon removal industry by 2050 or, preferably, much earlier. 

Puro.earth is committed to accelerating the development of carbon removal industries to REMOVE as MUCH CO2 as we can, as FAST as we can, for as LONG duration as we can to fight the climate crisis NOW in the 2020's and want to be known as the biggest certifier of science-based carbon removals. 

Here's to the next five years of innovation and impact! 

The Puro.earth Team 

 

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