Home Linda Baker's Blog Converting carbon credits to health care

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

Gone Girl

News
Monday, September 29, 2014
roundup-logo-thumb-14BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Wehby disappears, Kitzhaber fails to disclose and Seattle gets bike share before Portland.


Read more...

Two Sides of the Coin

Contributed Blogs
Friday, September 26, 2014
0926 iphone6-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | GUEST BLOGGER

This post focuses on the recent release of the new Apple iPhone as well as Alibaba's IPO, the largest U.S. IPO in history.


Read more...

Kill the Meeting

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Meetings get a bad rap. A few local companies make them count.


Read more...

The 100 Best Companies survey is open

News
Friday, October 24, 2014

100-best-logo-2015 500pxw-1How does your workplace stack up against competitors? How can you improve workplace practices to help recruit and retain employees? Find out by taking our 100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon survey!


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...

The Diaspora

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY LEE VAN DER VOO

Former newspaper reporters move into brand journalism.


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