Making carbon removals count: positive impacts on nature, climate, and people

Holding our carbon removals to high standards by ensuring BECCS is ‘Done Well’

Tackling the climate emergency is an immense task and there’s no silver bullet. Leading experts agree that reducing emissions is not enough. We need to go further and faster, with both nature-based and engineered carbon removals required to reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. Carbon Removals by Drax uses an engineered solution known as Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) to generate renewable electricity while permanently removing CO2 from the atmosphere.

Whichever climate solution you invest in, we must have confidence that they provide a positive benefit to nature, climate and people

Drax is ready to help tackle the climate emergency with BECCS technology at scale, generating millions of tonnes a year of high integrity, permanent carbon removals as early as 2030. The scale of this ambition reflects a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a founding player in a vital market, that will help organizations achieve their sustainability goals by removing carbon dioxide emissions and permanently storing them – reducing their carbon footprints, for good.

However, the key question remains: how can Drax ensure that BECCS is implemented in a way that benefits climate, nature, and people?

Ensuring BECCS operations meets high standards

 In early 2022, Drax commissioned a study from Jonathon Porritt, environmental campaigner and co-founder of Forum for the Future, to determine the conditions necessary for BECCS to deliver positive outcomes for climate, nature, and people, resulting in the “BECCS Done Well” report.

Since then, Drax has been dedicated to fulfilling the commitments outlined in our response to the report. Through careful review and action, Drax has outlined the progress made to date and condensed the 30 conditions the report set into six overarching themes:

  1. Biomass – We will have policies and processes to ensure we source all our biomass to verified standards for sustainability. These standards are designed to verify that our sourcing follows the principles of sustainable forestry, that carbon stocks are known and not adversely affected by our sourcing and does not drive harmful direct land use change.
  2. Climate Positive Outcomes – We maximise the net negativity of BECCS by maximising our CO2­ capture rates and decarbonising the BECCS operation and value chain. We account for emissions across the full value chain and decarbonise following SBTi-validated. We only use geological storage where the potential permanence for storage has been licensed in well-regulated jurisdictions. And there is sufficient monitoring and verification in place to check for that permanence.
  3. Nature Positive Outcomes – We recognise the growing need for companies to contribute towards creating what many now refer to as “a nature positive” future. This means we need to know our impact on nature across our operations and supply chains. To achieve this, we will monitor the ecosystem health of our source regions and the impacts of our direct operations on nature. And we will strive to minimise our own impacts, through working to agreed standards in our value chain, and to support broader restoration efforts.
  4. People Positive Outcomes – We identify our impacts on communities, neighbours, and our workforce, and proactively work with local communities to realise positive impacts and reduce negative impacts.
  5. Transparency and Governance – We engage in proactive and transparent monitoring, reporting and disclosure, utilising frameworks such as TCFD and TNFD, as well as all applicable regulatory requirements.
  6. Science – We are informed by science and will listen to stakeholder feedback by routinely engaging with academics, NGOs, and industry bodies to assess the breadth and robustness of scientific evidence. We promote further research where gaps exist.

A collaborative approach

By integrating these themes into day-to-day operations, Drax aims to embody the principles of BECCS Done Well. Through close collaboration and partnership with multiple stakeholders, Drax can develop the right policies and frameworks to deploy BECCS at scale and pave the way towards high-integrity carbon removals.

The ‘BECCS Done Well’ process has not been the only stakeholder input shaping how we build BECCS and sell CDRs. In late 2023, we collaborated with EcoEngineers and Stockholm Exergi to publish a draft ,which sets out a robust framework for quantifying net carbon removals from BECCS, as well as setting stringent standards for biomass sustainability. In creating the methodology, we considered the concerns of Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM) stakeholders from the outset, ensuring we had a formal process for independent third-party validation.

The ‘BECCS Done Well’ commitments informed many of these conversations, allowing us to test the conditions within the VCM community and helping to influence our thinking on the CDR Methodology.

We created the methodology to align with the Core Carbon Principles of the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Markets (ICVCM). These principles include robust quantification, transparency and independent third-party validation and verification. Both reports are important in ensuring the carbon removals Drax delivers are of high integrity and held to the leading sustainability standards.

Read more about our BECCS CDR Methodology here.

A strategic vision to become a global leader in carbon removals

In January 2024, Drax announced its plans to launch a new business focused on becoming the global leader in large-scale carbon removals with senior energy infrastructure expert, Laurie Fitzmaurice, appointed as President for this US-headquartered entity.

Laurie and her senior leadership team will take ownership of delivering the Group’s strategy for BECCS in the US and internationally and it will have day-to-day responsibility for project execution of the Group’s global BECCS programme.

Laurie Fitzmaurice, President of Global BECCS at Drax, responds to the ‘BECCS Done Well’ report:

“I’m immensely grateful for the work that has gone into getting us to this point and welcome the opportunity to help shepherd it forward. I’m particularly impressed and grateful to Jonathon Porritt and the High Level Panel for their work and the challenges they laid at our feet with the BECCS Done Well report released almost 18 months ago.

“I think a large part of what defines a business is not the size of the challenges it faces but how it approaches them. This report reflects an immense challenge but also how the teams at Drax have come together to answer it. I’m proud to be a part of that mission and confident that this work puts us in sight of becoming a global leader in the delivery of sustainable and responsible carbon removals. We know what the stakes are. This is our opportunity – let’s capture it together.”

Taking ‘BECCS Done Well’ forward

Drax is dedicated to actively engaging with its stakeholders, especially climate-forward customers in the carbon removals sector. This commitment is to not only deliver high-integrity carbon removals with BECCS, but also ensure that they contribute positively to nature, climate, and people. Drax invites stakeholders to join in this collaborative effort towards a more sustainable, net zero future powered by BECCS Done Well. With BECCS by Drax, you’re not just partnering with a carbon removal provider; you’re joining a global movement towards a more positive, sustainable future.

Read the full response here: ‘BECCS Done Well’: Final response and commitments from Drax.

To learn more about how Drax is helping organizations achieve their sustainability goals through high-quality carbon removals, visit