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FAQ

Here are some of the most common questions we get. If you still have more questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

General FAQs

We work in cities and towns across the United States. See the carbon project registry or impact project directory for current project information.

Impact Certification is the first-ever tool for assessing and demonstrating the science-based impacts of a tree planting project that incorporates social equity, human health, and the environment.

A carbon credit represents one metric ton of carbon dioxide (CO2). Companies, cities, or organizations that want to reduce their carbon footprint can purchase carbon credits to offset emissions that they cannot reduce. 

A Carbon+ Credit is a premium credit because it represents trees planted or protected where people live, work, and play. Each Carbon+ Credit includes quantified co-benefits in resource units and avoided costs for rainfall interception, air quality improvements, and energy savings.

See some of the most common questions we get, broken out by industry.

Carbon Credit Buyers

CFC is a registry dedicated only to urban forestry. A carbon registry is a non-profit organization that administers protocols, rules, quantification methods, third-party verification standards, and issues and tracks carbon credits.  

There are three large carbon registries that each handle dozens of other carbon project types, from gas plants to landfills to forest projects – Verra, American Carbon Registry, and the Climate Action Reserve.

The State of California developed an urban forest carbon protocol in 2011, and the Climate Action Reserve developed a second urban forest protocol in 2013-2014. But neither of those protocols resulted in any applications for projects. CFC and its many urban forest stakeholders nationally began their work in 2015 to learn from the practical failures of those earlier protocols and create much-needed carbon credits for the public resource that is our urban forests.

CFC does not sell carbon credits. We issue and maintain the credit database. We can direct you to the local entity responsible for leading a Carbon+ Project with available credits for sale, or can connect you to a national carbon developer or broker.

Carbon+ Credits are premium credits. Local entities leading carbon projects have sold credits for $22 to 30/ton.

CFC operates in the voluntary carbon market, which does not have a regulatory body. Voluntary demand for carbon offsets is driven by companies and individuals that take responsibility for offsetting their own emissions. Voluntary markets co-exist with compliance offset markets driven by mandated caps on greenhouse gas emissions, which operate at a significantly larger scale.

The protocols define the set of rules that tree planting or preservation projects must follow in order to earn third-party verified carbon credits. In 2015, an experienced protocol drafting group was formed with volunteers that included top scientists and stakeholders from diverse subject fields. Volunteers included climate program managers from cities, tree organizations, watershed professionals, private arborists, utilities, and land trusts. See our carbon protocol page for a full list.

Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Professionals

Every Impact Project considers the health, equity, and environment needs of the community. An entity leading a project completes a detailed Impact Scorecard which includes design elements such as the number of trees planted, site selection, participatory process, and more. All design elements are mapped to corresponding United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that are supported by the project actions. At the completion of the planting project, the company or foundation providing funding receives a high-level Impact Summary and detailed Impact Report.

Leverage your funding and achieve your corporate social and environmental responsibility goals by investing in reliable, efficient and standardized tree planting projects in our communities. Your dollars will improve the health and vitality of the cities where your employees and stakeholders live, work, and play. We will provide you with metrics and demonstrated impacts for easy reporting.

Microsoft has funded two pilot projects as part of their datacenter sustainability program. We are looking for more companies to fund projects across the country in 2021.

We suggest a minimum investment of $10,000. Reach out to CFC at info@cityforestcredits.org and we will connect you with a project that meets your goals.

CFC developed the Impact Certification in 2019 with support of urban forest, social equity, and human health professionals and scientists including Dr. Kathy Wolf. Not all companies need or want a carbon offset, but want to be able to invest in local planting projects with demonstrated impacts. We evaluated hundreds of planting project design considerations and how scientific and academic studies supported outcomes for health, equity, and environment. Learn more about our Impact Certification Standards here.

Foundations

Yes, we are a non-profit, 501(c)(3) and have a board of advisors. We were founded in 2015. Learn more about us here.

CFC has received generous philanthropy funding from several national and family foundations to fund our initial operations. For carbon projects we charge a nominal application fee and per credit fee. For impact projects we charge a small percentage of each project. 

Many non-profit urban forest organizations don’t have capacity funding to scope or assess how a carbon program or impact project could work in their city. If you are interested in providing seed funding we can connect you with local partners that are seeking funding to lay the groundwork.

Our overarching goal is to provide new revenue streams for declining national urban forests. Whether that is a robust, long-term carbon program or a series of small but valuable impact certification projects, we want urban forest organizations and local government entities to be able to grow and care for the city trees and communities that rely on this public resource. We measure our impact based on the success of our local partners. 

Urban Forest Professionals – Nonprofit organizations and governments

CFC registers two types of projects – tree planting and forest preservation within metropolitan areas. A project must be within an “urban area” as defined and mapped by the U.S. Census Bureau. Projects can also be within the boundary of incorporated or unincorporated cities or towns, on certain watershed lands and transportation, power transmission, and utility right of ways.

Preservation projects protect forested stands from development and deforestation in order to allow it to continue sequestering carbon. These projects last from 40 to 100 years.

Planting projects involve planting trees to sequester carbon. These projects last 25 years and can include single tree plantings in an open, park-like setting or canopy style plantings in which saplings are planted in high densities to generate a forested stand. 

Non-profit organizations or local government agencies can lead a carbon project. For planting, we recommend you plant 1,000 trees or more per year. For preservation we recommend you protect 20 acres or more per year. See our carbon protocol page for more information about eligibility and requirements.

The size, type, and location of a carbon project determines the amount of verified Carbon+ Credits that can be generated and sold.   

A Carbon+ project requires a 25-year time commitment and produces carbon credits that can be sold to generate revenue for tree maintenance and stewardship. An impact project does not require a time commitment and does not produce a carbon credit. An impact project receives up front funding to design and implement the project.

Non-profit organizations or local government agencies can lead an Impact Project. We provide a Project Plan, Impact Scorecard, and Guidebook that describes the health, equity, and environment considerations for project design. Design factors such as the number of trees planted, site selection, participatory process, and more are chosen by the entity leading the project, along with desires of the community. Contact us at info@cityforestcredits.org to discuss your project ideas.