An innovative partnership between a climate standards group and an international development organization was announced last week at the Copenhagen climate change conference.
The Climate Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) is working with CARE International on a unique global initiative incorporating social and environmental standards into REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, “plus” conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks) activities.
LEARN MORE: CI is participating in COP15 in Copenhagen, Denmark
The new REDD+ Social & Environmental Standards Initiative hopes to provide standards that can be applied across all countries implementing REDD activities, and demonstrate transparently and credibly the additional social and environmental benefits from REDD. The partners also hope that efforts to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation can also contribute to poverty reduction and sustainable development.
It’s yet another example of CI’s core belief that partnership—working along side our corporate partners as well as governments and other NGOs—is essential to developing sound, sustainable climate change mitigation and adaptation solutions.
Working in Partnership
CI's Center for Environmental Leadership in Business convened the CCBA as a partnership between NGOs seeking to leverage markets to foster the development of forest protection and restoration activities around the world.
Forestry, agriculture and other land-use activities are essential components of any successful strategy to mitigate climate change. When properly designed, smart land use decisions can deliver significant additional benefits to help local people, conserve biodiversity and assist adaptation to the effects of climate change.
There have been some criticisms over the years that forest carbon offsets would not achieve their goals if they had negative impacts on the local communities who live in the area of the demonstration activities, mostly in tropical regions of developing countries.
To address this, standards have emerged to address these issues and have been influential in building support for forest carbon offsets by providing a set of broadly accepted criteria and a mechanism for independent third party verification. By defining the ‘quality’ elements of a forest carbon offset, standards have influenced what buyers are looking for as well as the way activities are developed.
Benefit to All
The CCB Standards require forest carbon offset developers to demonstrate that they are generating positive benefits for local communities and biodiversity as well as for the climate, and to demonstrate that they have adopted an inclusive approach respecting indigenous people’s rights, interests and traditions.
READ MORE: The CCB Standards Factsheet
According to Joanna Durbin, Director of the CCBA, the CCB Standards have helped accelerate the uptake of forest carbon offsets among a variety of companies across the world. Their investment in forest carbon activities, in turn, has opened the forest carbon market to places that previously hadn’t been able to participate.
“While originally designed to help differentiate the highest quality carbon offset activities,” Durbin says, “the CCB Standards have almost become a requirement for market access.”
This new REDD+ Social & Environmental Standards Initiative looks beyond the site-level to scale up to national level activities, in line with the requirement for national level forest carbon accounting likely to emerge from this week’s negotiations in Copenhagen.