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Our Edge

We are experts maximising impact

Vertree’s team members have extensive experience working with corporates to deliver strategic action plans on how to navigate the transition to carbon neutrality

Leadership team

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Ariel Perez

With over a decade of experience trading, investing and managing risk in environmental markets, he is passionate about mobilizing the private sector to affect change while leveraging market-based mechanisms and…
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Taraneh Azad

As SYSTEMIQ’s Chief Operating Officer, Taraneh has a vital role in helping to build a resilient, agile, professional, trusting and trusted organisation. Among her many talents, she is a proven leader,…
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Dominique Strasdin

Dominique joined Hartree Partners in 2010, on the European Energy Marketing & Flow Trading desk offering risk management services to a broad range of energy participants – covering markets from…
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David Costa-D'Sa

With over 20 years of experience in the energy and environmental markets with Linklaters, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs, he remains deeply committed to the energy transition story and to…
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Rodrigo Bezerra

Rodrigo has over 15 years of experience in environmental markets and carbon finance in BP, IADB and EcoSecurities. His technical expertise spans in projects in 5 continents; and sectors such…
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Morten Rosse

Morten is leading SYSTEMIQ’s efforts on developing regenerative land use models that either create value from standing forest or create value with forest regrowth. These efforts in Natural Solutions combine…
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Irena Spazzapan

Irena leads SYSTEMIQ Solutions, the investing platform at SYSTEMIQ. An energy professional by background, Irena is an advisor and investor in early-stage companies and new funds that share a common…
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Douglas Flynn

Growing up on a game reserve in Zambia, Doug’s belief in the importance of natural systems has been lifelong. Doug is a leader within SYSTEMIQ’s Natural Solutions practice, combining experience…
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George Darrah

George has recently returned from a year leading the commercial development team for an ecosystem restoration company based in central Sumatra. The team achieved first revenue for the company, building…
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Alexandra Constantinescu

Alexandra joined the Hartree Environmental Products team in January 2020, focusing on voluntary carbon markets and forestry projects in particular.  Prior to this, she was an Energy Consultant at Hartree,…
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Johanna Schlueter

Johanna has just recently joined SYSTEMIQ to support Vertree and its mission. With a background in strategy consulting and commodities, also working at the Carbon desk at Hartree Partners, she…
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Ariel Perez

With over a decade of experience trading, investing and managing risk in environmental markets, he is passionate about mobilizing the private sector to affect change while leveraging market-based mechanisms and nature to address the climate crisis. He joined Hartree in 2015 to set up and lead the Environmental Products business. Prior to this, he was a managing partner at Mercuria and global head of emissions trading for Citigroup in London. Ariel holds a BS in applied economics and management from Cornell University.

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Taraneh Azad

As SYSTEMIQ’s Chief Operating Officer, Taraneh has a vital role in helping to build a resilient, agile, professional, trusting and trusted organisation. Among her many talents, she is a proven leader, investment professional and business architect. She has worked for the United Nations, TXU Europe, and for 19 years in finance for Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Hartree, covering corporate energy clients for their energy risk management, structuring and investments needs. She has worked around the world (Switzerland, UK, UAE and Kazakhstan), and is a German, English and Persian native speaker, a passionate team builder and people developer.

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Dominique Strasdin

Dominique joined Hartree Partners in 2010, on the European Energy Marketing & Flow Trading desk offering risk management services to a broad range of energy participants – covering markets from refined products to carbon emissions and environmental credits.
She has recently joined Vertree, leading business development and is committed to building long-term partnerships with corporates on their journey towards Net Zero, as well as project developers focusing on having long lasting positive impact on the environment, communities and biodiversity.
Prior to Hartree, she was an Oil Options broker at BGC, joining the desk directly from university where she studied International Banking with Finance.
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David Costa-D'Sa

With over 20 years of experience in the energy and environmental markets with Linklaters, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs, he remains deeply committed to the energy transition story and to the need for urgent action to prevent an impending climate crisis. Involved in the carbon markets from their early stages, he co-founded and built the first Environmental Financial Products business as part of the energy desk within Deutsche Bank. He is experienced in dealing with all aspects of the carbon markets – from trading offset credits to developing emissions reducing/avoiding projects – and brings a commercial aspect to sustainability topics, as he believes that an understanding of markets is crucial in any solution to the climate change and energy transition challenge.

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Rodrigo Bezerra

Rodrigo has over 15 years of experience in environmental markets and carbon finance in BP, IADB and EcoSecurities. His technical expertise spans in projects in 5 continents; and sectors such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, waste management, and forestry. He has worked on the implementation of one of the largest global carbon offset portfolios under the CDM, and has coordinated an international cooperation for the dissemination of low carbon agriculture technologies among smallholder farmers in the Amazon and Atlantic Forest Regions in Brazil. Rodrigo serves as a member of the VCS advisory committee which provides strategic guidance on the evolution of the VCS Program.

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Morten Rosse

Morten is leading SYSTEMIQ’s efforts on developing regenerative land use models that either create value from standing forest or create value with forest regrowth. These efforts in Natural Solutions combine top-down activities, such as establishing global coalitions for change, with bottom-up activities such as incubating project developers or technology players with net-positive concepts.

Morten spent 9 years at McKinsey & Company, where he was a leader in the Sustainability and Resource Productivity Practice. He has worked extensively with public-private partnerships to deliver sustainable economic development in particular around the topics of land use and circular economy, including helping to establish Partnership for Indonesia’s Sustainable Agriculture to address food, climate change and poverty challenges. 

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Irena Spazzapan

Irena leads SYSTEMIQ Solutions, the investing platform at SYSTEMIQ.

An energy professional by background, Irena is an advisor and investor in early-stage companies and new funds that share a common mission of system change across clean energy, materials and land use. She is passionate about business innovation and the role of outside-in disruption to accelerate a cleaner, healthier future.

She is on the Board of Upside Energy and Capterio, the first company spinning off from SYSTEMIQ, and on the Advisory Board of Habitat Energy. Irena was at Goldman Sachs for 12 years until 2017, leading Gas and Power Origination in Europe. She started her career at UNRWA in Syria. Irena has degrees from the University of Trieste and SOAS. She is a CFA charterholder.

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Douglas Flynn

Growing up on a game reserve in Zambia, Doug’s belief in the importance of natural systems has been lifelong.

Doug is a leader within SYSTEMIQ’s Natural Solutions practice, combining experience at ground level with large-scale strategy work. His particular area of expertise lies in sustainable land use and restoration in Africa, and how carbon and conservation finance can deliver lasting benefits for people and planet.

With an education and professional services background, he holds a First Class degree in Biological Sciences.

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George Darrah

George has recently returned from a year leading the commercial development team for an ecosystem restoration company based in central Sumatra. The team achieved first revenue for the company, building a portfolio of regenerative business models, which deliver positive outcomes for local forest communities and biodiversity, in addition to funding conservation and restoration activities. Before this George was a member of the founding team for a digital energy company in Sub-Saharan Africa, building the business model for a blend of different energy services. He has been working at ways to allocate true value to the natural world since beginning his career with BP in their carbon trading team. George currently leads Systemiq’s investment activities across the Regenerative Land-use platform.

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Alexandra Constantinescu

Alexandra joined the Hartree Environmental Products team in January 2020, focusing on voluntary carbon markets and forestry projects in particular.  Prior to this, she was an Energy Consultant at Hartree, where she worked with various upstream, midstream and downstream clients in Europe and the Middle East on business strategy development, energy transition strategy articulation, portfolio analyses and other policy and market assessment engagements. Alexandra started her career in media and research, having previously worked for the business development team of Thomson Reuters. She holds a Master’s degree in Environment and Development from the London School of Economics, and a Bachelor’s degree in Politics and International Relations from the University of Kent, Canterbury.

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Johanna Schlueter

Johanna has just recently joined SYSTEMIQ to support Vertree and its mission. With a background in strategy consulting and commodities, also working at the Carbon desk at Hartree Partners, she has found her passion for the carbon market. She now wants to make a sustainable impact on the world and lead companies towards climate change action.

Prior to this, Johanna completed her Master’s degree with honours from IE Business School in Madrid, Spain. She holds a Bachelor in Economics and Management from Bocconi University in Milan, Italy.

Latest from the knowledge centre

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Hartree Partners and ecosecurities launch Project Araucaria to generate $1.5bn to support habitat restoration across Latin America

The project will work with local farmers, landowners, cooperatives, and NGOs in Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay The project will…

  • The project will work with local farmers, landowners, cooperatives, and NGOs in Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay
  • The project will help design, finance, and develop nature-based carbon reduction and removal projects, aiming to achieve the highest level of accreditation
  • The project targets the creation of over 300 million tonnes of voluntary carbon credits over 30 years

Hartree Partners, Vertree’s founding partner, and ecosecurities today announce an estimated $1.5bn project to work with local farmers, landowners, associations, co-operatives, and NGOs in the Cono-Sur region of Latin America.

Named Project Araucaria after one of the most endangered tree species in the region, this project will help design, finance, and develop nature-based carbon reduction and removal projects in Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay, generating over 10 million tonnes of voluntary carbon credits each year.

Aggressive agricultural land use and conversion in Latin America now account for almost a third of global greenhouse gas emissions, and over half the deforestation in the world[1]. By working alongside people who own, farm, and support work on the land, Project Araucaria aims to reverse this trend by promoting the conservation and restoration of forests and implementing sustainable agricultural practices.

Ariel Perez, Partner at Hartree Partners, said:

“Reducing emissions is vital to halting devastating climate change; but it’s not enough. We also need to remove carbon that’s already in the atmosphere by restoring key habitats that have already been degraded and destroyed.

“Hartree’s project with ecosecurities will bring significant investment and expertise to farmers, agricultural producers, and landowners across Latin America by supporting their efforts to restore habitats and ecosystems, targeting the reduction and removal of carbon in the atmosphere by over 300 million tonnes.”

Ecosecurities, an impact-driven provider of environmental services with over two decades of experience in carbon emissions reduction and removal projects around the world, will use its on-the-ground presence in and knowledge of Latin America to engage farmers, producers, and landowners across the region. Ecosecurities aim to design and implement at least 20 projects and programmes.

Pablo Fernandez, CEO of ecosecurities said:

“If we are to turn climate commitments into tangible action, we must develop solutions that deliver benefits for local people, nature and, as a result, to the entire planet.

“This is why we are delighted to be partnering with Hartree to deliver Project Araucaria – a vitally important initiative that will promote sustainable production practices and, in turn, reduce global emissions.”

The portfolio aims to achieve certification under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and receive Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) status; it will be marketed by Vertree.

Hartree Partners, a leading global energy and commodities trading company will invest, develop, manage, and market the projects, to help meet the surging demand for high quality Verified Emissions Reductions as businesses look to play their part in addressing the climate emergency.

[1] The Nature Conservatory, Growing our way to a healthier climate, February 2017

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Unprecedented private sector finance deal to generate over $2bn to protect threatened forests, wildlife, and improve community livelihoods

Hartree Partners, Vertree founding partner,  and Wildlife Works sign landmark voluntary carbon market deal Over 20 new high-impact projects will…

  • Hartree Partners, Vertree founding partner,  and Wildlife Works sign landmark voluntary carbon market deal
  • Over 20 new high-impact projects will be implemented in collaboration with forest communities to protect threatened landscapes in Africa, Asia, and Latin America
  • Project portfolio to generate 20 million tonnes of Verified Emission Reductions (VERs) each year for the 30-year life of the projects

Hartree Partners and Wildlife Works announce a ground-breaking deal that will generate over $2bn of private sector investment to enable communities to protect biodiversity and forests at risk from deforestation.

13 million hectares of tropical forest, an area the size of Greece, is currently lost to deforestation every year. But, to keep the increase in global temperature below 1.5 degrees in line with the Paris Agreement, more than three quarters of deforestation must be stopped by 2030. Thousands of companies are addressing the climate emergency and, with voluntary carbon markets playing an increasingly prominent role, the demand for Verified Emissions Reductions (VERs) is forecast to outstrip supply.

Hartree Partners, a leading global energy and commodities trading company, and Wildlife Works, an innovative global conservation company, will help meet this surging demand by partnering to invest, develop, manage and market one of the world’s largest portfolios of avoided deforestation projects. Hartree’s investment is effective immediately, with the projects expected to begin delivering VERs by 2023.

The deal, which will increase the availability of high-quality, verified, avoided deforestation projects by approximately 40%, will reduce emissions from deforestation by 20 million tonnes each year and 600 million tonnes over the 30-year life of the projects – equivalent to taking 4.3 million cars off the road.

The partnership will develop more than 20 high-impact projects in collaboration with local communities to improve livelihoods while preserving and protecting forests and wildlife.

The ground-breaking deal was facilitated by Everland, the exclusive marketing partner of Wildlife Works. The portfolio will be marketed by Everland and Vertree.

 

Ariel Perez, Partner at Hartree Partners, said:

“The scientific community agrees that the world cannot keep the increase in global temperature below 1.5 degrees without significant support from global businesses. Hartree Partners is proud to be providing substantial long-term investment in nature-based solutions through this partnership.

“We’re delighted to be working with such experienced partners as Wildlife Works to ensure that these projects reduce emissions, protect highly threatened species, and enhance the wellbeing of thousands of people in these forest communities who hold the key to stopping deforestation.”

Mike Korchinsky, Founder and CEO of Wildlife Works, said:

“While those in the Global North continue to debate what they want from climate action, our partners in the Global South urgently need just and effective solutions now.

“With Hartree Partners’ financial backing and carbon market expertise, we can implement our just and inclusive climate, community, and biodiversity solutions in many more forest communities where they’re desperately needed.”

 

Wildlife Works’ proven approach addresses the drivers of deforestation in last-chance ecosystems while rewarding communities for protecting forests and biodiversity.

The portfolio of projects announced today will meet global best practice standards for nested projects under VERRA, including: the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS); the Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) standard at the gold level; and the SD Vista standard to verify project contributions to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and can make a significant contribution to host country Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) under the Paris Agreement.

 

Gerald Prolman, CEO of Everland, said:

“Hartree’s financial commitment to Wildlife Works will help give forest governments, landowners, and communities long-term financial confidence as they consider valuing their standing forests under REDD+. The VERs will be offered to businesses as an essential tool they can use as part of their transition plan towards a low-carbon future.

“It is our hope that this partnership’s bold commitment to rapidly scale REDD+ projects will inspire more private sector action at the critical speed and magnitude that is so desperately needed.”

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Carbon offsets – avoidance and removals

‘Stop the tap before mopping up’ Vertree is focused on nature-based solutions (NBS) as a key part of the fight…

‘Stop the tap before mopping up’

Vertree is focused on nature-based solutions (NBS) as a key part of the fight against catastrophic climate change. Carbon offsetting schemes provide critical finance to NBS projects. Among these, carbon offset projects that reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD) provide the most immediate, tangible and sustainable climate impact available. Emission reductions from offset projects must be measurable, additional, and be as permanent as human intervention can guarantee. The focus of this note is to explore the increasing bias of carbon offset buyers for carbon removals over avoidance credits.

Avoidance credits are defined as certified emissions reductions from projects that reduce emissions compared with the most likely course of action – the baseline scenario. REDD+ projects reduce forestry loss and preserve the existing biomass and embedded carbon beyond historical trends. Other avoidance projects include renewable energy and carbon-capture from flue gases. In each, current emissions are reduced by improved alternatives, but existing CO2 is left untouched.

Removal credits are defined as emissions offset projects that adsorb additional CO2 back from the atmosphere in order to remove the greenhouse gas potential. This includes photosynthesis of all kinds, into timber, peat, seagrasses as well as engineered methods such as direct air capture and accelerated mineral weathering.

Global deforestation, at around 13 million hectares per year, makes up 8-12% of net emissions. As such it ranks 3rd after the USA in the country league tables. Preventing mature forestry loss, along with wider ecosystem destruction is therefore a priority for any climate strategy.

A tree stores very little carbon in the first 10 years of its life (figure 1). In any afforestation project, the bulk of the carbon captured is during the middle phase, from 15-40 years after planting to maturity, with early growth rates at a third of peak potential.

Cutting down a hectare of mature tropical forest releases an average of 629 tonnes of CO2 which will take more than a lifetime to regrow. Over the first 10 years of new planting the recapture is less than 80 tonnes CO2 per hectare.

The carbon budget (figure 2) shows that emissions must halve by 2026 to stay within 1.5 degrees of warming. This means that we do not have the time to continue emitting whilst we wait for new trees to grow and store carbon later. The atmospheric ‘pot’ will boil over in the interim.

The Oxford Principles for Net Zero Aligned Offsetting illustrate this point well (figure 3). Removals will be required, but avoidance is urgent today.

Trees grown for carbon capture – often fast growing, densely packed Sitka (spruce) or Eucalyptus (gum) trees are less favourable for wider forest benefits (apart from timber production). The recently released IPBES report argues strongly for tackling climate change and biodiversity loss together, and to this end REDD+ projects are increasingly focused on species conservation and habitat improvement. The CCB Gold framework provides certification of biodiversity co-benefits in voluntary offsets.

Vertree works with high-quality REDD+ projects with verified baselines and genuine emissions reductions. Our work helps preserve tropical rainforests alongside the wildlife and communities that live within them. These actions are critical to combat climate change today and over the next 10 years.

A premature focus just on removals, whilst well intentioned, means that immediate action to reduce forest emissions could be neglected at huge risk to the overall climate change pathway.

 

Sources: 

European Commission, REDD+ initiative 
2018 World Resources Institute, By the Numbers: The Value of Tropical Forests in the Climate Change Equation
Vertree, based on Journal of Environmental Management, Carbon in the Vegetation and Soils of Great Britain 1995 
2020 figures, World Resources Institute Global Forest Watch. Fored Pulse: The Latest on the World's Forests
IPCC quoted Brown et al. How Much Carbon Can Be Sequestered by Global Afforestation and Reforestation?
The Oxford Principles for Net Zero Aligned Carbon Offsetting
2021 The IPBES IPCC Co-Sponsored Workshop on Biodiversity and Climate Change
The Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance
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