New report shows Canadian businesses how to seize cutting-edge climate leadership opportunity

Pembina Institute launches new educational carbon dioxide removal initiative to close business gap

Front page MaRS Case Study

Graphic: Cover of MaRS Discovery District Carbon Dioxide Removal Pre-purchase Case Study

CALGARY — Carbon dioxide removal can be the final puzzle piece for companies pursuing a net-zero sustainability goal, but not many know about the opportunity or how to close a deal.   

A new case study by the Pembina Institute details how to close those deals, using a trailblazing project by MaRS Discovery District, Canada's largest urban innovation hub and a registered charity, as the showcase template. MaRS recently completed the purchase of carbon removal credits from five Canadian ventures. 

“This case study is part of our brand-new initiative to help Canadians and Canadian businesses realize the potential of building crucial carbon removal capacity,” said Jorden Dye, director of the Pembina Institute’s Carbon Dioxide Removal Centre. “This sector has the potential to create hundreds of thousands of jobs in our country, but we need to start building it now or we could miss that opportunity. Our Centre will produce educational resources to guide those Canadian businesses that want to be leaders in this space.” 

Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) is part of the “silver buckshot” approach needed to tackle emissions. No one technology or tactic on its own is going to bring carbon emissions down low enough to prevent catastrophic climate change. While the rapid reduction of carbon emissions from all industries is critical, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has confirmed that many industries will also need CDR to reach net-zero. 

But expertise and awareness are low when it comes to CDR in general and how companies can go about purchasing credit for demonstrated emissions removals from innovative Canadian companies doing the work of carbon removal, a recent Pembina Institute scan of Canadian buyers shows.  

The scan showed the businesses who are interested or have already purchased CDR credits tend to be large organizations in the finance and insurance sectors. Many businesses that are curious about CDR have not pursued it because they perceive hurdles of complexity, risk and competing priorities.  

The Pembina Institute case study of the MaRS CDR credit purchase shows it’s possible to leverage external experts and templates to ease the process. But it's also critical to educate internal team members about what CDR is, why it’s important and what some of the unique aspects of a deal like this are, such as the involvement of third-party verifiers. Read the case study to learn more: MaRS Discovery District Carbon Dioxide Removal Pre-purchase

Carson Fong, program manager with the Pembina Institute’s Carbon Dioxide Removal Centre, is available for comment.  


“The carbon dioxide removal market is still in its infancy, which means our case study can offer future suppliers and buyers plenty of insights into emerging best practices and pitfalls.” 

— Carson Fong, program manager, Pembina Institute’s Carbon Dioxide Removal Centre  

“This is an exciting time to get involved in this industry. Canadian charitable organizations like MaRS are leading the way in this critical market.” 

— Jorden Dye, director, Pembina Institute’s Carbon Dioxide Removal Centre 

Organizations interested in purchasing credits may find the nascent-but-fast-growing CDR market daunting and full of unknowns. At MaRS, we recognize the important role that CDR technologies have in meeting climate targets and we are excited to share our learnings, so potential buyers don’t need to start from scratch.” 

— Andy Lam, senior manager of climate programs, MaRS Discovery District 

Quick facts 

   Other countries are ahead in pursuing the opportunities of CDR and are throwing their weight behind it: the U.S. has already committed $3.7 billion to CDR, while Denmark announced in April it a purchase of Dkr 166 million (CAD $ 33 million) on carbon removal.  

   A handful of buyer organizations dominate the CDR market today. According to market tracker, the top five buyers account for 90 per cent of all CDR credits sold as of May 2024, with Microsoft alone responsible for 70 per cent of the market. 


Visit the Pembina Institute’s website to download a copy of MaRS Discovery District Carbon Dioxide Removal Pre-purchase 


Senior communications lead, Pembina Institute 




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