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Dutch Carboneers

Bringing smallholder biochar projects to global carbon removal markets.
Dutch Carboneers

The Pledge

The number of companies and countries that commit to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 increases each year. Achieving this ambitious goal requires significant changes at a global scale. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is essential although transitioning towards zero-emission practices requires time and effort. Investments in impactful carbon removal projects are also necessary to achieve this goal.

According to simulations based on reducing globalwarming by 1.5 degrees, 3.8 billion tons of permanent carbon removal is required globally,every year to achieve net zero. Current estimates suggest that only 2 million tons of permanent carbon are removedannually. To reach net zero by 2050, long term carbon dioxide removal is essential to achieving this goal and there is simply not enough of it at the moment. The previous numbers by the IPCC highlight that an almost 2000-fold of carbon dioxide removal is required.

Smallholder farmer biochar project - Odisha, India

Dutch Carboneers develops decentralized biochar projects with the goal of bringing smallholder biochar projects to global carbon removal markets. With the conversion from biomass to biochar, an inert carbonized material is created which acts as a stable carbon sink for over a thousand years. Biochar also contains numerous beneficial properties for agriculture. It stores nutrients, increases crop yields, increases the water holding capacity, aids in climate adaptivity and houses microorganisms, raising the organic carbon content of soils.

With project development in tropical areas, Dutch Carboneers is contributing to that massive yearly goal of 3.8 billion tons. Similarly, to how a forest begins with one small tree, Dutch Carboneers has started with a smallholder farmer biochar project in India, which currently stores 50,000 tons of carbon on a yearly basis. By 2030, the aim is to remove 1 million tons of carbon on a yearly basis, expanding towards 2050, where 1 billion tons of carbon need to be removed on a yearly basis. To fund the project, for each ton of carbon removed, a carbon credit is issued and sold on the voluntary carbon credit market to companies that pledgeto compensate their carbon footprint in order to become net zero by 2050.

Decentralized with Sustainable Development Goals

Biochar is often made with million-dollar installations, yet in rural decentralized agricultural areas inthe global South, this is not feasible. Dutch Carboneers focuses on decentralized biochar project development in which the farmers benefit from crop yield increase as well as financial benefits that are derived from carbon credit sales.

Dutch Carboneers, together with its local partners, provides farmers with the right tools, training, technology and certification to create biochar in a sustainable manner. Local supervisors and managers are implementedin the system and provided with a mobile application where all necessary information is uploaded, required for traceability and transparency. Biochar is produced according to the Global Artisan C-Sink Guidelines, and audited by third party auditors. Biochar carbon Credits are registered within the C-Sink Registry of Carbon Standards International.

Whilst centralized and large-scale biochar production focuses mostly on the product and the climate action perspective,Dutch Carboneers’ ensures numerous Sustainable Development Goals are complied with.

1. No poverty

Farmers earn additional income byselling carbon credits obtained from the production of biochar, which is applied to their fields. This not only serves as a second source of income but also reduces their reliance on expensive chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

2. Zero hunger
In the Odisha region, farmers struggle with depleted grounds and long periods of drought. The majority are rice farmers with their own small gardens as their food supply. Biochar is proven to increase crop yield, nutritional value and resistance to insects and drought, benefitting the farmers’ own production.

3. Good health and well-being 
In the Odisha region, biomass is often undervalued, causing farmers to resort to burning the residues on their fields as a means of disposal. This practice releases thick smoke clouds, posing health risks to the farmers. Creating biochar avoids this and equally captures heavy metals and other toxic elements and keeps them safely isolated in theground.  

10. Reduced inequalities
The financial influx from wealthy corporations fromthe Global North to hardworking but typically poor farmers in the Global South represents Dutch Carboneers’ efforts to address financial inequalities between these two regions.

Artisanal biochar production by farmers in India includes afinancial movement from large wealthy corporations to the hard working, generally poor farmers. With the financial influx from wealthy to poor, Dutch Carboneers aims to reduce the financial inequalities between the Global North and the Global South

8. Decent work and economic growth
Dutch Carboneers aim to create new economic opportunities for the entire region. Not only does biochar create new employment opportunities but also promoted economic growth in the area, withthese jobs generally offering better wages than those available in traditional rice production.

5. Gender equality
To tackle this, women are employed as artisanal farmers and (head) supervisors. Women are directing and working alongside men and are paid an equal amount. We aim to empower women by giving them key roles in the system.  

12. Responsible consumption andproduction
Biochar production transforms rice straw residue intoa soil enhancer for the farm. This transformation eliminates the need to burn the residue, reducing the negative impact on the climate and takes advantage ofnatural goods.

13. Climate action
With biochar production, carbon stored in biomass is brought from the short term and active carbon cycle towards the long term and inactive carbon cycle. Depending on the quality of biochar, carbon is stabilized in the soil for anywhere between 100 and years. Besides the direct carbon sink, biochar also has a measurable positive influence on microbial life in the soiland thus theorganic carbon content.

14. Life below water 
Because of the porous internal structure of biochar, nutrients are attracted to and stored in biochar, this prevents nutrients leaching into surrounding surface water and thus eutrophication. Eutrophication of waterways lead to uncontrollable algal blooms and the suffocation of life below water.

15. Life on land
A large variety of trees are planted throughout theproject, on the borders of each farm, tackling the monoculture of rice and creating a more biodiverse ecosystem. Biochar is equally applied to these soils, fighting desertification, making arid areas fertile again, and increasing micro-biological life.