A Year of Impact: IBI’s FY2023 Annual Report

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This past year showed compelling growth in the global biochar industry — more than 80% of delivered carbon removal credits were from biochar, and research showed that carbon removed by biochar can be up to 97% permanent. The technology continues to have a high readiness level, as measured by the availability and costs for biochar-producing technology and the number of projects underdevelopment. The industry is growing at a 68% CAGR.

We’re excited to share our story of impact for the 2022–2023 year. Click here to read IBI’s FY2023 annual report.

The International Biochar Initiative (IBI) was absolutely thrilled to launch the Biochar Academy, a biochar workforce development education training developed and organized by Kathleen Draper. The Academy engaged nearly 40 students from 20 countries for two weeks, providing learnings from two dozen of the foremost biochar experts in the world. We will continue to work with these students over the coming year to help support their work and look for collaboration opportunities. This curriculum is rich in opportunity; we filmed the in-personAcademy to bring this train-the-trainers curriculum to hundreds of thousands of students via eLearning and strategic partnerships we are currently developing to reach as many people as possible.

IBI’s online education via webinars and the Annual Symposium continued with strong demand, reaching over 2,000 people across seven webinars and the second annual, three-day virtual conference. We expanded participation in external events focusing on climate change solutions, the clean tech economy, and international agricultural development, resulting in expanded outreach to potential partners and funders.

IBI created a very timely update to IBI’s Standards, specifically addressing the use of biochar in asphalt and concrete, led by Board member Dr. Harn Wei Kua, who has pioneered research about biochar and concrete. We formed a new review committee with researchers and industry stakeholders as well as IBI Board members with a planned public consultation later this year.

IBI also diversified collaborations and partnerships as part of a strategy to reach more key stakeholders outside of our current networks. After entering into a reciprocal membership with theCarbon Business Council, IBI was one of 100 signatories to a letter to the UNFCCC’s Article 6.4 Supervisory Body advocating for carbon dioxide removal (CDR) to be considered alongside emissions reductions. In a second letter to the same body, IBI sent a submission advocating specifically for biochar as a carbon dioxide removal technology. Other partnerships include the Coalition for SoilHealth, with which IBI is planning COP28 activities, XPRIZE and Carbon Business Council.

Internally, despite turnover in the Communications and the Executive Director roles, IBI was able to manage growth, hiring a Development Manager, Mehdeen Abbasi, and welcoming three new Board members. The Executive Director led the Board to update the organizational governing documents, improving governance to allow the Board to be more impactful. 

A new fundraising strategy is focused on engaging institutional and corporate philanthropy, further collaborating with the IBI community, as well as capitalizing on revenue-generation that creates value for the global biochar industry. We entered the new fiscal year with initiatives designed to support the industry growth and will be collaborating with international development organizations, corporates and foundations as well as other relevant stakeholders. 

External challenges remain, of course. At the industry level, despite biochar being objectively the most ready technology, and accounting for a vast majority of carbon credits, it is often poorly understood, and / or not as well known as other CDR technologies. Direct air capture, for example, is specifically named for funding in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), while no other CDR technology was. IBI has much work to do to prepare more people to develop biochar projects through education, to raise the science-based facts about biochar, drive funding support to help the industry grow, foster collaborations, and connect key stakeholders with how biochar can solve their problems with a circular economy solution.

We continue to balance action with planning, internal infrastructure with external activities. We are blessed to have the absolutely best people to work with — passionate, brilliant Board members working with dedicated staff who have chosen to devote their professional skills to climate solutions.

As climate change continues to increasingly impact communities around the world, it is important, now more than ever, to scale biochar technology, and its many social and environmental co-benefits, to help achieve global climate ambitions. We continue to be tremendously grateful to the Woka Foundation, our members and to all our stakeholders for their essential support. 

Wendy Lu Maxwell-Barton, Executive Director

Kathleen Draper, Board Chair