Tens years after he left the mayor’s office, Pat Fiacco now has his sights on a program that he says will allow companies to offset their emissions with the help of Saskatchewan’s traditional land stewards.
At a news conference scheduled for Monday, Fiacco, who now works with Carbon RX, will outline how the company plans to further partner with Indigenous communities through the exchange of carbon credits.
The exchange would see a company purchase a credit from a First Nation or Indigenous landholder, allowing the business to meet their environmental, social and governance targets. In turn, participating Indigenous communities would receive income for the sale.
“Indigenous peoples have always focused on being the experts and keepers of the land, the water and the air. But, they haven’t been given the opportunity to participate in the carbon market,” said Fiacco, who served as Regina’s mayor for 12 years from 2000 to 2012, and is now the regional manager for Carbon RX. “So, we’re facilitating that opportunity and ensuring they are participating and being recognized.”
Carbon credits are a tool used by companies to offset their emissions and meet other environmental goals. With Indigenous communities, Carbon RX is looking to use the land as a natural way to sequester carbon.
He explained the land must be registered before it’s able to sell carbon credits. Soil samples and other data points will be used to determine its carbon credit value. Once established, First Nations can either hold on to that value or sell them for credit.
“As time goes by, the value of those carbon credits are going to grow,” Fiacco explained. “And when the band determines that there is a buyer that wants to buy the carbon credits, they’re given the option to either hold them or to sell.”
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He said First Nations in Canada have sovereignty over 150 million acres of land, which could play a role in sequestering carbon from the atmosphere. These lands include farms, grasslands and forests that naturally take in carbon.
The announcement coincides with a summit, hosted by Carbon RX, that includes various speakers on how Indigenous communities can play a role in benefiting economically by helping companies offset their carbon emissions.
In a Carbon RX news release issued in June, Chief George Cote of Cote First Nation said it’s now time to work together and collectively manage the land.
“The more we work together the greater our impact will be. We are the original environmentalists,” he stated.
Various governments have their own carbon credit programs. For instance, the federal government’s offset program allows proponents to sell credits to other companies looking to meet climate targets or commitments.
Carbon RX’s plan would be done through what’s known as the voluntary market, which normally applies to companies that aren’t mandated to reduce emissions but want to meet their own sustainability goals.
Fiacco said there has been over 1,500 companies that have committed to reducing their footprint through the voluntary market.
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