Sponsored by Energy Trust

Converting carbon credits to health care

| Print |  Email
Linda Baker
Wednesday, April 17, 2013

BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

The Pinchot Institute for Conservation and PacificSource Health Plans have partnered to provide a first of its kind "ATreeM" card that uses proceeds from American Carbon Registry-certified carbon credits to provide health care funds to family forest owners.

According to Pinchot's Alex Andrus, the Oregon pilot project, three years in the making, grew out of a survey showing that health care costs were one of the main reasons family forest owners sold off land to be subdivided for development purposes. The partnership also aims to grow the fledgling U.S. market for carbon credits, which companies and investors purchase to offset pollution emissions. 

So far, most entities interested in purchasing carbon credits invest in emissions reductions projects in developing countries, not the United States. 

Enter the Forest Health-Human Health Initiative, in which investors purchase American Carbon Registry-certified carbon credits, with the proceeds returned to landowners in the form of cash deposits to their PacificSource ATreeMT card. By converting carbon credits into health care dollars, so the logic goes, family forest owners will keep the land as forest, offsetting greenhouse gas emissions generated by development.

"The initiative adds value at every point in the chain," says Andrus.

Unlike other health care debit cards, the ATreeMT does not require participation in any health insurance policy, participation in any employer-provided health insurance plan, as is the case in health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs). The card also limits debits to only health care expenses such as prescription purchases, wellness care, dental care, co-pays, and insurance deductibles.

In the absence of mandatory limits on carbon, the U.S. carbon market has struggled for years. California instituted a cap and trade program this year, and Oregon legislators are now debating a carbon tax.  At the same time, the state is pushing forward with pioneering programs programs to reduce health care costs.

To be sure, the Pinchot/PacificSource partnership is one very small solution to two very big problems.

The innovators are undeterred.

"As of today, we are officially ready to talk to investors and make transactions," Andrus says. 

OB Editor Linda Baker keeps tabs on CEO and public policy issues, with frequent forays into innovation, entrepreneurship, and bikes.

 

More Articles

Shifting Ground

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE

Bans on genetically modified crops create uncertainty for farmers.


Read more...

What I'm Reading

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Peter Lizotte at ACME Business Solutions and Roger Busse at Pacific Continental Bank share their favorite reads.


Read more...

The short list: Holiday habits of six Oregon CEOs

The Latest
Thursday, December 11, 2014
121214-xmaslist1BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

We ask business and nonprofit leaders how they survive the season.


Read more...

A Complex Portrait: Immigration, Jobs and the Economy

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE & KIM MOORE

Oregon Business reports on the visa squeeze, the skills gap and foreign-born residents who are revitalizing rural Oregon.


Read more...

Political Clout

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

Businesses spend billions of dollars each year trying to influence political decision makers by piling money into campaigns.


Read more...

Legislative Preview: A Shifting Balance

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY APRIL STREETER

Democratic gains pave the way for a revival of environment and labor bills as revenue reform languishes.


Read more...

Woman of Steel

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Tamara Lundgren tackles the challenges—without getting trampled.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS