U.S. $500 million joint venture aims to curb climate change with forest investments

(Reuters) -Bluesource, a private U.S. company that advises companies on emissions reductions, said on Tuesday it has entered a $500 million joint venture with an investment firm to purchase timber forests to help curb climate change.

The joint venture with Oak Hill Advisors, called Bluesource Sustainable Forests Company, aims to purchase and more sustainably manage more than one million acres of forests in North America.

Oak Hill, which has more than $50 billion in assets, will finance the vast majority of the venture and Bluesource will finance the rest, said Roger Williams, the president of Bluesource.

Williams said the venture would allow his company to move beyond developing projects that generate carbon credits to becoming an asset manager of forest lands.

“There is a societal and climate benefit associated with harvesting forests less intensively and there are markets that exist today that reward long term management behavior,” said Williams.

The joint venture aims to buy timber forests or co-invest alongside traditional forest managers to develop carbon credits verified by independent organizations.

Bluesource said it would generate carbon credits by cutting down fewer trees than traditional timber operations and taking other steps to allow the forest to keep growing robustly and absorb more carbon dioxide than it would otherwise.

It added that it would sell the credits representing emissions reductions to companies, such as natural gas producers, in both mandatory carbon markets, like California, and voluntary carbon markets, where companies are looking to reduce emissions to net zero.

Bluesource, which manages nearly 80 forest projects from Alaska to South Carolina, did not say where the forests the joint venture aims to purchase or co-manage are located. They will likely be mixed hardwood forests, such as oaks, maples and poplar, rather than monoculture pine stands in the U.S. Southeast, Williams said.

Guggenheim Securities LLC acted as Bluesource’s financial advisor and placement agent on the venture.

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