Nori is building a marketplace for reversing climate change. Our goal is to make it as easy possible to pay and get paid for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But we can’t do it alone. And we’re not building a product for just one user. There are many participants in the ecosystem who enable the generation, verification, and sale of Carbon Removal Certificates (CRCs). In this article I describe their roles and motivations.
Anyone who removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, in theory, is a CRC Supplier.
Suppliers sell CRCs to Buyers who want to take credit for the carbon removed. This way to monetize activities they might already be doing that are continuing to draw incremental CO2 out of the atmosphere. This also inspires new entrepreneurs and businesses to invest in carbon removal. Potential suppliers in our marketplace include farmers and agricultural companies, manufacturing companies, mining companies, universities, biofuel producers, technology startups, forest managers, and more. The first Nori CRC suppliers come from the US agricultural sector, specifically those who are taking steps to add soil organic carbon (SOC) to their fields.
When people carbon farm, they’re doing more than just storing carbon, they are retaining water, reducing pollution, saving time and fuel, and improving the productivity of the land. By participating in the Nori marketplace and monetizing CRCs, they’re also now collecting data that can lead to a potential price premium on the goods they sell. Ƒor example, a farmer growing wheat that is sequestering carbon and improving the soil health with the data to prove it could realize higher payments than he would have otherwise selling conventional commodity wheat.
Limited time opportunity to list whitelist historic CRCs
Right now is there is a one time offer for US farmers who want to participate in Nori’s pilot to monetize carbon removal over the last five years. This opportunity creates an additional motivation for people to get involved: monetize a not yet monetized digital asset.
In order to provide a credible asset of carbon removal, independent third-parties verify the information used to generate the CRCs. These verifiers are in positions of fiduciary responsibility who vet carbon removal claims made by Suppliers, and in turn get new opportunities to expand their professional services businesses through the development of innovative and more accurate methods for verifying that CO2 has been removed. It is worth noting that in the final audit of a project cannot be done by the same Verifier who has verifiedthe original CRCs. Because the Nori platform automates much of the data collection process and plugs in directly to Baseline Generators, Verifiers’ work will be streamlined relative to carbon markets and they will make less money per project. However, Verifiers will benefit from accessing a greater amount of supply and creating a larger net impact by participating in the Nori ecosystem.
Buyers are anyone who wants to negate their carbon impact by paying for carbon removal. Initially, the majority of the Buyers in the Nori marketplace are businesses who wish to use these CRCs as part of meeting their environmental commitments, such as carbon-neutrality or even carbon-negativity. Buyers could include events, conferences, festivals, power utilities, local/state governments, individuals, and any fossil fuel powered transportation. Brands can also purchase CRCs to increase brand value. Buyers receive verified certificates that prove carbon dioxide has been removed and stored. In the increasing urgency to address climate change, consumers are looking for transparent and simple ways to negate their carbon footprint.
Some Buyers are in a unique position if they are a food company. These organizations have a supply chain that can generate CRCs, thus allowing them to charge price premiums on food and create a new way to incentivize soil health and long term profitability.
Additional Components to Enabling Supply
While Suppliers are the ones doing the work of carbon removal, there are other entities who play key roles in enabling this work and participation in the Nori. These roles include Data Platform Providers, Data Managers, CRC Aggregators, Baseline Generators, Peer Reviewers and Referrers. Each is described below.
Data Platform Providers
Providers of some form of software platform used to collect and store data that will make it easier for farmers to monitor soil health and participate in the Nori marketplace. Integration between these data platforms and Nori makes it easy for farmers to cost-effectively organize and transfer the data they need to supply to get paid for increasing carbon content in soils and drawing down atmospheric CO2. The first Data Platform Provider Nori is working with is Granular, a farm management planning software tool. By connecting with the Nori marketplace, Data Platform Providers can offer a new revenue stream to their farmer customers.
Entities that directly help growers manage and interpret their data, register projects in the Nori marketplace, and submit CRC claims. Data Managers act like independent consultants to farmers. Most Data Managers operate Data Platforms, but not all Data Platform operators provide data management and interpretation services to their platform users. Data Managers could also be technical assistance providers or certified crop advisors who are helping farmers make carbon farm plans.
CRC Aggregators are a form of Suppliers. These are entities that have been assigned ownership of and the right to manage a portfolio of CRC-generating projects on behalf of Suppliers. CRC Aggregators are motivated to participate because they may already be helping farmers aggregate crops and can leverage existing relationships to make arrangements with their supply chain, for example. They also have capital and can take advantage of price arbitrage. They provide certainty to the original CRC Supplier by providing upfront cash with knowledge that they can sell the CRC at a potentially higher price in the future.
The Baseline Generator takes in data about cropping and grazing practices. This includes information like what crop was grown when it was planted, when it was harvested, how the land was tilled, how much fertilizer and lime was applied, and more. The Baseline Generator uses all this information plus other factors like traditional weather, temperature, and rainfall patterns, and national soil type maps to model expected practice-driven changes in terrestrial organic and mineralized carbon stocks. Nori’s first Baseline Generator is COMET-Farm, based in the NREL Laboratory at Colorado State University. Nori will add new Baseline Generators as they become known to us.
Similar to peer review committees for academic journals, Peer Reviewers are a collection of scientists, policy advisors, and industry experts who independently review, improve, and approve the Nori methodologies for measuring and verifying removed CO2. Members currently hail from the US Department of Agriculture, entities like The Land Institute, and institutions like Arizona State University and Duke University.
This is a key point of decentralization for the future. We want this committee to be acting independently of Nori founders and employees so that the market perceives maximum credibility in the methodologies.
We’re still working out exactly how this will work in our pilot, but we anticipate Referrers to able to bring new projects to be market that allow both the Supplier and the Referrer to be rewarded when the CRC sells. These are typically consultants or organizations that have established relationships with potential Suppliers.