The Climate Trust | About



The Climate Trust mobilizes conservation finance to maximize environmental returns

Who We Are

Building upon a legacy of innovation and leadership in the carbon market, The Climate Trust accelerates the pace of carbon mitigation through conservation finance. We value air, water and soil through the financing, development and sale of qualified offsets and a relentless investment in people and projects with environmental purpose.

How We WorkWhat We Stand For

Investing in a Brighter Future

We are committed to staving off a disastrous rise in global temperatures by investing in quality projects that accelerate the pace of carbon mitigation. Our success is based on our two decades of proficiency developing and monetizing carbon offset projects. We invest at a critical stage of project development, when owners are seeking to reduce risk and need operational expertise to ensure their carbon projects are successful. We provide both.

In 2016, Climate Trust Capital, an independent entity of the mission-driven nonprofit The Climate Trust, launched a $5.5 million pilot carbon fund (“Fund I”) investing in U.S.-based forestry, grassland conservation, and livestock digester projects. Climate Trust Capital expects to mark a fully invested Fund I in 2018, and is now preparing to launch Fund II, a 10-year, $100 million fund that invests in carbon projects and their underlying assets. Fund II is aimed at institutional investors and is expected to provide attractive, long-term, risk-adjusted returns over its term.

The Climate Trust’s overall portfolio of projects are contracted to generate 6 million tons in emission reductions, equivalent to the carbon sequestered by over 7 million acres of U.S. forests in one year, or put another way, more acreage than the entire State of Maryland. These numbers are apart from any emissions reductions expected from Climate Trust Capital Fund I projects.

The Climate Trust is proud to play a role in meeting our national climate goals, especially through new and emerging sectors with a strong opportunity for impact.
Sheldon Zakreski, Chief Operating Officer, The Climate Trust

Where We Come From

In 1997, The Trust was founded as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to assist new fossil-fueled power plants in complying with the Oregon Carbon Dioxide Standard—the nation’s first legislation to curb emissions of carbon dioxide. The Trust was responsible for acquiring carbon offsets, and selecting and managing pollution reduction projects on behalf of these utilities.

As the first and largest institutional buyer of carbon offsets in the early days of the U.S. carbon market, The Trust faced unexplored territory in purchasing offsets. A ready supply of offsets, protocols, and quality standards did not exist. We created processes from scratch, so we could evaluate and compare projects; quantify, verify and register offsets; and sign contracts and fund projects. Our pioneering work has been critical to the development of industry standards in the U.S.

The Oregon CO2 Standard

The Oregon Carbon Dioxide Standard was the first U.S. law aimed at reducing levels of carbon dioxide, the most abundant greenhouse gas. This law requires new power plants built in Oregon to reduce or offset 17% of their carbon dioxide emissions in one of three ways:

  1. Investing directly in on-site carbon emission reductions
  2. Funding and developing pollution reduction projects
  3. Providing funding to a state-recognized nonprofit responsible for selecting and managing pollution reduction projects on their behalf

The Trust remains the only organization qualified to administer the Oregon Standard. To date, all regulated utilities have chosen the third option, giving The Trust funding to mitigate their carbon pollution through projects t­hat avoid, sequester, or displace carbon dioxide on their behalf.

A Trusted Partner

Since its inception, The Trust has committed to purchase $36.4 million in carbon financing for greenhouse gas emission reduction projects. The cornerstone of our business—delivering on the Oregon Standard—has built a strong legacy of innovation that delivers results for our compliance partners and the environment year after year.

The majority of our projects and programs are locally focused, enabling The Trust to grow strong grassroots support for climate action. In fact, 55% of the money we invest on behalf of utilities stays in Oregon. Additionally, our Oregon-based projects are from diverse sectors, including transportation, renewable energy, forestry, livestock digesters, energy efficiency, and landfill & waste.

Beyond administering the Oregon Standard, The Trust has also been successful at managing carbon acquisitions for multiple special purpose programs in Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Montana, California, and Massachusetts; each providing exceptional benefits to our partners. Through NW Natural’s successful voluntary offset program, Smart Energy, The Trust has committed approximately $4.5 million in carbon finance to eleven methane energy utilization projects, anticipated to deliver 560,037 carbon offsets for the program.

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