top of page

Carbon Cooperative Model

The Kulshan Carbon Trust (KCT) envisages a community-centered network hub to effectively direct financial resources and social energy toward appropriate natural climate solutions (NCS). Existing carbon markets have failed to gain the trust of climate campaigners and sustainability-minded business leaders. Let’s reexamine the financialized model that underlies current carbon markets. Let’s embed proven strategies into a market design and legal framework that links biodynamic food cultivation and ecological forestry with commercial models that honor good faith and facilitate fair dealing. Let’s model a carbon cooperative to lead with shared principles that assure eco-credit quality and sensibly demonstrate additionality, resiliency, and synergies.


Carbon markets are an increasingly important way to fund climate resilience projects. However, many climate advocates have strong misgivings about carbon offsets. In addition, some sustainability-minded business leaders have expressed disappointment with available carbon credits. Voluntary carbon markets depend on trust. Purchasing carbon offsets as a commodity may forego meaningful opportunities to decarbonize the economy. We believe it’s time to reexamine the financialized model that underlies current carbon markets. The Kulshan Carbon Trust (KCT) envisions a new kind of cooperative to channel financial resources and social energy into scalable natural climate solutions (NCS) that bring communities together to address the climate crisis constructively. 


We are examining market designs and legal frameworks that can connect regenerative agriculture and ecological forestry with business models founded on good faith and fair dealing. KCT intends to imbue this model carbon co-op with shared principles that assure the integrity and quality of carbon credits (as insets or offsets) by demonstrating additionality and measuring, reporting, and verifying avoided CO2 or methane emissions and atmospheric carbon removal.

Image by UX Indonesia

Current Status

KCT is convening a 10-12 person workgroup comprising a team of researchers and developers supported by diverse subject matter experts and co-op practitioners. This interdisciplinary and intergenerational workgroup will answer questions and solve problems we have identified on the path to an operational Kulshan Carbon Co-op (KCC). The team will prepare a roadmap with detailed implementation plans and a budget to launch this first-of-its-kind carbon co-op.

Image by Marita Kavelashvili

Next Steps

The task ahead involves creating a community hub where land stewards can become carbon producers by engaging the suppliers, workforce, supporters, investors, and marketers they need to succeed. The KCT expects to facilitate but not operate the carbon co-op. We see our role as providing the know-how and training that enables landowners to become carbon farmers by adopting natural climate solutions. The KCC offers a framework to assemble a trustworthy value chain, achieve economies of scale, spread costs, and conduct value-added marketing on behalf of its members. 


Going forward, KCT will be engaging with the Puget Sound Food Hub (PSFH) farmers’ cooperative and its network to afford cost-effective access to tools, processes, and markets. Rather than relying on distant carbon markets, we see the carbon co-op as offering place-based eco-credits made available by PSFH to its food buyers and marketed directly by KCC at farmers’ markets and community gatherings.

Image by Dylan Gillis
bottom of page