2012-As awareness of the impact of greenhouse gas emissions has reached global levels, a new business concept based in northern BC is showing that individual companies can make a difference by reducing their fuel consumption which in turn, reduces the harmful emissions.
Created in 2011, the Carbon Offset Aggregation Cooperative of BC is the first of its kind in the world, providing the framework for owners of heavy equipment and trucks to create, aggregate and sell carbon offsets. Equipment modification and operator awareness training are used to reduce fuel emissions from vehicles and equipment. The fuel savings are measured in the form of carbon offsets which are aggregated and sold by the cooperative on the world market. Proceeds of the sale are returned to co-op members as dividends, less a percentage which remains with cooperative to cover administration costs.
What began as an idea and gathering of potential stakeholders quickly progressed to the development of a formal protocol for converting fuel savings into carbon offsets. Recognizing the tremendous short- and long-term economic benefits to the forestry and transportation firms that employ thousands of people in central and northern BC, Northern Development Initiative Trust provided funding toward the protocol development. It was developed by Dr. Jurg Grutter of Switzerland, a world expert on transportation protocols, and accepted by the Ministry of Environment’s Climate Action Secretariat in July, 2011.
Pilot studies were conducted and by September, 2011, a five year agreement was established between the Carbon Offset Aggregation Cooperative of BC and the provincial government to sell carbon offsets through the Province’s newly created Pacific Carbon Trust.
"The co-operative is very appreciative of the support we received from Northern Development during the protocol development. Without the support of organizations such as Northern Development, business opportunities like ours are less likely to emerge from the development stage."
George Stedeford, Chief Executive Officer, Carbon Offsets Aggregation Cooperative of BC
"This co-op demonstrates that being environmentally responsible can save companies money. It also shows how the Climate Action Plan benefits rural communities by helping business owners save money, reduce emissions and participate in a program that benefits BC families and helps create jobs."
Terry Lake, Minister of the Environment, Province of British Columbia
"Our company currently has six trucks in the program. Having the funding to help smaller operators like me get on the program makes it possible for everybody to do their part in reducing fuel consumption and emissions."
Doug Pugh, Owner, Overhaul Ventures
"Gulbranson Logging in Vanderhoof is the first logging company in the program. We cut down our costs, help out the environment, and we believe we will also see an increase in productivity. 26 pieces of Gulbranson Logging’s equipment now have the technology installed in them and the 20 truck fleet will be fitted during breakup."
Mel Gulbranson, Owner, Gulbranson Logging
By February of 2012, the cooperative had already grown to include more than twenty five members throughout the province including natural resource, transportation and heavy construction companies.
That same month, the cooperative received a major boost when BC’s Ministry of Environment announced it would provide $2 million that will be used for financing to help heavy machinery companies install the specialized equipment in their vehicles and to train operators to reduce fuel consumption.