Microsoft buys 1.6m carbon credits from central American project

Microsoft Corp. purchased 1.6 million carbon removal credits from one of the largest fully financed nature-based removal projects in Central America, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

Located in Panama and partly financed by Microsoft, the project aims to remove 3.2 million metric tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere by planting over 6 million trees across 10,000 hectares of land degraded by cattle ranching.

The project, developed by Ponterra in collaboration with Rubicon Carbon and Carbon Streaming, stands out for its focus on reforestation rather than protecting existing forests from deforestation. This allows the project to sell carbon credits based on additional tons of carbon removed from the atmosphere rather than avoided emissions.

In addition to promoting biodiversity restoration, the project will provide over $70 million to local communities through lease payments, a share of carbon credit sales paid to landowners, salaries, and donations to local NGOs.

This comes as Microsoft’s own carbon emissions have risen by 30 per cent since 2020, largely due to its construction of data centres.

The tech giant, which committed to achieving zero carbon emissions and waste by 2030, bought 5.015 million metric tons of carbon removals in 2023 to support this goal. The size of the deal and the price per ton paid by Microsoft were not disclosed.

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