Munich Re launches carbon removal venture

TreeTrust brokers and structures afforestation projects to offset companies' emissions

Munich Re launches carbon removal venture


By Ryan Smith

Munich Re has announced the launch of TreeTrust, a corporate venture that brokers and structures high-quality afforestation projects for carbon removal.

TreeTrust’s first two clients, the Valiant Group and Munich Re, will invest in company forests. The initial carbon removal project launched in May with the planting of trees across more than 10 million square meters of former grassland in Costa Rica. As these new forests grow over the next 40 years, they will capture more than 600,000 tons of CO2, Munich Re said.

BaumInvest, TreeTrust’s partner and project developer, will oversee the afforestation onsite and issue the CO2 certificates, Munich Re said. The Costa Rica project will help reestablish a rainforest. The project will also create jobs in the area. TreeTrust plans to launch more projects of a similar nature, all based on UN Sustainable Development Goals.

More companies are looking for ways to capture carbon in order to offset their operational emissions and meet net-zero targets, Munich Re said. Thus, the demand for premium carbon credits has spiked in recent years. The market volume will need to grow by a factor of 15 between now and 2030 to meet the climate targets of the Paris Agreement, Munich Re said. TreeTrust facilitates and structures transactions for corporate clients seeking to access Gold Standard-certified afforestation investments for carbon removal.

“By 2030, the Valiant Group will reduce the carbon emissions from its manufacturing and business operations by 50%,” said Jens Wichtermann, director of sustainability management at the Valiant Group. “We will offset the remaining emissions through afforestation projects. Our first-ever own endeavor will be helping to reestablish the Costa Rican rainforest – a project that meets our quality and sustainability standards. It thus constitutes a key cornerstone of our ambitious long-term climate strategy.”

Michael Menhart, in charge of sustainability at Munich Re, added: “Our project with TreeTrust is an innovative, high-quality solution that will help us achieve our net-zero targets between now and 2030, but also thereafter. As one of our long-term solutions, the new afforestation project enables us to offset our unavoidable operational emissions by means of the new forest that will soon start growing in Costa Rica. What’s more, this forest project will hedge against rising prices for voluntary carbon credits.”

“Our goal is to create a new, premium range of solutions in the market for voluntary carbon credits,” said Andreas Heger, who manages TreeTrust along with Philipp von der Schulenburg. “Companies are willing to invest in offsetting their emissions. We help them select just the right long-term projects, while saving them time.”

“Our clients benefit from the expertise in climate, risk management and structuring that we as a Munich Re venture bring to the table,” von der Schulenburg added.

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