Innovative Carbon Removal Initiative
In a groundbreaking move towards environmental sustainability, Microsoft has inked a 15-year offtake agreement with Chestnut Carbon, a leading CO2 removal specialist. The deal involves the generation of nature-based carbon removal credits through an afforestation project in the U.S., aiming to remove a total of 2.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over the contract’s duration.
Chestnut Carbon specializes in creating carbon removal credits by planting trees on land previously used for farming or other purposes. The agreement with Microsoft focuses on the first phase of the Mississippi Alluvial Valley forest restoration project, which is set to eliminate 362,000 metric tons of CO2 during this phase alone. The ambitious project targets a total removal of up to 2.7 million tons over 15 years.
This afforestation project by Chestnut Carbon stands out as the largest to date, securing certification from the independent carbon credit verification firm Gold Standard. Moreover, the company is exploring possibilities to expand its capacity to cover 500,000 acres, potentially removing a staggering 100 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
Microsoft’s Commitment to Carbon Negativity
The deal reaffirms Microsoft’s commitment to becoming a carbon-negative business by 2030 and achieving the removal of all the CO2 emitted since its founding in 1975 by 2050. The tech giant anticipates receiving verified carbon credits from the Chestnut Carbon restoration project within three years, aligning with its ambitious climate goals.
This collaboration marks the latest in a series of carbon removal deals for Microsoft. The company previously acquired 2.76 million carbon removal credits from Danish energy giant Ørsted and secured an agreement with U.K.-based enhanced rock weathering specialist UNDO for approximately 5,000 metric tons of CO2 removals credits. Microsoft is known to have struck additional carbon removal deals, totaling over 1.4 million metric tons of CO2 in 2022.
Microsoft’s agreement with Chestnut Carbon comes during heightened interest in the carbon removals market. This burgeoning sector is witnessing significant developments, with Climeworks, a direct air capture technology developer, recently sealing a 15-year deal with Boston Consulting Group, marked as the largest of its kind.
A Paradigm-Shifting Partnership
Microsoft’s 15-year deal with Chestnut Carbon underscores a paradigm shift in sustainable partnerships, emphasizing the importance of nature-based solutions in combating climate change. As both entities actively contribute to carbon removal initiatives, this collaboration sets a precedent for impactful environmental stewardship.
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Photo : Seedling planted under the Chestnut Carbon initiative. Source: Chestnut Carbon