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A city employee in a yellow safety vest helps a young girl plant a tree during Arbor Day at Lake Hiawatha

Carbon Offset Program

As a component of our Twin Cities Climate Resiliency Initiative, Green Cities Accord launched Minnesota’s first urban tree carbon offset program in collaboration with City Forest Credits, an ICROA endorsed national nonprofit carbon registry. Our carbon offset program is designed to increase funding to plant and protect urban trees through the sale of high-integrity carbon offsets generated by the planting and protection of urban trees. Revenue generated by the sale of offsets is invested into future tree planting and maintenance.

Partnering with the forestry departments of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Hennepin County and the City of St. Paul, our projects include over 50,000 newly planted urban trees that are legally protected, maintained and monitored for at least 25 years. The Carbon+ Credits issued by City Forest Credits not only quantify the carbon sequestered by our tree planting projects – they also quantify the air quality improvements, stormwater runoff mitigation and energy costs reductions achieved by the trees enrolled in our program.

As Project Operator, Green Cities Accord is responsible for selling the carbon offsets generated by these projects. Green Cities Accord seeks buyers that have committed to reducing their carbon emissions and are seeking to offset unavoidable emissions. Proceeds from the sales of these carbon offsets are returned to our tree planting partners and are used to plant and maintain additional trees. 


Start a Carbon Offset Project with Us

Contact us if your organization is interested in launching an urban tree carbon offset project.  Our carbon offset projects are designed to increase funding to plant, maintain and protect urban trees. Revenue generated by the sale of offsets is invested into future tree planting and maintenance efforts.

Green Cities Accord collaborates with City Forest Credits to register urban tree planting and preservation projects. A project must be within an “urban area” as defined and mapped by the U.S. Census Bureau. Projects can also be within the boundary of incorporated or unincorporated cities or towns, on certain watershed lands and transportation, power transmission and utility right of ways. See the location eligibility tool to determine if your project fits the criteria.

Planting projects involve planting new trees to sequester carbon. These projects require a 26-year commitment and can include single trees planted at least 16.5 feet or more apart from each other or canopy style plantings in which saplings are planted in high densities to generate a forested stand.

Preservation projects protect existing urban forested stands from development and deforestation in order to allow it to continue sequestering carbon. These projects last from 40 to 100 years.

Purchase carbon offsets

Purchase carbon offsets from Green Cities Accord as a way to take local climate action and directly contribute to the health and well-being of your community.

What is a carbon offset?

Carbon offsets (also referred to as carbon credits) represent the removal or avoidance of greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere through specific projects or activities, such as preserving threatened trees or planting new trees. When individuals or organizations purchase carbon offsets, they are essentially funding these emission reduction projects to compensate for their own unavoidable emissions. Carbon offsets operate in the voluntary market, accessible to individuals, businesses, and organizations seeking to mitigate their carbon footprint voluntarily.

In an urban tree carbon offset program, not only are the trees sequestering carbon, but there are co-benefits that are quantified in resource unit and dollar value generated by the trees including stormwater mitigation, air quality improvements and energy use reduction. Urban tree carbon offsets provide an opportunity for organizations to take local climate action and purchase offsets from projects that also contribute to the health and well-being of communities. Learn more about how the benefits of urban trees are quantified on our blog. 

Carbon Offset Partnerships