Exclusive Interview: Roger Williams (Bluesource) and Stephen Levesque (Campbell Global) discuss their new partnership and offer insight into the future offset market

August 2, 2018 by Emily Jackson

Campbell Global and Bluesource have recently partnered in the timberland investment management and environmental attributes markets – seeking to analyse assets including carbon offset credits. A previous collaboration saw the transition of voluntary offset credits to ARBOCS from approximately 9,000 acres of timberlands. The full press release can be found here

Here CC.info had the opportunity to discuss the partnership with Roger Williams, Bluesource President and Stephen Levesque, Managing Director of Operations for Campbell Global.  

EJ: This sounds like a really exciting step for both companies, and indeed for the market. What are you most hoping to get out of the partnership?

Stephen Levesque (SL): The partnership leverages our forest management experience and investment expertise with Bluesource’s proven leadership in the environmental asset markets. We expect this combination to create new investment opportunities, and create new value for investors.

Roger Williams (RW): By partnering with Campbell Global, we’ll have a broader reach with investors focused on both bottom line value and supporting climate and environmental benefits. We’re excited to identify opportunities during the acquisition phase and will be very proactive in deriving these dual benefits for investors.

EJ: As in your previous collaboration, where voluntary carbon offset credits were transitioned to the CARB compliance programme, do you plan to focus on developing offsets for use on the CARB offset market?

SL: Each opportunity is highly situational, dependent on the client’s investment objectives and the specific property. A benefit of the partnership is that we are well positioned to participate in both the CARB regulated market and the voluntary markets. 

RW: We will be assessing opportunities that will deliver the best value for investors regardless of path to market. In addition to our history in supplying volume to the CARB market we are seeing strong and increasing demand for forest carbon credits in the voluntary market. We think our partnership will allow us to effectively participate in that market as well.

EJ: Will the call for DEBs from 2021 affect your plans in any way? 

RW: We are keeping our eye on how CARBs implementation of DEBs post 2021 will affect the market. That still is in many ways a moving target, but we are glad to see current, continued strong pricing and our ability to generate attractive financial and environmental returns from these projects.

EJ: How do you view the potential for offset projects from Timber, compared to other project types? 

RW: There has been high demand for forest carbon offsets in both the compliance and voluntary markets. Forest carbon projects typically generate relatively large volumes of credits and associated climate benefits. These projects also are attractive because of the co-benefits they provide such as habitat and watershed protection.

SL: I agree. Our experience indicates there are tremendous opportunities within timber as investors become increasingly focused on responsible investment. We see that opportunity developing even further through the Campbell Global / Bluesource partnership, as we develop win-win scenarios presented by the offset markets.

EJ: What challenges may face the regulatory offset market in the next 10 years?  

RW: As mentioned previously, we are keeping our eye on how implementation of the California program post 2021 will influence supply, demand and pricing. The recent political developments in Ontario were certainly a near term step backwards. That said, the macro trend of societal pressure on leaders to take action on climate change will create increasing opportunities in our space. It is a great time to innovate and lead in these markets.

SL: We’re seeing an increased focus from clients on responsible investment topics. Investors increasingly value and are seeking opportunities to generate positive returns in a manner that integrates ESG considerations. That interest is helping to mitigate uncertainty in domestic or international policy.

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