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STOCK CO2, the first multi-sector carbon offset operator

Article publié le 21 March 2022 par Thomas MARTAL, President of STOCK CO2

Meeting with Thomas MARTAL, President of STOCK CO2, the start-up created in 2019 which accelerates the French ecological transition thanks to carbon offsetting    

Who are you? And where does your entrepreneurial spirit come from?

After graduating from the Urban School of Sciences Po Paris, I started as a real estate developer for Icade, developing large urban projects for a few years. During this period, I developed an awareness about my carbon footprint impact and the many local opportunities available in order to offset our impact.

It was while looking for solutions to offset the carbon impact of an urban operation we were planning with local authorities, that I realised that there was a lack of a solution for bringing together project owners wishing to promote their efforts and companies wishing to offset their emissions.

It was on the basis of this simple observation, shared with my two associates, that we contacted Icade’s start-up studio, Urban Odyssey. The teams helped us structure our vision and transform it into a business model. It was also at this time that we joined the HEC incubator at Station F (Paris), and that we met Hervé Dechene, VP Strategy at SprintProject.

How was your company born (context, observation, initial objectives, evolution…)?

STOCK CO2 was born from the observation that it was urgent to act to limit the impact of anthropogenic emissions (all greenhouse gas emissions related to human activity), and that carbon offsetting is one of the levers to accelerate the decarbonisation of our territory.

Before the creation of the Low-Carbon Label in 2019, there were no solutions for offsetting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in France. The creation of a state framework for carbon credits, supported by the French Ministry of Ecology, has thus allowed the emergence of virtuous and local environmental projects financed by the carbon credits they generate.

From the beginning, it seemed clear to us that the “hole in the racket” inherent to French carbon offsetting was a problem linked to the meeting of supply and demand. Through STOCK CO2, we want to create the first multi-sector carbon offsetting operator allowing project developers to benefit from corporate financing, in the form of an integrated platform.

Who are your customers? And what is the need you are meeting?

We have a large variety of clients, with around fifty accounts, ranging from very small companies to CAC 40 groups, covering various fields : energy, transport, real estate, digital, etc. What they have in common is their proactive approach to measuring and reducing their own emissions, combined with a broader vision supported by offsetting, in order to actively contribute to reducing the carbon impact of a sector or a territory.

How can your solution improve the existing Supply Chain?

Supply chain actors know that controlling their carbon impact is becoming a necessity. But in some cases, they may feel powerless to meet the 2050 carbon neutrality objective. This is where we come in.

We seek to create and push with them the solutions that will enable them to minimise their environmental impact in the future, by being part of low-carbon industries. The Low-Carbon Label is a great tool if we look at it as a catalyst for good practices. It also helps to reconnect worlds that don’t talk much to each other.

For example, the carbon contribution of a Supply Chain group to the establishment of low-carbon rapeseed crops, or the   of livestock effluents helps to structure the biofuel sector, which ultimately reduces the impact of the transport sector as a whole. We always seek to target projects with a direct or indirect impact on the decarbonisation of our clients’ activity chain.

More directly linked to mobility issues, we are closely monitoring the development of new carbon compensation fields validated by the Low Carbon Label, such as Renault Trucks’ reflection on facilitating the electrification of trucks, or the replacement of combustion vehicles by three-wheelers or cargo bikes.

Where are you today in the development of your business? And what is your action plan?

STOCK CO2 is now an established carbon offset operator in France. We have certified about 25% of the French carbon offset volumes since the creation of the Low-Carbon Label. We develop projects all over France thanks to our network of local partners. We offer a wide variety of forestry, agricultural and building projects.

In 2019, when STOCK CO2 was created, we dreamed of creating a territorial carbon offset operator. We are convinced that the carbon contribution of companies must play a major role in the decarbonisation of a territory, which leads us to develop a “multi-local” approach, like   acupuncture, conceptualized by Jaime Lerner. The sum of decarbonisation actions spread over a territory boosts good practices and encourages new actors to commit to the ecological transition.

Thus, in the medium term, we would like to develop carbon compensation platforms that would allow territories to manage their decarbonisation strategy by mobilising companies wishing to become involved. We are currently in discussion with a few public players (regions, departments, cities) to set up the first pilots.

Finally, we are looking forward to the emergence of a European framework for certified carbon offsetting at the European Union level in order to develop our multi-local carbon offsetting activity beyond the French borders.

How does STOCK CO2 fit into the HQE certification framework?

There is no direct link between carbon offsetting and HEQ (High Environmental Quality) Building certification. For example, offsetting the emissions of a building does not facilitate obtaining HQE certification. Nevertheless, HQE “sustainable buildings” certification and voluntary carbon offsetting are moving in the same direction. In fact, the Circular Economy and reuse are part of the solutions available to building owners to reduce the carbon footprint of their buildings in terms of HQE certification, but they also allow carbon credits to be used in certain situations.

Generally speaking, carbon credits are used in sectors that are subjected to additional costs related to the implementation of the carbon reduction or sequestration solution. As HQE buildings are demanding in their construction processes, it is possible to imagine synergies between HQE and carbon offsetting in the future.

For the record, the fundamental principles of local carbon offsetting are:

  • Carbon additionality (reality of avoided and/or reduced carbon emissions)
  • Economic additionality (need for financing)
  • Sustainability of the project is ensured
  • Modelization of carbon flows is scientifically recognised
  • Verification audit is independent of the stakeholders
  • Carbon credits are unique

Carbon offsetting is a real incentive mechanism for the ecological transition, but one must nevertheless be careful of the risk of double accounting. Indeed, emission reductions accounted for in the carbon balance of a building cannot be transferred if they are attributed to the project owner.



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