A small young Christmas tree grows out of the ground.

A new policy paper from King's College London, the Centre for Climate Finance & Investment at Imperial College Business School, and Foresight Sustainable Forestry Company suggests that admitting the Woodland Carbon Code (WCC) into the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK-ETS) could unlock significant economic and environmental benefits.

The paper estimates that this move could unlock up to 26% more land for woodland creation, bringing the UK closer to its Net Zero by 2050 target. Currently, low prices for voluntary carbon credits hinder national tree planting efforts, with the UK falling behind its targets.

Admitting the WCC into the UK-ETS would raise carbon credit prices by up to 67%, making woodland creation more economically viable and potentially removing up to 19 million tonnes of carbon emissions. Lead author, CCFI Executive Fellow Dr Raúl C. Rosales emphasizes the transformative potential of afforestation, stating that this policy change could resolve economic barriers almost overnight.

This collaborative effort between academia, industry, and policymakers highlights the crucial role of making environmentally responsible decisions profitable.