Natural Capital Marketplace launches with a large carbon offset mandate from Devon County Council


Farms are unique in their ability to go from “carbon emitter” to “net zero” to positive impact on carbon emissions and climate catastrophe.

No other sector has the same potential and offers farmers new income opportunities through carbon offsets, nutrient trading, flood protection and biodiversity credits.

However, until now it has been incredibly difficult for farmers to access reliable information and funding in this new market to implement these ‘natural capital’ approaches and realize the new revenues and environmental benefits.

The Natural Capital Marketplace (NCM), which launched across Devon this month, is trying to change that and make it easier for farmers and landowners to exchange these opportunities, such as planting trees, restoring peatlands and improving habitats plan, implement and benefit from new ones Revenue from the sale of resulting benefits.

The launch was marked by a major carbon offset contract from Devon County Council.

The NCM has been developed over the past two years by the Biosphere Foundation (the non-profit commercial arm of the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere) in partnership with the Environment Agency and Siemens.

The NCM platform is based on Siemens technology and was developed for national and international scaling.

For example, supply partners could implement the creation of grassland areas, herbaceous meadows, wetlands, forests and riverbank habitats.

These improvements improve the environment for wildlife and local people, and help combat climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reducing flood risk

The farmer is rewarded for these benefits through new revenue streams and the creation of tradable environmental services such as carbon and biodiversity credits.

In addition, the NCM provides landowners with a route to market for selling these credits to environmentally conscious customers who have demonstrated their commitment to reducing carbon and are aligned with the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

dr Lawrence Couldrick, CEO of Westcountry Rivers Trust added: “The NCM is a great way to bring buyers and sellers of ecosystem services together, and supply groups like Westcountry Rivers Trust can work at the center to ensure benefits are being met.

“These private-on-private transactions will be an important part of our landscape and will require careful planning to articulate with other public programs while also helping farmers grow quality food.”

The Foundation has welcomed Devon County Council (DCC) as the first buyer of carbon credits via the NCM platform.

By ordering nearly 2,500 tonnes of carbon credits from the Natural Capital Marketplace to offset its carbon footprint, Devon County Council has reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring its carbon reduction strategies also contribute to the local economy.

Doug Eltham, DCC’s Environment & Sustainability Officer, said: “We have been following the development of the Natural Capital Marketplace and its ability to provide carbon credits from projects right here in Devon for some time, which then bring the associated benefits to nature and communities Maintaining local communities is how DCC aims to meet its net-zero commitments.

“It can be difficult to be sure carbon storage is occurring when the project is elsewhere in the UK or abroad.”

David Collier, NCM Operations Manager added: “We are delighted that the Westcountry Rivers Trust and Devon County Council have recognized the potential of the platform and we are now asking Devon farmers and landowners to get in touch with us to get free advice on how to benefit from natural capital projects on their land holdings.”

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