Netherlands-based cooperative bank Rabobank announced today the appointment of Barbara Baarsma as CEO of the Rabo Carbon Bank, a newly launched initiative that develops projects that store CO2 in the trees and soil, in cooperation with farmers. Baarsma currently serves as Chair of Rabobank Amsterdam.

Wiebe Draijer, Chairman of Rabobank’s managing board, said:

“In order to achieve the Paris climate goals, it is essential that companies become more sustainable and reduce their net CO2 emissions to zero. Everyone has their role to play. Rabobank does this, among other things, by focusing on carbon banking. Thanks to Barbara’s expertise and determination, we can drive and strengthen this new development within the bank.”

Rabo Carbon Bank is designed to enable customers to utilize the bank not only for financial transactions but also for buying and selling carbon credits. The agroforestry initiative focuses on tree planting by 15 million small-scale farmers in African countries, with the goal to capture about 150 megatons of CO2 equivalents – about 0.5% of annual global emissions – by 2025. The farmers sell the units of bonded carbon to large corporates to compensate or offset their emissions, providing the farmers with new sources of income, while the newly planted trees continue to improve their agricultural land and generate additional income through, for example, fruit harvesting.

Baarsma said:

“As a banker I feel like I’m a servant of the real economy. With the Rabo Carbon Bank we are realizing a new business model for the bank with which we can accelerate the movement toward a climate-neutral economy and stimulate a future-proof food system. This is an excellent opportunity for our cooperative bank. We are active throughout the food value chain. Not only do we have a global network in Food & Agri sectors, we also serve the major players in the market who want to address their CO2 emissions. We will work together with them to reduce their emissions and offer them validated CO2 storage capabilities with the Carbon Bank.”

Berry Marttin, member of the group board and responsible for Wholesale & Rural, said:

“I’m delighted to have Barbara on board. In the near future, we will further set up and expand the Rabo Carbon Bank with various projects and initiatives. Ultimately, we want to involve the entire value chain in this movement.”