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Who We Are

Our History

Our story begins in 1997 when The Climate Trust was founded as the very first carbon offset fund in the nation.

For over 25 years, we have operated as a nonprofit leader pioneering carbon market innovations to address climate impact through conservation and good land stewardship. Since our founding, we have advocated for carbon projects that benefit the climate and generate revenue for land stewards. In recent years, we have focused specifically on scaling nature-based solutions for grasslands and forests.

Our history is full of firsts and our work is guided by a team of experts that translate technical details into tangible impacts that benefit people and our planet.  To date, we have reduced over 9.8 million metric tons of GHG emissions and have been a trusted voice in carbon markets, conservation, and forestry. We have strong relationships with both landowners and carbon offset buyers who have the power to move the lever through their investments. We also regularly contribute to policy and technical recommendations as an advisor and help carbon registries improve their protocols and methodologies for greater climate impact. 

Since our work first began, we have served as an advisor to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the Verified Carbon Standard steering committee, the District of Columbia’s voluntary climate action plan, the Oregon Governor’s Carbon Policy Office in Natural and Working Lands Offset Work Group, and most recently, the Washington Department of Ecology’s Clean Fuel Standard Carbon Sequestration Advisory Panel. 

Image looking up through trees with yellow fall foliage.

1997: Became the first offset fund entity in the nation

The Climate Trust was founded to reduce emissions and sequester carbon in response to the Oregon Carbon Dioxide Standard, the country’s first legislation requiring energy facilities to offset emissions.

Image of multiple cowboys chasing after a cow in a field.

2001: Wrote the first standard for a U.S. offset project

Image of a blue river surrounded by tall green evergreen trees.

2003: Began financing riparian reforestation in the Deschutes River Basin

2005: Supported launch of Cool Climate Concrete, one of the first-ever programs to reduce concrete GHG emissions

Image of trees with a light snow cover and a cloudy sky.

2007: Provided carbon finance to assist Lummi Nation re-acquire culturally significant Washington forestlands

2007: Founded the Offset Quality Initiative

Pioneering effort to promote consensus policy to establish key criteria for high quality offsets in the earliest days of the market

Image of a team of scientists overlooking a river bank in the forest.

2007: Began NW Natural Smart Energy program partnership

2008: Began Colorado Carbon Fund program partnership

Image of a green overgrown field with a pond and blue cloudy sky.

2011: Awarded NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant

Awarded in partnership with the Fertilizer Institute to explore carbon incentives for farmers to adopt nutrient management practices.

2013: Pioneered grassland carbon protocols on American Carbon Registry’s Rangeland Protocol Technical Committee

Image of a yellow wheat field and bright blue sky.

2014: Transacted the first-ever ACR Grassland Conservation credits with Ducks Unlimited

2015: Provided carbon finance to assist Yurok Tribe re-acquire historical California forestland

Image of a cowboy on horseback with rope in the distance.

2015: Awarded NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant for Working Lands Carbon Fund

2016: Launched Climate Trust Capital Fund I

Climate Trust Capital Fund I demonstrated the first-ever private equity model fund for carbon. Fund I began generating revenues in 2019 and is forecast to generate a market rate of return. This project was supported by a $5.5 million grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Image of a field during the very beginning of sunrise.

2017: Formed the Zumwalt Prairie Carbon Cooperative

The Climate Trust demonstrated the first-ever use of up-front carbon finance to conserve grasslands.

2020: Formed Montana’s Great Plains Carbon Cooperative

The Climate Trust assisted Montana ranchers in accessing carbon markets as a resource to conserve their rangelands.

Image of a clearing in a forest on a bright sunny day.

2021: Established the first wildfire restoration project on CAR’s Climate Forward Program

The Climate Trust is working with the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation in Washington to restore forests through the Climate Action Reserve’s program.

2022: Authored report for Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund and the Environmental Defense Fund

The Climate Trust provided analysis entitled, “Assessing Carbon Markets Against the Goals of Small and Underserved Black Forest Landowners in the U.S.”

Image looking up through trees with yellow fall foliage.

2023: Awarded federal funds from USDA Climate-Smart Commodities Grant Program

The Climate Trust was awarded $15 million in federal funding from the USDA for reforestation projects and climate-smart timber programs.