Advocated by companies including Microsoft and Allianz in addition to PUMA as an immediate and proven solution to address the negative effects of climate change, REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) is a climate change mitigation strategy envisioned by the United Nations to help stop the destruction of the world’s forests.
Wildlife Works, the world’s first company to successfully develop a REDD+ project that achieved verification under the voluntary carbon market’s most rigorous standards, originated REDD+ Talks to garner support for REDD+ from US corporations.
CSRwire, the nation’s leading source for corporate social responsibility and sustainability news, reports, events and information, co-sponsored the event with Code REDD, a nonprofit, REDD+ industry association that represents REDD+ project developers around the world.
Presentations from the Earth Day REDD+ Talks symposium can be viewed at www.REDDtalks.com. CSRwire will profile several corporate leaders who have taken steps towards carbon neutrality and will explain their companies’ emissions reduction goals, why they have chosen to offset unavoidable emissions with REDD+ credits and how doing so has benefitted their companies.
Addressing Climate Change: Leading Expert Endorses REDD
REDD+ Talks speaker and Nobel Laureate Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) established by the United Nations, said, “It’s beyond the range of doubt that the climate of the earth is changing…There is, of course, fortunately, enormous potential for the mitigation of global greenhouse gas emissions…and REDD is an extremely important part…if mounted affectively, can give you pretty quick and large-scale results.”
Microsoft Ups the Ante: Putting a Price on Carbon
Protecting threatened forests under a REDD+ program generates carbon credits, which can be used by companies to offset their unavoidable emissions and pay for the cost to keep a forest standing. Microsoft’s Senior Director of Environmental Sustainability,TJ DiCaprio, outlined the company’s emission reduction goals and put REDD in context:
“We’ve put a price on carbon. We have an internal carbon fee. Each of our 14 business divisions across 110 countries is now charged an additional fee that’s associated with the carbon emissions from energy consumption and business air travel…We are taking action in our own way to demonstrate environmental responsibility and ask other organizations do the same thing. It’s a very simple repeatable model: putting a price on carbon, collecting the funds, driving accountability out to the different parts of the organization, and then using these funds to support projects like, [Wildlife Works’] Kasigau REDD+ Project. The impact on the business has been significant.”
With policy makers moving dangerously slow to implement legislation that includes REDD+ to help curb greenhouse gasses as well as regulate major emitting businesses, throughout the day, climate change experts repeatedly echoed the urgency of the situation and stressed the moral responsibility businesses have to take care of the emissions they create and why it is not acceptable for corporations to earn profits at the expense of the environment and people.
Each year, 7 billion tonnes of C02 are released into the atmosphere as 35 million acres of forest are destroyed due to slash and burn agriculture, legal and illegal logging and charcoal production.
Deforestation accounts for nearly 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. The environment cannot be stabilized without protecting threatened forests.
Mike Korchinsky, Founder and CEO of Wildlife Works, explained that the way to protect threatened forests is through community engagement where local people receive multiple benefits through conservation related jobs. “Forests are being destroyed for their economic value but not necessarily to their highest value user, there’s always an economic reason,” he said. “To combat that, we have to provide economic value to the people who are living in and around the forest first and foremost.”
Mama Mercy, a community leader managing vital women’s groups in Voi, Kenya where Wildlife Works’ REDD+ Project is located, received the most enthusiastic applause. Mama Mercy came to REDD+ Talks to tell corporate leaders first hand how REDD+ is working to address deforestation while helping an impoverished rural community of more than 100,000 people through the significant multi-benefits that carbon finance delivers.
“When the carbon [project] came, there was a change…[With Wildlife Works] we are focusing on water, education, job creation, and sustainability. Water is the biggest problem. Women walk 15 kilometers to find water: she will carry a 20-liter can of water with a baby on her back and maybe she’s expecting too. It’s a miserable life. That’s all changing now because of REDD+,” she explained, adding, “Now there are jobs and dignity is restored in our community. Money from carbon has helped more than 1,800 children go to school. We can educate our children…we are going to have a different nation!”
Wildlife Works is the voluntary carbon market’s leading REDD+ (Reducing Emissions through Deforestation and Degradation) project development and management company. Wildlife Works has developed a sustainable and scalable business model that delivers unprecedented environmental and social benefits to seriously impoverished parts of Africa and the world that are in need of the transformational change that Wildlife Works REDD+ projects can bring.
Code REDD is a nonprofit REDD+ industry association that empowers communities, protects wildlife, and preserves forests – by stimulating corporate support for high-impact, high-quality REDD+ projects in both compliance and voluntary markets around the world.
CSRwire is the leading source of corporate social responsibility and sustainability news, reports, events and information.
Source: REDD+ New York, NY and San Francisco, CA,May 9, 2013