Published On
March 22, 2024

The “Trade Heroes” series highlights Edmonton region companies who have ‘exportitude’ — the mindset and commitment to think globally when it comes to their business.  If you’d like to suggest a business to be featured in Trade Heros, please use this form.

Wild + Pine is redefining the world’s approach to carbon removal by creating nature-based assets for global climate leaders. Founded by Chris Kallal, the company focuses on the development of verified carbon removal projects, primarily through the restoration of Alberta’s forests. 

Photo: Chris Kallal, Wild + Pine’s founder and CEO, with Kaitlyn Scaber, director of projects and sustainability. (Supplied) 

Unlike traditional carbon offsetting initiatives, Wild + Pine operates not as a broker but as a direct partner and project operator, ensuring that the carbon offsets generated from its legacy projects are exclusively allocated to its clients, enhancing transparency and accountability in the carbon market. 

“The vertical integration of our business model really allows us to deploy these projects with a high degree of transparency, but also a high degree of efficiency and cost-effectiveness, because we’re not hiring out all these different individual services,” Kallal said. “Clients essentially come to us for a one-stop shop to generate those carbon removals over time.” 

Drawing from extensive restoration experience in the forestry and energy sectors within Alberta, Wild + Pine’s unique model has sparked interest from international clients and from a diverse range of sectors, including airports, architects, construction companies, and even insurance firms. In 2022, Wild + Pine expanded its reach beyond Alberta and in December 2023, global insurance giant Aviva committed $6.2 million to benefit biodiversity and remove carbon in Wild + Pine’s StoneWoods Forest Carbon project. 

“It’s really special to be the steward of those dollars, and to deploy that capital, within and across our communities,” Kallal said. 

Aviva chose Wild + Pine to contribute to its ambition to reach net-zero by 2040, in part because of the attractive investment landscape in Canada and Alberta. Kallal said a stable government, rigorous environmental standards, and favourable currency exchange rates were all important factors in Aviva’s decision to invest. 

In higher population regions, organizations can sometimes struggle to develop nature-based assets because of the scarcity of available land. Kallal said he expects several more international companies to look to Alberta for carbon removal projects for similar reasons. “It’s a trend that we’re going to continue to see at a much greater pace,” he said. “We’re really serving a global marketplace, and there isn’t an area or jurisdiction (where) we haven’t been able to have a conversation.” 

Kallal credits the strength of the ecosystem in the Edmonton region — the supply of skilled labour, sound and strong governance, access to resources — for helping his company attract international investment. “When we look at how (the Edmonton region) and Alberta can serve a global marketplace, we have an incredibly strong case to be made.” 

Kallal’s vision for Wild + Pine extends beyond the corporate realm, aiming to eventually engage smaller entities and individuals in their carbon removal work. “I really hope that in the years to come we can serve the coffee shops on the corner, and at the household level as well, because that’s where we’re going to truly see the power of collective action and moving the needle on climate change,” he said. 

For now, the company is focused on how Alberta is positioned to be a leader in climate action, and Kallal believes that solutions to the climate crisis will be found in the small business community with companies like Wild + Pine leading the way. 

“The thing that we’re excited about most is that our process (of) building assets on behalf of sophisticated climate leaders — building intergenerational forest carbon removal projects is being recognized by the international business community. And it’s being acted upon.” 

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Christobelle Boily