While not the only source of greenhouse gases (GHG) and carbon dioxide, human activities are a major contributor. Among various projects, an investment in teak can help offset your carbon footprint and reduce the amount of atmospheric carbon while also being a profitable endeavor.
Carbon Footprint and Carbon Reduction
Energy production, agriculture, land-use change, industrial processes, and waste are the biggest sources of anthropogenic carbon. Whatever we do and wherever we go, our actions produce a certain amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. This amount translates to our carbon footprint. Carbon reduction aims at removing the carbon from the atmosphere and, thus, limit the increase in global temperatures as per the 2015 Paris Agreement. Carbon offsetting initiatives range from capturing and storing carbon to reducing and preventing carbon emissions. One lesser-known option focuses on afforestation and reforestation, specifically the use of teak trees (tectona grandis) to help offset our carbon footprint.
What is teak hardwood and why is it so special? The teak tree is a tropical hardwood that is particularly hard, durable, and oily. Its exceptional qualities and high-return yield made it a sought-after commodity, particularly in countries like India and China. Teak is used in the high-end boating industry, as well as outdoor furniture, and indoor and outdoor paneling. Tropical climates provide optimal growing conditions for teak; hence, its production has a powerful socio-ecological impact on the developing countries in the region. Perhaps the most important asset of teak, in light of climate change, is its ability to absorb and store significant amounts of atmospheric carbon.
Teak vs. Carbon Footprint
Once we calculate our carbon footprint, carbon offsetting comes into the spotlight. To compensate for carbon emissions, one can invest in carbon offsets where one carbon offset credit equals one metric ton of carbon. These offsets can be generated in the forestry sector where trees store carbon through the process of photosynthesis. This is where the teak tree comes into play. A recent study in Thailand has shown that teak plantations can create stock in the range between 81.34 and 221.51 metric tons of carbon per hectare, depending on the age of the tree. For comparison purposes, an average person in the U.S. emits around 16 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.
Can an Investment in Teak Offset Carbon Footprint?
As demand for teak hardwood largely surpasses its production, investment opportunities in teak do not come as surprise. However, it is not only an investment in a luxury commodity that makes teak so interesting. It is the possibility to counterbalance the production of carbon dioxide in one location by removing it at another. Carbon offsets, also called carbon offset credits, are a part of carbon markets. Carbon markets should, ideally, serve to balance the production and removal of carbon from the atmosphere.
Carbon credits provide businesses with an opportunity to direct their capital toward carbon-reducing projects and offset their emissions either by capturing or storing existing carbon dioxide or preventing new emissions. By purchasing carbon credits corresponding to their carbon emissions, individuals and businesses alike help the mitigation of climate change. However, controversies regarding the price of carbon credit and its influence have yet to be addressed on a global level.
In essence, an investment in teak can offset your carbon footprint from a scientific point of view. From an economic standpoint, an investment in luxury commodities such as teak hardwood is sound. It is another matter if carbon markets will regulate (and raise) the price of carbon credit and, thus, incentivize communities in developing countries to provide better conditions for investments in teak.
Aside from a direct investment in teak plantation, one can offset his/her carbon footprint by investing in teak products. These commodities, such as teak hardwood floors or porches, for example, serve as carbon storage. Carbon trapped in those teak products is removed from the atmosphere while another generation of teak is being grown. The durability of hardwood merchandise and the possibility that teak items are used as energy source once their lifespan is at the end creates an opportunity to reduce fossil fuel consumption. By doing so, carbon released back into the atmosphere will come from the teak storage, and not from additional, new sources of carbon dioxide.
Most modern-day businesses are maintaining their global networks largely using air freight and travel. Additionally, moving and shipping industries, among many others, heavily rely on fossil fuels and are the perfect candidates for carbon footprint assessment and offset programs. Potentially, all moving businesses listed in the usamovingreviews.com directory could invest in teak plantations and counterbalance their carbon footprint.
Even though carbon offsetting is mandatory for big polluters in developed countries, some companies that are not under a legal obligation to reduce their carbon footprint have recognized its importance. While carbon offsetting helps mitigate companies’ contributions to GHG (greenhouse gases), it also provides measurable proof of their efforts in conducting green business. It is a basis for a successful and cost-effective marketing strategy. It would also help companies attract and retain their employees, not only their customers.
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats
According to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) paper on integrating forestry in climate change strategies, forests including teak plantations have a high potential for climate change mitigation. As teak grows best in the range of 10-degree below and 10-degree above the equator, it befalls developing countries in the region to focus on incentives and safeguards allowing investments in teak. Even though the benefits seem clear, there are still possible pitfalls. Developed countries must invest in the education of local communities on proper forest management.
Reducing possibilities for teak forest fires, no matter how unlikely, afforestation, reforestation, and selective harvest allow for a much longer lifespan of trees and, thus, increased absorption of carbon. The full carbon-storing capacity of the teak hardwood is reached at 30 years. However, the high demand for teak, which is constantly increasing along with its price, presents a challenge. There is a risk that trees are harvested before they near their full storing capacity; though with Teak Hardwoods, this worry is not necessary as harvest doesn’t occur until full maturity. An investment in teak can offset your carbon footprint and at the same time, satisfy the growing demand for teak hardwood in the developed countries.
I watched your presentation at the Offshore Wealth Summit and spent this week contemplating the possibility. I am interested in the 15 yr old tree option with the residency in Panama. Is that still available? Do you help us with the paperwork for residency? I’d like to know more, please. I remember hearing about the chance to have a spouse also as a dependent. I’m excited about helping the planet and your farm while also opening that door for us!