A cooperative Carbon Offsetting Scheme Linking Smallholders to the voluntary carbon market
The aim of the UN SEED 2013 Global Award Winning ‘Trees for Global Benefit (TGB) is to produce long-term, verifiable voluntary emission reductions by combining carbon sequestration with rural livelihood improvements through small-scale, farmer led, forestry / agroforestry projects while reducing pressure on natural resources in national parks and forest reserves. The project’s activities are technically specified to meet the management requirements in addressing the needs and aspirations of the farming communities and at the same time providing confidence to the buyer that the carbon has been sequestered. Once farmers are registered they enter into sale agreements which specify the terms & conditions and the amount of carbon to be sequestered on their farms.
Delivering Conservation Benefits
Conserving Rwenzori Watersheds
|Rwenzori Mountains is the largest and most significant highland water catchment area in the East African region and constitutes a major source of water to the Nile, the longest river in the world. The park is both a World Heritage and RAMSAR (wetland of international importance) site.|
Strengthening Climate Change Adaptation
|By rendering investment in sustainable landuse practices (e.g. tree growing) more attractive, TGB enables farmers diversify production strategies thus reducing their vulnerability to seasonal variations. TGB’s enhancement of the natural forest cover also supports soil binding and -boosts soil stabilisation and moisture retention. This results in reduced drought, flood and landslide risks which threaten local agricultural livelihoods.|
Maintaining Connectivity between Protected Areas
|Protecting wildlife corridors, providing connectivity between protected areas by increasing tree cover in areas adjacent to protected areas|
Conserving native tree species
|Participants plant indigenous trees and agro-forestry species which have multiple environmental benefits. Focus is put on the domestication of threatened native tree species contributing to their conservation|
Reducing pressure on protected areas
|The project relieves pressure on natural resources in national parks and forest reserves through provision of alternative sources of materials such as fuelwood, building poles, timber etc|
Fighting Poverty – One Ton of Carbon at A time
Diversifying livelihood options
Through carbon payments and related use of agroforestry and non-timber forest products
Transforming Investment horizons for rural poor smallholders
The structure of payments allows farmers to consider long-term investment horizons, using part of their land to develop assets which not only provide short-term cash and needed livelihood inputs but also long-term benefits from materials and income that can be enjoyed in the future.
Supporting access to markets
|Through aggregation, smallholders are able to access PES markets and through group marketing, they are able to sell their produce.|
Strengthening Rural credit and financing
|Each carbon farmer joins the membership of the local village banks through purchase,of shares and thus helping to capitalise the village banks. In addition, the carbon sale agreement is used by the farmers as collateral to acquire loans and their subsequent payments are used to offset the loans.|
Building Social capital
|The project has supported the establishment of community structures through which farmers are mobilized into legally registered Community-Based Organisations able to enter into partnerships with other funding agencies and network with communities from different regions.|
“Mount Elgon Cloud Forest” A New Brand of Organic Coffee
|TGB has partnered with Source Climate Change Coffee to create an outstanding single origin organic coffee, which is brimming with environmental, social and ecological benefits. The carbon neutral coffee supports some 300 coffee farmers involved in the reforestation around the Mount Elgon region of Uganda. The aim is to incentivize smallholders in and around Mount Elgon to protect the forests by planting trees and reducing a dependency on clearing forests for firewood, which in turn protects a watershed that is critical to the survival of millions of people.|
The price of coffee includes a contribution to the conservation efforts. Each bag and tin has a unique tracking number to show the farmer’s on-going conservation efforts in the Mount Elgon region.
- Through aggregation, smallholders are able to access PES markets and through group marketing, they are able to sell their produce.
- Each carbon farmer joins the membership of the local village banks through purchase, of shares and thus helping to capitalise the village banks.
- The carbon sale agreement is used by the farmers as collateral to acquire loans and their subsequent payments are used to offset the loans.
Rights – Based Approaches to REDD
TGB has systems in place to ensure that women and men participate equally by making their concerns and experiences an integral dimension of project design and implementation. This gender mainstreaming approach involves understanding the needs and potential roles of various stakeholders and ensuring that the project designs various strategies to harness this potential. Strategies to ensure participation include recruiting farmers through marginalized groups e.g. women groups, understanding how different groups utilize their time as well as recruiting the entire household into the programme (as opposed to dealing with only one person). The groups’ leadership committees must also have effective representation of women, men, elderly and the youth.
TGB has invested in empowering disadvantaged communities to take control of their land and make decisions that have sustainable livelihood benefits for the current and future generations. The project ensures that the farmer retains their land rights, tree rights, carbon rights and all the rights to the benefits accruing from the tree products and services. Furthermore, the project has strengthened tenure security through support to land ownership documentation.
Equity in Benefit Sharing
TGB’s benefit sharing model recognizes the contribution made by the various players and ensures that each is rewarded accordingly. Even though farmers aggregate their credits and sell as a cooperative offsetting scheme, each individual farmer enters into contract with the project specifying clearly what their performance targets are and the corresponding expected payments. In addition, the pricing model ensures that the producer gets at least 60% of the carbon income. The rest meets the cost of project administration, project audit and certificate issuance. Furthermore, each carbon credit sold makes a contribution to a community fund that addresses the needs of the wider community in which the carbon farmer lives.