This Week In Forest Carbon: The State Of The Voluntary Carbon Markets Report Launches

On Thursday June 20th, Maneuvering the Mosaic will launch in Washington, D.C. The event will take place from 4:30-6:00PM and will be followed by a reception. This year’s report highlights key forestry-related developments such as a heightened demand for carbon offsets from forestry projects certified to the VCS and CCB as well as an increase in afforestation/reforestation projects.

On Thursday June 20th, Maneuvering the Mosaic will launch in Washington, D.C. The event, hosted by Baker & McKenzie, will take place from 4:30-6:00PM and will be followed by a reception. This year’s State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets Report highlights key forestry-related developments such as a heightened demand for carbon offsets from forestry projects certified to the VCS and CCB as well as an increase in afforestation/reforestation projects.

This article was originally published in the Forest Carbon newsletter. Click here to read the original.

19 June 2013 |The voluntary carbon market grew 4% in 2012, offsetting 101 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and transacting more than $523 million, according to the  2013 State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets Report. On May 29-31 in Barcelona, Spain hundreds of carbon stakeholders from around the world gathered at a CARBON EXPO side event for the launch of the 2013 State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets Report Executive Summary. To discover the latest findings from the report, continue reading below or download the Executive Summary here!

Other key conclusions from the report include:

    Market value decreased 11% to $523 million as offset prices fell slightly for several popular project types

  • 90% of offset volumes were contracted by the private sector – where corporate social responsibility and industry leadership were primary motivations for offset purchases.
  • Demand surged for carbon offsets from forestry projects certified to the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standards (CCB).  
  • Voluntary support for afforestation/reforestation projects climbed once more to a transacted volume of 8.8 MtCO2e as demand for forestry and land use activities grew.
  • Demand for credits from REDD projects fell by 8% to 6.8 MtCO2e in 2012. Even so, the volume of credits contracted from REDD projects that are or aspire to be certified to both the VCS and the CCB more than doubled – as demand for this combination of certifications grew market-wide.
  • Asia saw forestry, energy efficiency, and fuel switching offsets grow significantly in market share. Overall, the region saw a 4% increase in the volume of offsets supplied, while their average price fell by 9% to $3.5/tCO2e.
  • New Zealand’s forestry-dominated market fell by more than 50% in voluntary transaction volume in the shadow of its compliance market.
  • The volume of offsets transacted in Latin America was relatively stable in 2012 at 7.2 MtCO2e despite a fall in average price, with forestry still driving the bulk of domestic project development.


The full report is scheduled to launch on June 20 in Washington, DC. The event, hosted by Baker & McKenzie, will take place from 4:30-6:00PM and will be followed by a reception. To attend, please RSVP to [email protected]  or call +1 202 835 1661, providing your full name, company and title. If you would like to bring a guest, please also provide their details, including email address.


We look forward to seeing you there!

—The Ecosystem Marketplace Team

If you have comments or would like to submit news stories, write to us at [email protected].


International Policy

Car-BONN negotiations

After halting negotiations in Doha at the end of 2012, negotiators convened at the UN climate change conference in Bonn recently to discuss topics including finance, technology and capacity building, and the possible implementation of a REDD+ governing body. A central body could potentially create a solution for consistent emissions reductions reporting and verification and as well as for allocating financial resources for REDD+. “Making the yet-to-be created REDD+ body an operational entity with real powers, rather than giving it just an advisory role, could help overcome the current impasse between developing countries and developed countries to agree how the REDD+ mechanism should evolve,” stated Louis Verchot, Director at the Center for International Forestry Research.


Furthermore, negotiators recommended draft decisions to be approved at COP19, scheduled to be held in Warsaw in November, highlighting issues like protocols for national forest monitoring systems and appropriate timing for presentations on safeguards implementation. Delegates also decided to carry over discussions on methodological guidance for measuring, reporting and verifying (MRV) and how to best transfer payments for results-based action. Referring to COP19, Josefina Brana-Varela, Policy Director of WWF’s Forest and Climate Initiative, expects parties to “be able to come to a compromise solution on the issue of verification, which polarized Doha and stalled REDD+.”


Project Development

Celebrating Suruí­  

At the end of May, the Paiter Suruí­ people of the Brazilian Amazon became the first indigenous people in the world to generate REDD+ credits under the Verified Carbon Standard. An Ecosystem Marketplace article explores the impetus behind this historic project – the community’s desire to prevent logging within the forest – and their continual effort towards conservation. In a collaborative effort, law firm Baker & McKenzie and the Institute for Conservation and Sustainable Development of Amazonas – assessed the carbon rights to the trees and estimated the initial carbon content of the forestland at 5 million tCO2e. Forest Trends’ CEO Michael Jenkins stated, “By going first, the Suruí­ have created a template for other indigenous people across the Amazon”.


Let’s get ready to Rimba!

A recent Ecosystem Marketplace article reveals the verification of the world’s largest REDD+ project, the Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve. The VCS-validated project covers nearly 64,000 hectares in the province of Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. SCS Global Services recently verified the project’s carbon accounting, confirming the generation of 2,181,352 Verified Carbon Units (VCUs) over a one-year period in 2009-2010. The project is slated to reduce emissions by 119 million tC02e over its 30-year lifespan by protecting tropical peat lands and forests. Rimba Raya is also the first carbon project in the world to garner Triple Gold Validation under the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA).


The Darkwoods saga continues

Criticisms leveled at British Columbia’s carbon offsets program by the provincial Office of the Auditor General aren’t standing up to scrutiny, while VCS’s defense of the program appears to be accurate. The auditor’s report, for example, said that the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Darkwoods Carbon Project was not “credible”, partly because the report contended that most private land in the region is managed sustainably, and that a commercial buyer would have done the same. But that contention, like most of the OAG’s analysis, is wrong, according to  reporting by Ecosystem Marketplace.


Planting the seeds

A REDD+ pilot project in Nepal pursuing VCS/CCB certification recently provided seed grants to communities from watershed areas in Dolakha, Gorkha, and Chitwan districts  for their role in conserving and sustainably managing forests. The three districts received a total of $95,000 for the third year of carbon payments. The watersheds maintained and increased 69,959 tCO2e in two years from the baseline stock of 4,292,967 tCO2e in 2010. Launched in 2009, the REDD+ pilot project is one of the world’s first carbon offset projects involving local communities in monitoring the carbon in their forests and providing the necessary training for them to participate in the project.


Through the REDD+ Corridor

Puma’s VCS and CCB-verified Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project, managed by Wildlife Works, along with the Puma Creative Factory in Rukinga, Kenya, highlights the sportswear industry leader’s commitment to corporate social responsibility and demonstrates how a major corporation can make a REDD project work from a business perspective. In the corporate world, investment in REDD+ projects is often hampered by a lack of information and concerns about due diligence. However, an increase in REDD+ guidance documents and resources proves that REDD+ has become progressively more recognized, potentially serving as a springboard for companies to invest in natural capital and to “green” their supply chains.  


Tenacious Tanzania  

Carbon Tanzania, Tanzania’s only producer of carbon offsets through community-based carbon forestry projects, recently  offset emissions resulting from the Karibu Travel and Tourism Fair. The offsets, generated by the Plan Vivo-validated Yaeda Valley REDD+ Project, are predicted to generate $54,000 per year and mitigate 18,012 tCO2e over a 20-year period. The Yaeda Valley REDD+ Project intends to benefit the Hadzabe community through profits from carbon sales by protecting key habitats and by providing improved natural resources and land security. The Karibu Travel and Tourism Fair is the first travel industry fair in Africa to offset carbon emissions, demonstrating the value and importance of environmental and social initiatives to the tourism industry.


Best in show

Wildlife Works Carbon LLC garnered bragging rights to the title of “best project developer in the forestry category” according to Environmental Finance and Carbon Finance Magazine’s Voluntary Carbon Market Rankings 2013. Wildlife Works was recognized for generating 5MtCO2e of REDD+ carbon credits and protecting 1.2M acres of forestland in Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Additionally, Wildlife Works earned second place in the overall Project Developer category, competing against developers in renewable energy, energy efficiency and health. Microsoft, Allianz, La Poste, UPS and Barclay’s Bank are a few of the prominent corporations that have supported Wildlife Works REDD+ projects.  


You’re invited…

Three projects, “Reduced Emissions from Deforestation in the Ambositra – Vondrozo Forest Corridor (COFAV) – Madagascar Project”, “REDD Project in Brazil Nut Concessions in Madre de Dios”, and “Makira Protected Forest Area Project,” are currently  undergoing Validation audits against the CCB Standards. Members of the public are encouraged to submit comments on “Reduced Emissions from Deforestation in the Ambositra – Vondrozo Forest Corridor (COFAV) – Madagascar Project”, until June 23rd. The comment period for the remaining two projects closed on June 12th.  


National Strategy and Capacity Building

Turning over a New Leaf

In the Republic of Guinea, forest cover decreases at a rate of 36,000 hectares/year. In an effort to mitigate deforestation and to deliver health, education and agricultural intensification projects to local communities, New Leaf Africa will join forces with ecoPartners to work on  Guinea’’s in-country REDD+ strategy. New Leaf Africa will work with the Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests as well as community organizations while ecoPartners will build off of frameworks in the UNFCCC and the VCS to construct a national land management plan. Future proceeds from REDD+ projects are intended to benefit Guinea’s forest-dependent communities.  


STEWARDs of the forest

Sustainable and Thriving Environment for West Africa Regional Development (STEWARD) recently held a  Capital Forum where stakeholders discussed Payments for Ecosystem Services  as a way to reduce carbon emissions in Sierra Leone. Environmental Protection Agency Director, Dr. Kolleh Bangura commented on the distinctiveness of Sierra Leone’s forests due to their close proximity to urban areas as well as their value to society. Mr. Bangura stated that 24 ecosystem services have been identified in Sierra Leone to date, including timber production and agriculture.


In the DRC, close to  200 participants met in Kinshasa, DRC last month for a conference  on “Deforestation trends in the Congo Basin: Reconciling economic growth and forest protection”. Headed by the World Bank and La commission des Foríªts d’Afrique Centrale (COMIFAC) Executive Secretariat, the conference intended to inform policy makers on the effects of economic growth in the Congo Basin in relation to forest conservation efforts. A 2009 COMIFAC-backed study on deforestation trends gave context to the conference, boosting understanding of the drivers of deforestation. Findings of the study, including a sector-by-sector analysis and recommendations, were presented at the conference.


First things first  

At the first national workshop in Kigali, Rwanda during the last week in May, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) presented a project entitled “National Monitoring System and Measurement, Notification and Verification (MNV) following a regional approach”. The workshop, organized by the Ministry of Natural Resources and FAO, intended to “contribute to the ownership of the REDD+ process and of the national system of forest monitoring” and was attended by approximately 25 participants. Workshop presentations included identification of potential actors in the REDD+ process, deforestation and forest degradation causes, improving productivity of existing forests and other recommendations for improving the implementation of the in-country MNV project.  


Meanwhile in Southeast Asia, Thailand intends to become the first country in the region to launch a forest carbon measurement project. The  Treemaps project, funded by the World Wildlife Fund and the German government, involves measuring the carbon storage capability of Thailand’s forests and marks the first step towards augmenting Thailand’s carbon credibility at the global level. The project will begin in the Dong Phaya Yen-Khao Yai forest and is slated to take place nationwide by 2015.


Many hands make light work  

The State Forestry Administration (SFA), the authoritative body on forests in China, and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) have renewed their partnership for an additional three years. CIFOR Director General Dr. Peter Holmgren and SFA Vice Minister Madam Yin Hong recently signed a memorandum of understanding representing a continued commitment “to enhance forestry research and policy analysis, promoting forests’ economic, social and ecological value at the national, regional and global levels”. CIFOR and SFA plan to collaboratively tackle issues related to China’s forestry development, including climate change mitigation, Payments for Environmental Services (PES), sustainable forest management, and forest land tenure reforms.  


Not taken for granted

The  German government recently committed €14.3 million  earmarked for two natural resources management projects to the Philippines. The first project, implementation of the National REDD+ System Philippines, is projected to benefit people in forest dependent communities in the Bicol and Eastern Visayas regions. The second project, Protected Area Management Enhancement in the Philippines (PAME), intends to strengthen technical capacity of staff at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in managing existing protected lands. Both projects will be carried out until 2017 and are funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Natural Conservation and Nuclear Safety through GIZ.


Bamboo too?  

Programa Biosfera, functioning as a collaborative partnership between Brazil and the Netherlands, recently partnered with Chicago-based EcoPlanet Bamboo, with an aim of  accelerating Brazil’s movement toward a biobased economy through the industrialization of bamboo. Initiatives under Programa Biosfera will be developed for carbon quantification under carbon finance eligibility regulations, potentially allowing carbon offsets to be generated in the future, though it is still too early to say whether this will occur. EcoPlanet Bamboo currently has one VCS and CCB-validated carbon offset project in Nicaragua, funded by the World Bank Group’s political risk insurance arm, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency.


Latin America looking for answers

Across Latin America, issues regarding land ownership and consultation mechanisms are hindering REDD+ project development. In Mexico, six REDD+ pilot projects are in the works, but the current administration has yet to take a clear stance on implementation of a REDD+ national plan. Meanwhile in Panama, indigenous groups resigned from the program in February due to a reported lack of free, prior and informed consent. A World Resources Institute  report states that “Relatively few readiness proposals identify specific next steps to address land tenure challenges or establish mechanisms to coordinate with local institutions during REDD+ planning and implementation”, highlighting the need for increased REDD+ capacity building.  


A job Welspun!

At a workshop organized by Welspun Energy and the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), representatives from USAID, The Energy and Resources Institute, Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy and the Institute of Green Economy gathered to discuss  policy recommendations for a public-private partnership and increasing forest cover in India. Representatives from ICFRE emphasized the need for greater involvement at the ground level in climate change mitigation action. Welspun Energy proposed a Grow Forest Mechanism, which aims to create a platform for public-private sector collaboration by awarding Grow Forest Certificates (comparable to CERs) to private sector entities that reforest degraded land.  


An uphill battle

Land tenure problems caused by land competition, invasion and a lack of titles continues to impede REDD+’s success around the world.  Without surefire land ownership, stakeholders are unmotivated to partake in REDD+ activities, creating a downward spiral, according to William Sunderlin, author of CIFOR’s  How are REDD+ proponents addressing tenure problems?. He states, “The best remedies in many cases cannot be the piecemeal efforts at tenure clarification within the bounds of the project, but instead require wholesale, landscape-wide reform.” Sunderlin suggests increased government involvement, improved consultations, clarified land claims, and transparent data to clarify carbon rights and to resolve land tenure discrepancies.  

All systems go

A meeting organized by the Ministry of Environment’s Sub-Secretary on Climate Change to  establish a national greenhouse gas inventory system in Ecuador  in the agriculture and land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) sectors  convened representatives from a variety of UN and government agencies. Participants collaborated to identify a GHG inventory team, as well as principal agriculture and forest data providers, and -produced a draft agreement that outlined the proposed facilitation of the creation and development of the agriculture and LULUCF GHG inventory. Furthermore, Ecuador hosted its first regional  workshop on National Forest Monitoring Systems, bringing together both representatives from countries throughout the region and members of international organizations. Participants shared best practices regarding forest inventories, satellite imagery and remote sensing and mapping methods in an effort to strengthen forest monitoring capacity.  


Methodology and Standards Watch

Gold Standard getting jiggy with the trees

Market participants can now weigh in on  the Gold Standard’s proposed land use and forests framework. The organization has asked for comments on the draft framework, the Afforestation/Reforestation requirements and corresponding A/R guidelines. Currently, only A/R projects are valid under the framework, but further project types will include agroforestry, improved forest management, improved livestock management and climate-smart agriculture. Existing projects from other standards from either the voluntary or compliance markets can transfer over to pursue Gold Standard certification if they meet the requirements.


The Gold Standard is inviting  public feedback  on the above through June 28 (with the standard expected to be valid as of August 2013), as well as public feedback on its  suppressed demand methodology  for energy use for low GHG food preservation.


Now open for public comment!

The American Carbon Registry invites you to submit feedback on modifications to the following voluntary carbon market methodologies: Afforestation and Reforestation of Degraded Lands, Emissions Reductions through Truck Stop Electrification, Conversion of High-Bleed Pneumatic Controllers in Oil and Natural Gas Systems, and Energy Efficiency Measures in Thermal Applications of Non-Renewable Biomass. Comments can be submitted  here  until July 12, 2013.


Finance & Economics

Raising the bar

The Luxembourg-based Althelia Climate Fund, an asset management platform dedicated to financing the transition towards sustainable land use and ecosystems conservation, is expected to invest in carbon credits, certified commodities, sustainable agriculture produce and other ecosystem-service projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America. To date, Althelia has raised $80 million for REDD+ and other ecosystem-service projects.  A new Ecosystem Marketplace article  explores Althelia’s commitment to fund early-stage and pilot projects by raising $200 million to $266 million over a three-year period. Just recently, the Fund closed its first financing round at $80 million, signifying a growing confidence in financing for sustainable land use.  

Money doesn’t grow on trees

Research by the Norwegian University of Life Sciences’ Department of International Environment and Development Studies outlines four prospective mechanisms for REDD+ financing  where funds would filter from the national level to local projects. The authors discuss “wider governance structures” such as funding from the global to the country level through intermediaries, a separate national fund, a fund in a national state administration, and the implementation of a conditional budget which would channel resources into local project development or capacity building. The implementation of appropriate funding mechanisms is critical to the long-term success of REDD+ and its ability to deliver reduced carbon emissions as well as livelihood benefits.  


Human Dimension

Keeping the peace

Land ownership disputes between the villages of Muungano and Milola Magharibi, Tanzania  have recently involved the government after The Tanzania Community Forest Conservation Network’s (TCFCN) new forest conservation project instigated heightened tensions. The impetus for the disagreements sprang from a disputed 50 hectare piece of land, which would provide additional REDD+ money to the rightful village. The local government has allegedly failed to maintain forest reserves, placing the burden of land tenure disagreements on the local community members themselves. Recently, the situation in the Lindi District “reached a point whereby no negotiation can work to resolve it,” stated Lindi District Land Officer Manase Nkuri.  


A fair share

At the Workshop on Context, Elements and Dynamics of REDD+ in Indonesia,  CIFOR report  author Grace Wong presented  REDD+ benefit sharing, defined as “the distribution of direct and indirect net gains from the implementation of REDD+”. Wong highlighted the issue of land tenure and its role in identifying REDD+ beneficiaries, the risks involved with benefit sharing, and the varying approaches in 13 REDD+ pilot countries ranging from Brazil to Tanzania. Wong’s analysis unearthed key challenges such as inconsistent legal provisions and implementation on behalf of the government, corruption, and inadequate funding.


Science & Technology Review

Outta this world

Launched in February, NASA’s  Landsat 8 satellite, the most advanced Earth observation satellite to date, captures high resolution images of every point on the globe every 16 days. Now, data from this cutting-edge satellite is freely available from  GloVis,  EarthExplorer, or on the  LandsatLook Viewer. Landsat 8 marks a turning-point for the REDD+ community as “nearly every country serious about deforestation monitoring uses the Landsat series,” stated Greg Asner, a senior scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Department of Global Ecology. REDD+ stakeholders hope to use data from Landsat 8 to quantify carbon emissions reductions.


Publications & Tools

Green means go

A new UNEP-UN-REDD report,  Integrating REDD+ into a green economy transition: opportunities and challenges  will provide a knowledge base for the  Global Symposium on REDD+ in a Green Economy, slated to be held in Indonesia from June 19-21. The report, directed towards “communities of practice” including policy-makers, civil-society organizations and academia, highlights the concept of a green economy and the role of forests and land use in reference to natural capital.

A sense of security

A recent CIFOR report,  Does tenure security lead to REDD+ effectiveness? Reflections from Five Emerging Sites in Indonesia, concludes that while land security is a critical component to REDD+, it is “not sufficient by itself.” As part of CIFOR’s Global Comparative Study on REDD+, the report draws from data gathered in 2010 from 20 villages in five REDD+ project sites in Aceh, West Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. In Indonesia, forests fall under the state’s jurisdiction, but in reality, communities and individuals manage much of the land, encumbering REDD+ development.  

Safe and sound

At the Southeast Asia Regional Training Workshop on Social and Environmental Soundness of REDD+ Programming and Implementation last November, stakeholders collaborated to improve the work of USAID and partner organizations on REDD+ and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and the enhancement of forest carbon stocks.  Social and Environmental Soundness in REDD+ Programs and Projects – Workshop Summary Report  was recently released and includes an overview, as well as key messages and session summaries from the workshop.  



Program Associate, REDD+ Finance – Forest Trends

Based in Washington, D.C., the Program Associate will work within the Forest Trade and Finance Program on REDDX, Forest Trends’ REDD+ finance tracking initiative, and will be responsible for managing the quality of REDDX data. Candidates should have a Master’s Degree in environmental science, geography, economics or international development and be fluent in Spanish and/or French. Read more about the position here.


Project Assistant, REDD+ for the Guiana Shield – ONF International  

Based in French Guiana, the Project Assistant will support the planning, implementation and monitoring of technical activities within the framework of the project and encourage the emergence of institutional dialogue among forest services in the Guiana Shield. Candidates should have a Bachelor’s Degree in a related field, 2+ years of experience and be fluent in French. Read more about the position  here.  

Technical Specialist, Zambia Community Forests REDD+/Forestry – Winrock International

Based in Zambia, the Technical Specialist will manage the technical activities related to REDD+ strategies and work at the regional, government and community levels to facilitate broad-based policy dialogue and capacity building. Candidates should have an advanced degree in natural resource management, forestry, conservation, or another relevant field and 8+ years’ experience in forestry, forest carbon or REDD+. Read more about the position  here.  


REDD+ Policy and Capacity Building Specialist – Terra Global Capital  

Based in Zambia, the Specialist will undertake research, policy analysis and collaborative dialogue to inform REDD+ strategy and legal frameworks in Zambia. Candidates should have a Master’s Degree in governance, policy dialogue, social sciences, forestry, or a related field and 8+ years of related experience. Read more about the position  here.  


Communications Coordinator, Climate Change – Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)

Based in Indonesia, the Communications Coordinator will liaise regularly with scientists from the Global Comparative Study of REDD+ and write articles about research findings for CIFOR’s Forests News blog. Candidates should have a Master’s Degree in journalism, communications or a related discipline and 8+ years’ experience in science communications and/or science journalism. Read more about the position  here.  


Research Assistant, Climate – Center for Global Development  

Based in Washington, D.C, the Research Assistant will conduct literature reviews and data compilation and analysis for ongoing and new research projects. Potential areas of focus include climate finance, REDD+, energy and adaption. Candidates should have a Bachelor’s Degree in economics, international affairs or a related field and 1-2 years of professional experience. Read more about the position  here.


2 Positions – Rainforest Alliance  

Based in Indonesia, the  Forest Management Certification & Verification Coordinator  will provide Forest Management certification and verification services and will draft reports for assessments and audits performed. Candidates should have a degree in forestry, natural resource management or a related field and 2+ years’ experience in forestry (FSC certification). Also based in Indonesia, the  REDD+ Social Specialist  will support and provide oversight for the implementation of REDD+ National Development Strategies in Guatemala and will coordinate capacity building processes for key stakeholders. Candidates should have a Bachelor’s Degree in the natural sciences and 5-7+ years of experience.  


2 Positions – Nature Services Peru  

Based in Cusco, the  Project Coordinator   will be responsible for the development and certification of environmental credits and will develop baseline, PIN and PDD documents. Candidates should have a Master’s Degree in science, engineering, or business, 5+ years of relevant work experience and be fluent in Spanish. Also based in Cusco, the  Additional resources

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