September 11, 2018
It’s a pleasure to be asked to write this month’s introduction to the newsletter. Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace team, where I lead market tracking and analysis of innovative finance and market-based mechanisms for biodiversity and watershed conservation, is a sister initiative of Supply Change.
Yet even though we all work together, it is not always obvious where our efforts intersect. What is the connection between my work at Ecosystem Marketplace – which includes projects like estimating the scale of global demand for biodiversity offsets, or mapping opportunities for wetland restoration projects – and Supply Change’s mission of tracking corporate commitments to more sustainably and responsibly sourced agricultural commodities?
One thing is their climate connection: environmental markets and corporate commitments to reverse commodity-driven deforestation are both going to be important pieces of the puzzle for global climate action.
As we head toward the Global Climate Action Summit later this week, it is clear to all of us at Forest Trends that forests and other ecosystems like wetlands and grasslands must be part of the path forward. We know that these ecosystems (what we call “green infrastructure”) can cost-effectively provide a third of the emissions reductions we need to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2°C. We also know that commercial agriculture drives at least two-thirds of tropical deforestation. Voluntary corporate action on deforestation means there is already momentum and experience in building sustainable supply chains. Now we need to put our foot on the pedal by
Climate change is not the only reason to save our forests: green infrastructure also safeguards our access to clean water, helps protect us from flooding and storms, is home to global biodiversity, and holds irreplaceable cultural, recreational, and spiritual value. As Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director of the Stockholm International Water Institute noted in the Opening Plenary at this year’s World Water Week, “The wonderful thing about green infrastructure is that it is inherently multifunctional.”
The growing recognition that we depend on nature in a great many ways is driving new conservation investments which Ecosystem Marketplace works to track globally, including a new $27.5 million commitment in Peru that recognizes that nature must be at the core of the country’s water security and climate adaptation strategy.
It is encouraging to see natural climate solutions gaining recognition in advance of the Global Climate Action Summit – see for example, the recent Op-Ed in the New York Times setting out how California can use its cap and trade program to meet its climate goals and protect vulnerable forests in the Amazon. We hope leaders at this week’s Summit will take note.
Genevieve Bennett, Senior Associate, Forest Trends' Ecosystem Marketplace