Element Markets was named in a March 28 press release issued by DroneSeed detailing the recent purchase by Shopify of carbon offsets equivalent to removing 50,000 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere. Element Markets is DroneSeed’s carbon offset partner in their mission to make reforestation more affordable and scalable, helping to accelerate the speed, reach and carbon sequestration potential of reforestation efforts. The full text of the release is below:
Shopify purchases carbon offsets from reforestation company DroneSeed to remove 50,000 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere
Two climate-focused companies partner on carbon removal and the restoration of forests affected by wildfires through a new type of forward-looking carbon offset
SEATTLE – March 28, 2022 – Reforestation company DroneSeed today announced its largest sale of offsets to date to Shopify, a leading provider of essential internet infrastructure for commerce, which is on a mission to reverse climate change. As part of the post-fire reforestation, native trees of multiple species will remove 50,000 tonnes as they grow over the next century on a legally protected site. A leader in climate tech and post-wildfire reforestation, DroneSeed serves as a one-stop shop for reforestation, combining drone-based aerial seeding, seed inventory, and tree nurseries. As wildfire size and severity has increased due to climate change, funding the high up-front costs of reforestation has become a significant bottleneck. DroneSeed’s reforestation initiatives are financed by the generation and sale of carbon offsets in partnership with Element Markets, an environmental commodities company dedicated to the rapid deployment of carbon reduction products and services.
DroneSeed’s reforestation work—supported by Shopify’s Sustainability Fund—is performed in partnership with EFM, the project co-developer. EFM manages the stewardship of 120,000+ acres and is a natural climate solutions investment firm that is both majority woman-owned and a minority-owned B Corp. The Henry Creek property located in western Oregon is a prime location for growing conifer trees and is directly adjacent to designated wilderness areas and public lands. The Henry Creek project site consists of forest burned in the Beachie Creek fire in 2020.
DroneSeed’s offsets are at the forefront of a new class of carbon removal offsets available on the voluntary market to fund reforestation. Historically, the majority of forest carbon offsets have been generated from projects protecting mature forests, while carbon offsets have much more rarely been an effective tool for financing the high up-front costs of reforestation. Repayment periods for reforestation projects were 10-25 years long and reforestation projects funded by offsets have been rare. The non-profit Climate Action Reserve (CAR) recently created a new protocol to establish offset sales as a mechanism for investing in reforestation. These offsets are forward-looking, also known as “ex ante,” meaning that buyers are investing in the carbon that will be absorbed and stored by re-seeded and replanted forests as they grow.
DroneSeed reforests using a combination of emerging technologies like aerial drones and longstanding forestry practices, provided by its subsidiary greenhouse grower and seed processor Silvaseed. Together the two companies provide vertically integrated reforestation services to landowners affected by wildfires. After independent verification, the reforestation projects generate offsets that the company sells to help finance its ongoing reforestation work and pay landowners.
“CAR’s new reforestation protocol is providing something new in the offset market—up-front investment for reforestation which is a big deal for wildfire recovery. Shopify’s purchase from our first project is a phenomenal curtain raise and mic tap to announce to the many purchasers struggling to find high quality, forward-looking carbon removal offsets like those DroneSeed offers,” said Grant Canary, CEO of DroneSeed. “The robustness of the protocol ensures the seedlings are protected and able to remove carbon from the atmosphere until long after anyone on the team is alive. We’re achieving this by following CAR’s protocol and putting a legal easement on the property, entrusting the easement to a state-accredited land trust, and as part of project costs creating an endowment with the land-trust to fund enforcement and monitoring of the easement and ecosystem health for a century. All of that work is a huge lift. The effort is worth it for landowners because the offset buyers understand the value of that permanence and the need for reforestation on land affected by severe fires.”
“Shopify believes in the potential of reforestation to help reverse climate change, but we are also well aware of the issues around transparency, additionality, and permanence relating to forest carbon credits,” said Stacy Kauk, Shopify’s Head of Sustainability. “DroneSeed is on a path to resolving these critical issues, which is why we’re excited to support their scale-up journey.”
DroneSeed’s proceeds from offset sales are powering the expansion of the reforestation supply chain at a critical time. A rapidly increasing rise in size and severity of fires in the US fueled by climate change has created more demand than the supply chain can provide. Projected to get significantly worse, a 2021 cooperative assessment by state, federal, private and non-profit entities strongly recommended expanding seed supply and greenhouse growing space for trees at a national level. In the same year as the assessment’s publication, DroneSeed acquired Silvaseed, a 130-year old seed processor and producer of millions of nursery seedlings each year. The company has since expanded it to become the largest private seed bank in the west.
As interest in carbon offsets surges, demand for removal-based carbon offsets is rising because of the urgent need for more financial incentives for carbon-negative activities. Removal-based offsets are an important pathway for many companies to achieve their science-based greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.
DroneSeed is scaling reforestation to mitigate the worst effects of climate change. As bigger, hotter and more frequent fires devastate more forested land each year, natural forest regeneration is in decline and additional infrastructure and technology is needed to regenerate native forests more quickly and completely. Acting as a one-stop-shop for reforestation, DroneSeed provides a wide range of reforestation services to get forest restoration projects up and running in weeks, not years; these services include seed collection, seedling cultivation, aerial drone-based seeding, and carbon offset generation. To fund its operations and open new revenue streams for landowners, DroneSeed sells forward-looking carbon offsets, among the first of their kind available on the voluntary offset market. After its acquisition of 130 year old forestry company Silvaseed, DroneSeed is now the first vertically integrated reforestation company in the industry and one of the largest private seed suppliers in the nation. To learn more about offsets available for purchase or to initiate a DroneSeed reforestation project on your land, https://droneseed.com/. Download photos and videos here.
About Shopify’s Sustainability Fund
Shopify’s Sustainability Fund contributes a minimum of $5 million annually to support tech-driven entrepreneurs at the frontier of reversing climate change. The goal of the Fund is to assist companies that are proving, scaling, and commercializing climate technologies for massive impact in the long term. Shopify is one of the largest corporate purchasers of frontier carbon removal globally. Learn more here.
About Element Markets
Founded in 2005, Element Markets is a leading renewable natural gas marketing and environmental commodities company that applies its diverse expertise to provide structured environmental compliance and optimization services to corporate and institutional clients. The company has a successful track record within the renewable natural gas, low carbon fuels, emissions, carbon, and renewable energy credit markets. As announced in February 2022, Element Markets and Bluesource are combining to form a global decarbonization platform backed by TPG Rise. Learn more here.
EFM invests in natural climate solutions across the Americas to create long-term financial value and enduring environmental and social impact. Our award-winning investment funds enable the transition of landscapes to climate-smart forestry and to more equitable, permanent forms of land ownership. EFM stewards ~100,000 acres under FSC certified management in the western United States and has ~$219M in private capital under management and advisement. Learn more at www.efmi.com.