Carbon solutions

Timber construction - the scalable carbon removal technology

We give the forestry and timber construction industry access to the carbon markets (carbon removal credits).

Timber construction is rapidly gaining in importance in the context of the climate debate and is becoming increasingly important both in Switzerland as well as by the EU Commission and the UNFCCC recognized as a carbon removal solution. Developments on the carbon markets open up the possibility for timber construction and forest managers to be compensated and monetized for their climate performance – building with timber and managing the forest in a climate-relevant way. For the first time, climate investors have the opportunity to invest in the climate impact of the carbon stored in durable timber construction (Timber Construction Carbon Removals).  

Since 2022, we have been developing the world’s first methodology for timber construction according to an internationally recognized ICROA standard. Recognition is expected in Q4 2024. At the same time, the internationally applicable methodology will be adapted to regional conditions from Q1 2024. To this end, the first pilot projects are being launched and certified in various regions.

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How do property developers and forest managers benefit from carbon removal projects?

>>> Recording

Tenders for the pilot phase are open until April 30, 2024

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By certifying their timber buildings (supporting structure), property developers receive proceeds from carbon removal credits and emission reduction credits or can offset the carbon against their own carbon footprint (insetting). Forest managers receive the credits proceeds for sustainable, climate-relevant forest management.

The need and demand for carbon removal solutions and their credits (carbon removal credits) will rise to $30 trillion worldwide by 2030. Timber Finance offers climate and carbon investors the opportunity to invest in high-quality ICROA timber construction carbon removal credits and, from 2025, in the first Timber Construction Carbon Removal Fund and to develop new business models.

Timber Finance supports the scientific development of the carbon market in connection with timber construction and sustainable forest management in research groups.

Approach & classification

Timber construction as a negative emission technology

Many industries have long benefited from income from the sale of carbon removal credits. Since 2022, the main winners Negative emission technologies (NET) or carbon removal technologies are becoming increasingly important. These are solutions that remove carbon from the atmosphere and store it long-term in materials or soil. Since 2022, timber construction has been recognized internationally and in Switzerland as a carbon removal solution.

The construction industry is responsible for25 % of Swiss carbon emissions and will release over 150 million tons of carbon through new buildings by 2030. Timber construction can contribute to the decarbonization of the construction industry by storing the carbon absorbed in the forest and bound in the supporting structure for a long time and at the same time replacing emission-intensive materials such as concrete and steel.

This not only benefits the carbon footprint of the construction sector; the higher demand for timber also leads to a different type of timber use, namely from non-use or incineration to long-term cascading use. This creates additional value for forest managers and preserves the multifunctionality and resilience of forests.

Compared to other solutions, timber construction storage certificates are also inexpensive, scalable and quick to implement.

In order to achieve net-zero by 2050, carbon removal credits are indispensable, as residual emissions cannot be reduced with traditional carbon avoidance strategies.

Image: Traditional carbon avoidance projects reduce or offset emissions through climate-enhanced technology compared to business-as-usual activity. Carbon removal credits are purchased to offset emissions that have already been generated. This does not reduce the amount of carbon contained in the atmosphere. Carbon removal technology are also known as negative emission technologies (NET) and store the carbon removed from the atmosphere in the long term.

The high demand for carbon removal solutions is shedding new light on forests and timber construction. Traditionally, carbon removal has been attributed to the forest. This perspective is changing as forests are increasingly exposed to drought, storms and forest fires due to climate change. Forests thus become sources of emissions and can no longer guarantee long-term carbon removal. Timber from forests must therefore be transferred to long-term utilization cycles with securely stored carbon.

Temporary carbon removal in the forest

Permanent carbon removal in timber construction

The methodology

The world’s first carbon removal methodology for timber construction under an “International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance” (ICROA) standard.

Since 2022, Timber Finance has been working to combine timber construction with sustainable forest management by the development of a methodology, as carbon removal technology for the carbon markets. The global concept was developed together with an international, 15-member working group and recognized by the ICROA quality standard in December 2023.


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