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

Water World

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

Fred Ziari aims to feed the global population.


Read more...

Election Season

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014

We didn’t intend this issue to have an election season theme. But politics has a way of seeping into the cracks and fissures.


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...

Podcast: Turn Things Around with David Marquet

Contributed Blogs
Friday, October 17, 2014
davidmarquet thumbBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

How can you move from a command-and-control leadership model to one of true empowerment and accountability? David Marquet did, and he took notes along the way.


Read more...

Reimagining education to solve Oregon's student debt and underemployment problems

News
Thursday, November 13, 2014
carsonstudentdept-thumbBY RYAN CARSON | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

How do we skill up our future technology workforce in a smart way to take advantage of these high-paying jobs? The answer shouldn’t focus only on helping people get a bachelor’s degree.


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...

100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon [VIDEO]

News
Thursday, October 02, 2014

Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 11.17.21 AMMore than 5,500 employees from 180 organizations throughout the state participated in the 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon project.


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