The Queretaro government aims to offset 25% of CO2 emissions produced by the industrial sector in 2023. To achieve this goal, companies have implemented a compensation mechanism based on regional forest conservation.
The industrial sector is responsible for the annual emission of 2 million t of CO2 in Queretaro. Marco Antonio del Prete, Minister, Queretaro Ministry for Sustainable Development (SEDESU), pointed out that this year, the state government will implement compensation mechanisms to mitigate 400,000-500,000t of CO2, which represents between 20% and 25% of the total emissions produced in the state.
The main compensation mechanism applied considers the protection of forests in the state through a low-carbon emissions certification. Once an area is protected, it undergoes an approval process through an international certifying body that authenticates the amount of carbon absorbed. To determine this, measurements of the trees, carbon in the soil and CO2 absorption are taken at the beginning and end of the process.
This initiative also involves remuneration for community landowners to whom the protected area belongs. Currently, 14,000ha of Sierra Gorda’s forest are protected under this model. “The program has had a good response. Currently, we have compensated approximately 350,000t of CO2. Our goal is to reach around 500,000t by the end of the year," Del Prete stated.
Del Prete highlighted this mechanism allows companies to make up for their GHG emissions, even when they do not have the capacity to modify their production processes. “The program has two main purposes: to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere and to meet the decarbonization objectives of companies, a global trend demanded by the industry and even supply chains,” he said. Del Prete added that companies that lack decarbonization objectives will likely not be considered as suppliers by international industries operating under sustainability models.
It is estimated that between 10 and 12 industrial companies have completed the process. This year, the first four low-carbon certificates were awarded to the regional companies COR Industries, THOR Quimicos de México, TREMEC and Balanced Nutrients.
Del Prete explained that there are plans to include other natural areas in this program. Moreover, there are projections to expand the scope and integrate the management of special waste and a solar panel installation program as alternative compensation mechanisms. Additionally, he mentioned that, in the medium term, the initiative may also involve companies in the service sector.