Viresco Solutions is a consulting firm based in Calcary, Alberta, Canada. While many people know about Alberta’s oil industry, few know about the Province’s leadership in the creation of emission reductions from the agricultural sector. Alberta has 11 agricultural protocols that have generated over 20 million tonnes of registered and verified carbon credits, including the world’s first sustainable beef carbon credits. This webinar will focus on learnings gleaned from Alberta and how this experience could be used to help other countries enable the “Biological Bridge”, as an essential interim approach to addressing climate change while the world transitions its energy sources. The presentation will discuss several aspects of agricultural emission reductions including opportunities for emission reductions and sequestration, benefits and risks of participation in carbon markets, and other innovative approaches to achieving financial value for sustainable agricultural practices. The presentation will use examples from North America and other parts of the world to highlight key points and will introduce alternative approaches to carbon offsets, such as insetting.
Viresco Solutions's core business is greenhouse gas offset policy development and implementation, greenhouse gas emissions quantification, sustainable supply chain development, environmental offset methodology development, and providing technical assistance to others undertaking carbon offset project development. Its clients include industry and non-governmental associations, large private sector companies, and local, provincial and federal governments. Viresco Solutions´ mandate is to work to ensure that green projects grow and flourish worldwide ("Viresco" is a Latin term meaning "To grow, become green, flourish"). Specifically, Viresco´s product and service offerings include: 1. Policy and Program Implementation: Assisting governments and regulatory bodies in developing comprehensive and credible programs or policies on carbon offsets and other environmental assets. 2. Greenhouse Gas Quantification: Providing technical expertise to clients (e.g. project developers, grant applicants, governments or other clients) for GHG quantification or carbon offset projects. 3. Standards Development: Developing offset quantification protocols/methodologies, insetting guidance documents and other environmental asset market documents (e.g. water, conservation). 4. Sustainability Strategy and Stakeholder Engagement: Building competitive strategic plans for organizations 5. Sustainable Supply Chain Assessments: Assessing upstream and downstream impacts in agri-food supply chains and bringing rigour to the process.
Karen Haugen Kozyra, MSc, PAg - President
Karen has over 20 years of experience in agricultural greenhouse gas measurement and modeling and climate change/environmental policy development – spanning her tenure at the provincial Department of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD), Climate Change Central and now in the private sector. During her tenure at ARD, Karen was part of the cross-governmental team who developed Alberta’s Bioenergy Policy Framework, which was approved by cabinet in 2008. This framework set the stage for Alberta’s Bioenergy Program administered by the Department of Energy. Karen also led ecosystem goods and service policy and program development, in concert with other federal, provincial and territorial governments under Canada’s Agriculture Policy Frameworks.
Karen’s most significant contribution while at ARD involved her on the Canadian National Offset Quantification Team (NOQT). Karen, through her capacity on the Team, designed the protocol development process, represented the agricultural sector in Canada, and coordinated the development of several agricultural quantification protocols. In 2007, Karen was seconded to Climate Change Central, a not-for-profit established by the Government of Alberta. There, Karen led the implementation of the necessary market processes, infrastructure and tools needed to get the Alberta Carbon Offset Market off the ground. In that role, Karen and her Team leveraged previous NOQT work to help build sound rules, platforms, quantification protocols, tools and infrastructure (e.g. registry) needed to facilitate the development of a Carbon Offset Market in Alberta.
Currently, Karen is President of Viresco Solutions Inc. – a network of leading advisors making sustainability real for public and private clients in the agriculture, energy and food sectors. Karen obtained a Biological Sciences Diploma from NAIT, BSc in Plant Sciences and MSc in Soil Microbiology and Biochemistry from the University of Alberta. Karen is a registered Professional Agrologist with the Alberta Institute of Agrology.
Candace Vinke, BSc, MA – Sustainable Development Director
Candace has a Master of Arts degree in Geography from the University of Victoria and a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography from the University of Calgary. Prior to joining Viresco Solutions, Candace was the Manager of Agricultural and Social Projects with The Prasino Group. In this role she led a team of sustainability professionals working on a range of consulting projects related to agricultural offset protocol development, greenhouse gas emission reduction quantification, environmental market policy and opportunity research and supply chain sustainability.
Previously, Candace has also worked in the non-profit sector, first as a Business Development Facilitator at Momentum, a community economic development organization offering business training and microloans to individuals living in poverty; and subsequently in Pucallpa, Peru as a Research Fellow with the World Agroforestry Centre / The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). During her master’s she also had the opportunity to work in the Small Island Development States Unit within the Division for Sustainable Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) at the United Nations Headquarters.
Common themes throughout Candace’s work have included climate change, environmental markets, poverty and inequality. In addition to her home country of Canada, Candace has worked and/or studied in several countries in Africa and Latin America.
Jon Alcock, BSc. – Sustainability Specialist
Jon has a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Sciences from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. For his thesis, Jon used climate change forecasts to model geographic impacts of climate change and bark beetle attacks on North American forests.
Jon’s diverse scientific and research background has given him a well-rounded view of global sustainability issues and solutions, particularly within the fields of agriculture, energy efficiency and climate change. In Canada, Jon has worked as an aquatic biologist, consulting on oil and gas pipeline and construction projects, and as a field researcher for the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI). Both these roles have given Jon a firsthand understanding of monitoring, conservation and restoration, particularly of boreal peatland and forest ecosystems. At Viresco, Jon has managed several projects and developed a strong understanding of carbon offset markets, project development, and evaluation of ecosystem services.
Before moving to Alberta, Jon worked as an Environmental Regulation Officer for the UK Environment Agency, dealing principally with the agricultural industry, impacts on water quality, and implementation of best management practices. Jon also worked as a project manager for an environmental and sustainability charity, and a bio-industrial research company, running an energy efficiency projects for a brewery and for the UK government. As a researcher for the University of Bristol Glaciology Centre, Jon investigated climate change impacts on the Greenland Ice Sheet and assisted in data collection, analysis and presentation of results in three peer-reviewed papers.