Conservation International (CI) believes that we cannot solve the climate crisis without changing the way forests and other lands are valued and used around the world, and the private-sector must play a critical role in driving this transformation. The key lies in shifting to a new sustainable development paradigm that fundamentally values and conserves natural capital and the services ecosystems provide to support human well-being.
Tropical deforestation — a key cause of climate change — is being driven by the resource needs of a growing global population and the demand for food, water and energy. Isolated solutions that ignore the connections between these human needs and land-use change are unlikely to be successful at scale and over the long term. CI is working with governments, the private sector and other partners to establish effective, scalable market mechanisms and demonstration models for conserving the ecosystems that underpin healthy, sustainable economies.
Corporate leaders are realizing that the sustainability of their supply chains, not to mention the economies upon which their businesses depend, can best be supported by considering the broader impacts and benefits of sustainable land management that conserves and restores natural capital instead of depleting it. At CI we’re working with these industry leaders to put their commitments into practice and establish demonstration models of REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation "plus" conservation, the sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks) projects that can be scaled up and replicated around the world.
Robust compliance and voluntary markets — incentive mechanisms to pay for the carbon values in standing forests, necessary to tackle forest loss at a global scale — are underpinned by standards that generate high-quality fungible assets and build investor confidence.
CI has played a leadership role in helping to establish the world’s preeminent forest carbon standards, specifically the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and the Climate, Community & Biodiversity (CCB) Standards. Five years ago, CI worked with a group of leading NGOs and companies to found the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) to create new tools for verifying and promoting forest carbon activities that maximize social and environmental co-benefits. The CCB Standards are now being used by the majority of REDD+ projects around the world — often driven by investors, who recognize the strong links between social and environmental outcomes and project and reputational risk.
LEARN MORE: The CCB Standards Fact Sheet and The Value of Forest Carbon Offsets
CI is also working with industry leaders to demonstrate the valuable role REDD+ can play in complementing internal emissions reductions to achieve aggressive (often carbon neutral) corporate climate leadership goals. Such REDD+ investments can make good business sense by allowing companies to: address multiple CSR objectives (e.g. poverty alleviation, fresh water access, biodiversity conservation); engage customers and employees around the climate issue with compelling, place-based stories, and; enhance relations with host governments, communities and other local stakeholders in countries important from an operations or market perspective.
CASE STUDY: Implementing Forest Conservation In Peru's Alto Mayo Region
Finally, CI is working to help policymakers design robust market-mechanisms that will drive the needed investment for achieving large-scale reductions in emissions from deforestation and other land management activities.
While REDD+ discussions have made steady progress within the UNFCCC negotiations, the uncertainty over reaching an agreement on a global climate deal means we must look to other pathways for advancing these activities, at least in the near term. CI believes that market-based approaches will be essential to complement public funds and effectively mobilize the tens of billions of dollars needed annually to tackle forest loss at a global scale.
Fortunately, there are a number of efforts around the world that are helping to prove out various models for reducing forest emissions and providing valuable lessons to inform the development of emerging climate policy regimes, including the UNFCCC.
One promising example is taking place at the subnational level, where California is partnering with the Brazilian and Mexican states of Acre and Chiapas to establish the world’s first compliance market for REDD+ credits – expected to be worth about a billion dollars over the next eight years. As a member of the REDD Offset Workgroup, CI is advising California on its REDD+ policy design. CI is also building on its 17-year field presence in Chiapas to help the state develop and implement its climate change action plan for generating creditable emissions reductions.
CASE STUDY: CI's Work in Chiapas
CI's Corporate REDD Primer provides a broad overview of the forest carbon landscape, including key project design issues, policy developments and the role of the private sector. It is intended to help businesses successfully navigate the REDD+ space and become better positioned to support efforts that effectively and sustainably reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and other land management activities.
DOWNLOAD: A Corporate Primer on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD)
For more information, contact:
Senior Director, CI's Center for Environmental Leadership in Business