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From the Editors

As we sit on the eve of the historic Paris Agreement's entry into force, climate negotiators are now shifting their focus towards the document’s implementation. Keeping the world below a two degrees’ Celsius rise will require protection for carbon sinks like forests (Article 5), and channeling finance in a cost-effective manner will require markets (Article 6).

Luckily, officials don’t have to start from scratch within either of these themes, or climate protection might not start for another 20 years. From project developers working in remote tropical forests to policy makers sitting in high-tech offices, people have already started making forest carbon protection a reality.

Ecosystem Marketplace's newest report, View from the Understory: State of Forest Carbon Finance 2016, tracked nearly $900 million in carbon finance transaction in 2015. Of that $888 million, $173 million flowed through markets, $588 million through Australia's (semi-market) Emissions Reduction Fund while $126 million came from non-market payments for performance. It's the largest influx ever tracked in this report series, which researches finance channels for forest-based emissions reductions activity.

This year's forest carbon finance report documents a time of transition, writes Allie Goldstein, lead author and former Senior Associate at Ecosystem Marketplace. Forest carbon project developers are attempting to make their projects profitable while also trying to determine how they fit into a post-Paris world.

While the Paris Agreement’s Article 6 allows for markets, details around an international mechanism remain undecided. Another avenue of demand may be the United Nation International Civil Aviation Organization, which recently inked a deal to achieve carbon neutral growth that includes a market mechanism.

It isn't entirely clear, however, how either of these will utilize forest carbon units. Report authors did note that forest carbon finance may be increasingly channeled through compliance markets, as 15 current and future compliance markets include an offsetting mechanism, and 11 of those have a forestry and land-use component. Additionally, South Africa and Ontario have carbon markets pending that intend to include forestry related projects.  

Active forest carbon projects continue to grow, covering 28 million hectares of land, an area slightly larger than Burkina Faso. These projects have sequestered carbon, employed almost 8,000 people, protected habitat for 376 endangered species, provided benefits to vulnerable groups, contributed to water security, built resilience to climate change impacts and helped to clarify land tenure.

These beyond carbon impacts are integral to actually achieving the emissions reductions - and they're often one of the main reasons why suppliers and many buyers are engaged in the markets in the first place, Goldstein writes in the report.

But this newsletter is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of trends and findings. To get the details, download the free, 40 page report here. Also, Ecosystem Marketplace launched the report at a panel discussion in Washington D.C.  

A special thanks to our supporters, the MacArthur Foundation and Good Energies. This report would not have been possible without the generosity and commitment of our sponsors Althelia Ecosphere+, New Forests, InfiniteEarth, Green Trees and Baker & McKenzie. So thank you.

Sponsors

Keep reading for more news on carbon finance!  

 
   

HERE'S THE DEAL

Offsetting goes up Down Under

Australia's only government-approved carbon neutral certification, the National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS) made amendments earlier this year in order to attract more organizations and cities, and has seen some new participants. Late last month, the carbon and energy management firm, Pangolin Associates earned NCOS certification. The firm says it's following the advice it gives to clients on energy efficiency and low resource consumption. A few months earlier, New South Wales' Charles Sturt University achieved certification under the NCOS' Carbon Neutral Program. But not all organizations need NCOS to go neutral: carmaker Renault Australia just announced it is partnering with climate action organization Greenfleet to establish a carbon emissions offset initiative. This involves tree planting projects that absorb the emissions of each "Bamboo Green" Renault Trafic van.

Eco-Business has more on Pangolin Associates' certification.

PROJECT DEVELOPMENT

Two sugars with a dash of climate neutrality

Fairtrade, the global organization advocating for fair trade terms for farmers and workers, has partnered with New Zealand grocer Countdown to create the country's first carbon neutral coffee line, Macro Fairtrade Climate Neutral Coffee. From farm to supermarket shelf, production of this product will have no negative impact on the environment, Fairtrade explains. All participants in this coffee supply chain first work to reduce their carbon emissions and then purchase carbon credits. Countdown doesn't purchase the offsets directly, Hannah Andersen, Public Engagement and Advocacy Manager with Fairtrade, told Ecosystem Marketplace. That is done further up the supply chain by coffee manufacturers. The credits will be purchased from the Sierra Piura reforestation project in Peru, which has not yet issued Fairtrade Carbon Credits certified by the Gold Standard. The project works with two communities, and the income it generates is used to build resiliency on the coffee farms and improve productivity.

Scoop has the rest. 

POLICY WATCH

Airline climate deal takes off, as markets wait to get on board

Early this month the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) came to an agreement to freeze carbon emissions at 2020 levels through, at least in part, the use of an offsetting program called Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, CORSIA for short. This market-based mechanism is expected to increase demand for carbon credits and some practitioners see it as a big boost for the market. ICAO members did not, however, decide on the role forests will play. They pushed the decision on what type of offsets to use down the road to 2018. Several conservation groups including Forest Trends and Conservation International continue to advocate for the inclusion of REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) programs.

Ecosystem Marketplace has the details.

CARBON FINANCE

Milking revenue from agroforestry

It started with a man on a motorcycle. Makanda Khisa, an employee at VI Agroforestry, traveled around the Kenyan countryside, pitching the use of agroforestry to farmers. VI Agroforestry uses carbon offsets, in part, to help fund the transition. Since then, Prisca Mayende and other farmers have benefitted from trees rejuvenating their soil and boosting yields – and seen the potential for new financing. One type of tree, sesbania, also provided a new potential revenue: it produces fodder that Prisca knew could help her feed a cow and enter the dairy market. This initiative is one of several in Kenya in which agroforestry helps farmers sell milk, and is part of a wider trend of corporations like Danone and Mars investing in programs that support sustainable agriculture.  

Ecosystem Marketplace has the first story in a series examining agroforestry initiatives in Kenya. They involve deep-pocketed corporates and investors and innovative mechanisms from the Paris Agreement.

Offsets with an urban vibe

Over 650 colleges and universities have committed to taking action on climate by pledging to reduce emissions. Some, like Colorado University and Duke University, have gone a step further to purchase or generate offsets to achieve carbon neutrality. A new North Carolina-based organization called Urban Offsets intends to help universities achieve their climate goals with a carbon trading platform they plan to launch in the next several months. The platform, which recently received $300,000 in seed funding, will trade credits generated from local urban forestry planting projects.  In an email to Ecosystem Marketplace, Urban Offsets' founder and CEO Shawn Gagne explained that the platform is intended to support the knowledge-sharing tool, Offset Network, by providing transactional and reporting data on the projects. 

WRAL Tech Wire has more on Urban Offsets' new trading platform.

NEW RESEARCH

Better together

A new report from the World Bank finds that increased international carbon trading could enable large scale emissions reductions at a much lower cost than what's presently projected as countries can benefit from mitigation activities occurring in another country. Report authors estimate this greater cooperation could cut costs by 32 percent by 2030 and over 50 percent by the middle of the century.  These findings are based on the carbon mitigation goals countries spelled out in their Nationally Determined Contributions. However, the rules governing international trading have yet to be determined, and a recent submission by New Zealand to the UNFCCC could result in more stringent standards. While nations agree there should be a minimum reporting requirement for nations generating carbon credits under the Paris Agreement, New Zealand has proposed that countries be allowed to apply higher standards, a move that will likely fragment the global carbon market.  

Read more about New Zealand's proposal at Carbon Pulse. (Subscription required.)

The World Bank explains the study's findings in detail.

Get smart about forest carbon

Ecological Carbon Offset Partners has developed a new digital tool that may be of particular interest to cost conscious small forest owners. It's a smartphone app equipped with a laser to measure distance and an inclinometer to measure height that essentially reduces the cost and the time it takes to complete a forest inventory. However, the novel method has yet to be approved by verifiers or market registries. In an email to Ecosystem Marketplace, ecoPartners Managing Director Kyle Holland explained "getting approved" basically means having a third party verifier compare the app's measurements with traditional measurements at the time of its first verification. EcoPartners has already performed this test internally, Holland says, so now it's just a matter of getting a verifier to do the same.

The New York Times has more on small scale forest operations participating in the carbon markets.

Job Postings

Senior Program Officer, Forestry and Natural Resource Management, Winrock International

Based in Arlington, Virginia, the Senior Program Officer will serve as a key member of the Forestry and Natural Resource Management Unit management team and will support program implementation and management, as well as new business development focusing on international forestry, biodiversity conservation, and climate change projects. The officer will manage a variety of projects around payments for ecosystem services, REDD+, land use management and more. Successful candidates will have at least ten years’ experience in international development and at least five years’ experience in forestry, environment, natural resource management and economic development.

Interested? Find out more.

Senior Program Officer, Forests, WWF

Based in Washington D.C., the Senior Program Officer's major function is to engage with North American companies, trade associations and public procurement entities on leadership practices for responsible commodity sourcing, to reduce threats from deforestation and forest degradation. Duties include coordinating with other WWF teams to ensure alignment and leverage corporate collaborations. The position also requires identifying and tracking emerging issues such as forest products trade, forest products innovation and forest legality. Successful candidates will have a bachelor's degree in a relevant field, though a master's degree is preferred, and familiarity with forest climate finance initiatives such as REDD+.

Learn more here.

Blue Forests Madagascar Programme Manager, Blue Ventures

Based in Antananarivo or Toliara, Madagascar, with extensive travel to Blue Ventures' three mangrove field sites, the Blue Forests Madagascar Programme Manager will be responsible for overseeing all Blue Forests activities in Madagascar, sustainably managing mangroves and ensuring the two blue carbon projects in the country are being effectively developed and implemented. Major responsibilities include coordinating mangrove activities, which is done through monitoring and tracking tools. The manager also ensures Blue Ventures' mangrove models are financially viable and sustainable. Successful candidates will possess an excellent level in the French or Malagasy language, plus good written English, and demonstrated experience in the development and implementation of community-based forestry projects. 

Interested? Get details.

Monitoring, Evaluation & Reporting Program Officer, WWF

Based in Washington D.C., the Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Program Officer (M&E Officer) will work within the Major Initiatives in WWF's Markets & Food team on such projects as: Collaboration for Forests, Agriculture and Conservation; Financial Markets Initiatives; and Generating Responsible Demand for Reduced Deforestation Commodities. The M&E Officer will help design methodology for data collection and work with field teams and implementation partners to ensure they are building effective monitoring systems. The officer will also troubleshoot the data collection and provide logistical and coordination support on project evaluations. Successful candidates will have a bachelor's degree in environmental management or a related field and have at least four years of relevant work experience.

Get the details here.

REDD+ Fellow

Based in Arlington, Virginia, Conservation International is hiring for a 2 year fellowship to focus on REDD+ finance and development in a post-Paris context. The fellow will develop and implement research projects and collaborate with CI's Policy Center and the Climate Strategy Team among other departments. Upon finishing the fellowship, the fellow will have crafted multiple published papers that address the multi-disciplinary dimensions of REDD+. Successful candidates will hold a PhD or have five years of field experience working on REDD+ along with strong presentation skills and knowledge of ongoing adaptation policy discussions.

Find out more.

China Representative, IETA

Based in Beijing, the China Representative will represent the organization in China, leading IETA's (International Emissions Trading Association) overall work in the country. The position involves managing and expanding existing IETA relationships with Chinese government authorities and stakeholders while also working to grow IETA membership with leading Chinese companies. The representative will also analyze and asses China Emissions Trading System policy developments. Successful candidates must be fluent in both Mandarin and English and have a strong personal record in carbon markets and pricing.

Interested? Learn more here.

Fellow, Carbon management, incentives, and markets, Pinchot Institute for Conservation

Based in Portland, Oregon on a one year appointment, the Fellow will work with the Western Regional Office to coordinate a regional partnership that deploys technical and financial assistance to family forest owners for facilitating access to ecosystem markets. Responsibilities include providing consultations to forest owners to complete initial assessments of forestland carbon storage and offset potential. The job also includes participating in regional and national policy networks focused on forest carbon management, markets and incentives. Successful candidates will have a background in forestry field work and GIS as well as knowledge of forest carbon protocols and cost-share programs.

Find out more.

   
   

ABOUT FOREST TRENDS

Ecosystem Marketplace is a project of Forest Trends, a tax-exempt corporation under Section 501(c)3. This newsletter and other dimensions of our voluntary carbon markets program are funded by a series of international development agencies, philanthropic foundations, and private sector organizations. For more information on donating to Ecosystem Marketplace, please contact info@ecosystemmarketplace.com. 

 
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