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

Healthcare pullback

News
Thursday, November 20, 2014
112014-boehnercare-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Each month for Oregon Business, we assess factors that are shaping current capital market activity—and what they mean to investors. Here we take a look at two major developments regarding possible rollbacks of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).


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...

Growing a mobility cluster

News
Friday, October 31, 2014
0414 bikes bd2f6052BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Why are there so few transportation startups in Portland?  The city’s leadership in bike, transit and pedestrian transportation has been well-documented.  But that was then — when government and nonprofits paved the way for a new, less auto centric way of life.


Read more...

See How They Run

January-Powerbook 2015
Friday, December 12, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Studying ground-running birds, a group that ranks among nature's speediest and most agile bipedal runners, to build a faster robot.


Read more...

Behind the curtain: What students should know about accreditation and rankings

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, December 04, 2014
120414-edurating-thumbBY DEBRA RINGOLD | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

How important are institutional and/or program evaluations provided by third parties in selecting a college or university program?


Read more...

Old school: Paulsen's Pharmacy maintains old fashion ethos

The Latest
Thursday, December 18, 2014
121914-pharmacy-thumbBY MEGHAN NOLT

VIDEO: Under the radar — complete with a soda counter, the traditional Paulsen's Pharmacy looks to compete with big box retailers.


Read more...

Top stories in 2014

The Latest
Thursday, December 18, 2014
10-listthumb

2014 was a year of wild contradictions, fast-paced growth and unexpected revelations.


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