Why Tradewater Became a Certified B Corp

Tim Brown

When Tradewater was founded in 2016, the goal was to build a company that could effectively collect, control, and destroy greenhouse gases and establish an economic model that could bring this work up to a meaningful scale in the fight against climate change. We wanted to create a company that would intentionally improve our environment and generate economic opportunity.

Today, we’ve destroyed about 6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, primarily from old refrigerants, which are some of the most potent greenhouse gases ever made – up to 10,900 times as potent as carbon dioxide. We are now poised to collect, control, and destroy at least 3 million metric tons of CO2e annually beginning in 2023. Our work has expanded from its United States origins to become a global enterprise with development work on-going in 11 countries. We’ve also expanded our impact to include other potent greenhouse gases such as halons – a fire suppressant – and methane leaking from abandoned and orphaned oil and gas wells.

We asked ourselves, “Why stop here?”

Tradewater employees always striving for progress, greater impact, and doing what is right.

As we expanded our impact, we began looking for ways to further establish our commitment to our mission and to continuous improvement. Becoming a B Corp has been a good fit for Tradewater. Like our fellow B Corp members, we are measuring our entire social and environmental impact while striving for progress over perfection. We are very pleased to join a community of over 6,000 B Corps across 86 countries, affecting about 500,000 workers. It’s an honor to be in such good company.

The standards to obtain the B Corp Certification are demanding and require Tradewater to meet high performance, accountability, and transparency measures. We are measured on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials. Even with all the co-benefits and alignment with our mission, it wasn’t easy.

Some things we’ve learned by becoming a B Corp:

Anything that is worth it, might be a little hard: The certification process took about a year from start to finish. Even though our first score allowed for us to apply, the process is lengthy due to B Lab’s (the B Corp certification body) commitment to accuracy, transparency, and partnership.

Performance, scale, and purpose are equal: Becoming a Certified B Corp does not mean you have to make every possible social and environmental improvement without regard to your financial performance. This is an important distinction and the foundation of the economic movement.

The B Corp community is vibrant. We are part of something bigger, ignited by an entrepreneurial spark and serious dedication.

We can scale our impact. As more customers are attracted to Tradewater as a B Corp, our financial performance will improve, which means we can continue to invest more in our growth and impact. The publicity, global recognition, and external validation by being a B Corp supports our ability to globally scale.

Employees support a mission-driven organization. Benchmarking and improving performance generate awareness for our workforce, while also empowering everyone to contribute. The certification increased internal enthusiasm about what we can do as an organization. This is all extremely important as we seek to attract and retain an outstanding global workforce.

Continuous improvement is key. B Corps are, by definition, focused on continuous improvement, leading to long-term resiliency. We are required to undergo the verification process every three years to recertify.

The B Impact Assessment has been used by more than 150,000 businesses, and the average score for those who complete the assessment is 50.9. Receiving the minimum verified score of 80 points is an enormous achievement since it measures a business’ holistic impact performance. So, you may be asking, “how did Tradewater do?” We are proud to have received a score of 87, which is 7 points higher than required.

Tradewater's B Impact Assessment score of 87

Find us on the B Corp site: Tradewater, LLC – Certified B Corporation – B Lab Global

At Tradewater, we are sending a clear message to our employees, our partners, our customers, and our global community. Our message is that we are committed to our impact, and we recognize that we always have an opportunity to do more, be better, and to self-reflect. By joining the B Corp community, we are creating paths for consumers to experience purposeful action based on how they choose to spend their dollars. We are empowering industries, businesses, and consumers to make visible change in the world.

We are proud. We are inspired. We are impactful. We are Tradewater.

Certified B Corp


Emission reductions are considered permanent if they are not reversible. In some projects, such as forestry or soil preservation, carbon offset credits are issued based upon the volume of CO2 that will be sequestered over future decades—but human actions and natural processes such as forest fires, disease, and soil tillage can disrupt those projects. When that happens, the emission reductions claimed by the project are reversed.

The destruction of halocarbon does not carry this risk. All destruction activities in Tradewater’s projects are conducted pursuant to the Montreal Protocol , which requires “a destruction process” that “results in the permanent transformation, or decomposition of all or a significant portion of such substances.” Specifically, the destruction facilities Tradewater uses must meet or exceed the recommendations of the UN Technology & Economic Assessment Panel , which approves certain technologies to destroy halocarbons, including the requirement that the technology achieve a 99.99% or higher “destruction and removal efficiency.” Simply put, this means that Tradewater’s technologies ensure that over 99.99% of the chemicals are permanently destroyed. During the destruction process, a continuous emission monitoring system is used to ensure full destruction of the ODS collected.


Some carbon offset projects necessarily rely on estimations or assumptions when calculating the emission reductions from project activities. Forestry projects, where developers make assumptions about the carbon that will be sequestered over future decades if trees are conserved, are a perfect example. Such projects sometimes result in an overestimation of the environmental benefit of the project.

Tradewater’s halocarbon projects avoid the issue of overestimation by consistently conducting extremely precise testing and measurement of the amount of refrigerant destroyed in each project.

  • Every container of ODS that Tradewater destroys is weighed by a third-party using regularly calibrated scales. The ODS is then sampled by a third-party and analyzed by an accredited refrigerant laboratory to determine its species and purity. These two steps combine to ensure that credits are issued only for the precise volume and type of refrigerant destroyed.
  • The destruction facilities that Tradewater uses continuously monitor the incineration process during destruction events to ensure that over 99.99% of the ODS is destroyed. This monitoring is mandated by regulatory protocols and is part of the verification process to which projects are subjected.
  • Tradewater accounts for the project emissions created during the collection, transport, and destruction of ODS, and the number of offsets issued is reduced by a corresponding amount. The protocols that we use also build in other reductions to account for substitute chemicals that will be used to replace the destroyed refrigerants. Tradewater publishes this information in the documentation for all its ODS destruction projects. These documents outline how the material was obtained, the project emissions calculations, the test results, and the amount and type of ODS chemicals destroyed, among other information.
  • Additionality

    It is a basic requirement of all carbon offset projects that the underlying project activities are additional. “Additional” means that the projects would not happen in the absence of a carbon market. Tradewater’s halocarbon projects simply would not happen – and the gases would be left to escape into the atmosphere – without the sale of the resulting carbon offset credits. This is because there is no mandate to collect and destroy these gases. It is still permissible to buy, sell, and use halocarbons that were produced before the ban. There are other reasons halocarbon destruction projects are additional:

    • There are no incentives or financial mechanisms to encourage halocarbon destruction. According to the International Energy Agency and United Nations Environment Program, “there is rarely funding nor incentive” to recover and destroy ozone depleting substances in storage tanks and discarded equipment. And collecting, transporting, and destroying halocarbons is time-intensive and expensive. The burden to collect and destroy these gases therefore remains prohibitive outside of carbon offset markets—meaning that if organizations like Tradewater do not do this work, nobody else will.
    • Countries are not focused on the need to collect and destroy halocarbons. The Montreal Protocol has been celebrated as a success because of its production ban. This success, however, ignores the legacy gases produced before the ban and is a blind spot for government regulators. In the U.S., for example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed a Vintaging Model in the 1990s to estimate the quantify of ozone depleting substances left in circulation. Based on the inputs and assumptions put into the model, the EPA predicted that no CFCs would be available for recovery beyond 2020 in the United States. But this prediction did not prove accurate. Tradewater has collected and destroyed more than 1.5 million pounds of CFCs globally in recent years and continues to identify thousands of pounds per week.
    • International carbon accounting standards do not require corporations to measure or track emissions tied to halocarbons, and refrigerants are specifically excluded from Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) commitments. These commitments derive from emissions reporting under the GHG Protocol, which requires companies to report on emissions only from new generation refrigerants, such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), but does not establish any obligation to report inventories or emissions of refrigerants still in use, such as CFCs and HCFCs. All these factors combine to make Tradewater’s carbon offset projects highly additional. As Giving Green, an initiative of IDinsight, concluded: “Tradewater would not exist without the offset market, so this element of additionality is clearly achieved.” The case for additionality is not so clear for some other project types, such as forestry and landfill gas carbon projects. For example, some forests are already being conserved for their beauty, or for use as parks, and generate carbon offset credits only because those conservation efforts do not yet have full formal protection in place to avoid deforestation in the future. Similarly, methane from landfills can be used to make electricity or captured as compressed natural gas, thereby creating additional revenue streams to support the activities, beyond the sale of carbon credits.