Solution WILL builds its success on the transformation of GHGs into carbon credits

On the one hand, organizations are looking for funds to carry out projects to reduce their emissions. On the other hand, companies or individuals are ready to pay to offset their carbon footprint. Martin Clermont and his associates think they can play matchmaker. And for two years, they have been running at full speed.

The Quebec company Solutions WILL, which has been active since 2007, assesses the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of commercial and institutional players. It then offers them ways to reduce their emissions. If they want to take action, Solutions WILL supports them in their efforts.

But the story does not end there: from the GHG reductions obtained, Solutions WILL creates carbon credits. The company – which employs around 30 people, but expects to end the year with 55 employees – then sells these offsets on the voluntary carbon market, then pays part of the profits collected to its members according to the projects developed. .

“We take care of the collection of supporting documents, qualification, calculations, verification… We take that on our shoulders, and that allows SMEs to get involved”, explains Martin Clermont, founding president of Solutions WILL. In its “sustainable community”, the company brings together more than 150 members in thirteen regions of Quebec. More than 850 GHG reduction projects have been implemented so far.

In many cases, the projects involve replacing an oil heating system with a geothermal or biomass system. The Kamouraska–Rivière-du-Loup School Service Center, for example, has eliminated fossil fuels in 14 of its buildings. The emission of nearly 900 tonnes of CO2 per year is thus avoided.

Other members are opting for more personalized solutions: replacing diesel forklifts with electric models, using old wooden pallets for heating, recovering heat lost in manufacturing processes, etc.

Preventing organic waste from ending up in the dump is also one of the GHG reduction projects monetized by Solutions WILL. Indeed, the decomposition of residues containing carbon leads to emissions of methane, a gas with a very high warming potential.

All of the projects are validated according to the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) program of the American organization Verra. Independent auditors are solicited. Currently, Solutions WILL is authorized to carry out projects in two “sectoral frameworks” of the VCS program: the energy demand of buildings and the treatment of waste. She would soon like to cover the transport sector as well.

Take off in fall 2019

For several years, the company supervised GHG reduction projects, accumulated verified carbon credits, but could not find a buyer at a satisfactory price to buy the credits. So she kept them in the bank. “Crossing the desert will have been quite long,” says Mr. Clermont, who has not paid himself a salary for years.

Then, in the fall of 2019, “we felt the wind blowing on the voluntary carbon market”, he explains. The Science Based Targets initiative, which invites large companies to aim for carbon neutrality, has given impetus to the market. Solutions WILL then made its first major sales, and the first checks were sent to its members.

The company’s turnover – which essentially corresponds to the sale of carbon credits – has increased ninefold over the past two years, indicates Mr. Clermont. During the financial year which will end on March 31, the company has sold more than 350,000 credits, each corresponding to one ton of CO2.

We take care of the collection of supporting documents, qualification, calculations, verification… We take that on our shoulders, and that allows SMEs to get involved.

It should be noted that, within the framework of the voluntary carbon market, entities decide on their own to buy credits to offset their GHG emissions. Among the organizations that have purchased credits from Solutions WILL are the National Assembly of Quebec, the Order of Engineers of Quebec, the Rotisseries St-Hubert, but also foreign companies and even private citizens.

Credits based on reductions

Carbon credits, particularly those associated with forestry, sometimes suffer from integrity issues. A survey of Guardian published at the beginning of the year asserted that 94% of the carbon credits certified by Verra and linked to projects in the tropical forest were “of no use” in curbing global warming.

Solutions WILL’s credits are different, according to Mr. Clermont: it’s not about sequestering CO2 — with the carbon accounting problems that entails — but to reduce emissions generated by fossil fuels or the decomposition of waste, which is a much simpler approach.

To offer rigorous carbon credits, Solutions WILL proves that the reduction projects it takes under its wing are not part of the “standard practices” of an industry. It also shows that the projects would not have been economically viable without the profits generated by the sale of carbon credits.

Building on its recent successes, the company is preparing to launch a new “sustainable community” in Ontario, probably next summer. Moreover, it hopes to take its first steps in the regulatory carbon market imposed on large emitters in Quebec. A major review of this mechanism will take place this year; Solutions WILL hopes to become eligible with its reduction projects carried out in the province.

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