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The Six Building Blocks for Purchasing Carbon Removal

Despite the urgent need for carbon dioxide removal (CDR) to reach significant levels in the near term, the market is currently underdeveloped, with only a few organizations having engaged in CDR procurement. This report examines the motivations, internal drivers, and decision-making processes of these early adopters, drawing insights from interviews with 14 corporate sustainability leaders who have successfully overseen (pre-)purchases of durable CDR credits. It targets current and future sustainability leaders and stakeholders aiming to advance CDR initiatives within their organizations. By analyzing the experiences of these early adopters, the report seeks to encourage more voluntary CDR buyers to bridge the gap between net-zero commitments and the demand for CDR necessary to meet science-based targets.


The report identifies six essential building blocks for guiding an organization’s initial CDR credit purchases. The first building block involves raising awareness about the necessity and urgency of CDR, typically initiated by a sustainability lead or the CEO. This is followed by five additional building blocks that address risks, explore business opportunities, source funding, onboard business units, and secure CEO approval. These steps can be undertaken in various sequences and with different emphases, depending on the organization’s internal structures, culture, and specific CDR strategy and portfolio.


Key themes across the CDR strategy building blocks include the importance of building and sharing knowledge within the organization to navigate the complex CDR ecosystem and gain stakeholder support. Sustainability leaders must also craft and communicate a compelling business case that aligns with the organization's core objectives. Effective development and implementation of the CDR strategy require early and continuous collaboration across business units and key stakeholders, highlighting the need for collective effort and strong leadership.


This report was developed by sus.lab in collaboration with the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt and the non-profit CDR startup accelerator and ecosystem builder remove.


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