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Ecosystem Marketplace, Marketplace Mitigation Mail

September 23, 2015    

From the Editors

The Ecosystem Marketplace's Forest Carbon News
Tracking Terrestrial Carbon

As Climate Week kicks off in New York City this week, the participants all have a larger context in mind: the adoption of the post-2015 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the global climate negotiations that will be held in Paris later this year. Amid the forward-facing events, Forest Trends' Supply Change project is taking a look back at the past year to see if the private sector endorsers of the 2014 New York Declaration on Forests (NYDF) – a commitment to halve natural forest loss by 2020 and end it completely by 2030 – are following through. 

These private sector "endorsers" include 41 mostly consumer-facing companies – household names such as Walmart, L'Or้al, Danone, McDonald's, and General Mills – whose commitments to reduce the deforestation caused by the palm oil, soy, timber, and cattle they source are profiled on A new report, Firm Commitments: Tracking Company Endorsers of the New York Declaration on Forests, released today tracks endorsers' public sustainability disclosures around these "big four" commodities.

It finds that most companies set their targets, policies and/or milestones around deforestation before endorsing the NYDF, though the creation of the Declaration may have played an encouraging role. Almost all (92%) of endorsing companies have issued their own forest sustainability targets and/or procurement policies, and 56% have publically disclosed their progress. Compared to companies that haven't endorsed the NYDF, endorsers were 60% more likely to explicitly include zero or zero net deforestation in their policies – and were also more likely to commit to legality and human rights.

Of the tracked commodities, palm oil reigned supreme. Nine out of 10 endorsing companies buy or sell palm oil and 94% have a public commitment or policy to reduce deforestation risk from their supply chains. Those numbers dropped for the other commodities, with 79% of companies active in timber, 50% in cattle, and 41% in soy making public sustainability commitments. The prevalence of market penetration of related certification schemes may explain these discrepancies. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil certifies 20% of global palm oil production while the Round Table on Responsible Soy reaches just 0.5% of the soy market.

And, for most companies, certification is the starting point, not the endgame.

"Currently, there is no existing large-scale framework to verify that products, processes, or producers do not contribute to the loss of natural forest," the report notes.

If you will be in New York City this week, please join us for two expert discussions around Firm Commitments. The first will be hosted at Hunton & Williams LLC at 10 a.m. today (Wednesday, September 23rd), with speakers from The Climate Group, World Economic Forum, Marks & Spencer, WWF, CDP, the Climate and Land Use Alliance, and Forest Trends. The second will be hosted at the Rainforest Alliance Headquarters at 10 a.m. tomorrow (Thursday, September 24th), with speakers from Rainforest Alliance, CDP, and Forest Trends.

More details about the events and the report itself can be found here (

And more news about the forest carbon markets is summarized below, so keep reading!

—The Ecosystem Marketplace Team

If you have comments or would like to submit news stories, write to us at



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Correction: Our last V-Carbon newsletter incorrectly reported that the Lower Zambezi REDD+ project was the first REDD+ project in Africa to achieve its second verification. In fact, Wildlife Works' Kasigau Corridor project in Kenya announced its fourth verification this month under the Verified Carbon Standard and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standards.


On one condition

Algeria, Colombia, Jordan, C๔te d'Ivoire, Tunisia, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea and Grenada have submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), bringing the running total number of countries with submitted INDCs up to 64. Of these countries, four – Colombia, Jordan, C๔te d'Ivoire, and Tunisia – included both unconditional and conditional targets dependent on international finance, while the Dominican Republic and Equatorial Guinea specified that their entire target is conditional on market-based mechanisms. While all eight countries include emissions from the land-use and forestry sector, only Colombia, C๔te d'Ivoire and Equatorial Guinea mention the use of REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation of forests) markets in their future commitments. 


No more energy for deforestation

According to a draft copy of its INDC, Indonesia plans to reduce emissions by 29% below a business-as-usual scenario by 2030 and will reduce emissions 41% if it receives international finance. That's 3% more but 10 years later than the country's 2009 climate plan, which also placed more emphasis on addressing deforestation. "We have predicted that the energy sector, triggered by people's lifestyle, will be dominating in 2030," said Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya. "So, it is suffice to say that the government will focus more on the energy sector compared to land-use." Greenpeace wasn't impressed, saying that the new target represents an absolute increase in emissions. The organization also criticized the brief comment period and opaque data.

Four's a party

The Australian states of Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales, and South Australia are exploring the possibility of a state-based emissions trading system, led by the initiative of South Australian Environment Minister Ian Hunter. Australia's newly elected Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull expressed support for emissions trading in the past but recently stood by outgoing Prime Minister Tony Abbott's decision to replace Australia's carbon tax with an Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF). Hunter would prefer a national emissions trading scheme but in its absence said that "having a look at what California's doing might be a reasonable option for us." Projects developed under Australia's Carbon Farming Initiative may transition to the ERF, but analysts say many may be left with stranded tonnes


Breathing easy

Brazil's dramatic reductions in deforestation in recent years have saved up to 1,700 lives, according to new research published in Nature Geoscience. Slash-and-burn clearing, the most common driver of deforestation in Brazil, sparked huge increases in particulate matter that degraded air quality and claimed lives in Brazil's southern population centers. It is these population hubs that have experienced the most health benefits thanks to Brazil's reduced deforestation over the past decade, notes one co-author. However despite these findings, the authors claim that officials and the general public alike often disregard the link between deforestation and human health.

Homegrown expertise 

In Calakmul, Mexico, three young mestizo foresters – Sara Camacho, Yoni Sima, and Manuel Arana – are training locals to do the tree inventories needed to measure the carbon asset of their forest. Arana can identify 90% of the species in Calakmul by sight and can estimate tree heights almost as accurately as a clinometer. "We don't need to hire external people," says Sima. "People who live in the forests can do the monitoring themselves." Local inventories such as these can feed into Mexico's National Forest and Soils Inventory which, alongside other data, is used to calculate the country's reference scenario under the UN climate agreement – essential for determining how much Mexico may earn from international REDD+ payments.


Mission accomplished

Norway is set to complete the final $100 million disbursement out of the $1 billion it committed to Brazil's Amazon Fund in 2008. The finance flow was contingent on Brazil reducing deforestation in the Amazon Basin by 75%, and the tropical country more than met that goal. Contrast Brazil's success with Indonesia, who also entered into a $1 billion payment-for-performance agreement with Norway contingent on reducing deforestation but has not held up its end of the deal and has yet to see payments. Deforestation rates in the Amazon have recently begun to inch upwards, however, raising the question of what will happen to the trees once the money dries up?


Low-nitrogen diet

The US Department of Agriculture will be giving the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) $960,000 for the development of a fertilizer offset protocol that EDF hopes will make its way into California's cap-and-trade market, following the adoption of the rice protocol earlier this year. The idea is to demonstrate how almond and corn farmers might use fertilizer more efficiently, thus reducing nitrous oxide emissions and opening up the possibility to participate in carbon markets. Emissions from agriculture and forest-related activities in the US account for roughly 9% of the country's annual emissions.


The Wildfire West

More than eight million acres of forests have burned in the American West during the 2015 fire season, making it one of the worst in recorded history. Climate change is partly to blame: the six worst fire seasons since 1960 have occurred in the last 15 years. But a century-long history of policies that encouraged fire suppression also means that there is a higher density of fuel on Western landscapes, and fires burn hotter and bigger as a result. The scrublands that typically take over after major fires store less carbon than the forests that were there before. Experts argue for managing Western forests more proactively. "If you don't come in and thin these trees with chain saws or fire, you've got a bomb," said Thomas Swetnam, a professor at the University of Arizona.

A dwindling 3 trillion

There are an estimated 3 trillion trees on Earth, 15.3 billion of which are cut down each year, according to new research published in Nature. The study's author, Thomas Crowther of the Netherland Institute of Ecology, said he was surprised to find that "we were talking about trillions." The previous leading estimate for the number of trees on the planet was 400 billion. Crowther's study was more comprehensive, using a combination of satellite imagery, on-the-ground inventories, and computer modeling for every biome. Meanwhile, data from Global Forest Watch shows that global forest loss declined 9% in 2014 under 2013 numbers, though 18.7 million hectares were still lost last year.


FAO's report card

The net rate of global deforestation has more than halved over the past 25 years, but still an area the size of South Africa has been cleared over the same period, according to The Global Forest Resources Assessment 2015, published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Forest resources contribute over $600 billion to the global economy and employ more than 50 million people worldwide, according to the report, yet naturally forested areas continue to decrease as growing populations and agricultural pressures threaten pristine forest habitat. FAO estimates that forest carbon emissions were reduced by more than a quarter since 2001. 


Program Officer – Verified Carbon Standard (VCS)

Based in Washington, D.C., the Program Officer will support project developers, methodology developers and verification bodies; oversee and screen projects for entry into VCS's registry; and participate in training sessions, conferences, and other events. The successful candidate should have a master's degree in engineering or forestry; a good understanding of general auditing concepts; and knowledge of the forestry, agriculture, and energy efficiency sectors.

- Read more about the position here

Senior Forestry Specialist – The World Bank

Based in Washington, D.C., the Senior Forestry Specialist will lead the Bank's forest-related work in Central Africa, including work on the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility funded REDD+ Readiness report for the Democratic Republic of Congo; represent the Bank in discussions with government and other stakeholders on forests and REDD+ in the region; and review and advise on operational REDD+ programs to target poverty reductions in Africa. The successful candidate should have an advanced degree in forestry, environmental economics or environmental science; at least eight years of experience in international business; and field experience with REDD+ programs.

- Read more about the position here

Global Forest Watch Liberia Technical Assistant – World Resources Institute (WRI)

Based in Monrovia, Liberia, the Technical Assistant will lead development and implementation of WRI's Global Forest Watch activities in Liberia, beginning with the Liberia Forest Atlas; communicate forest data and analysis to technical and non-technical audiences at national and international levels; and provide technical assistance to relevant processes such as land-use planning and monitoring of logging activities. The successful candidate should have a degree in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) or Natural Resource Management; a minimum of two years of experience using GIS software; and programming experience using Python or Java Script.

- Read more about the position here

Program Associate – American Carbon Registry

Based in Sacramento, California, the Program Associate will answer any technical questions project developers may have; oversee verification and issuance of credits to California compliance and early action projects; and support business development and outreach opportunities. The successful candidate should have at least a bachelor's degree in forestry or a related field; at least five years of experience working with forest-carbon projects; and prior expertise with greenhouse gas accounting principles.

- Read more about the position here

Forest Manager – Climate Action Reserve

Based in Ukiah, California (location negotiable), the Forest Manager will support the review of project documents to ensure the Reserve's forest and urban forest project protocols are upheld;  provide customer support on technical elements of forest and urban forest protocols; and provide technical support related to the monetization of traditional natural resource and forest commodities. The successful candidate should have at least a bachelor's degree in forestry or natural resources; a minimum of three years of experience in a resource management-related field; and experience with statistical analysis.

- Read more about the position here



The Forest Carbon Portal provides relevant daily news, a bi-weekly news brief, feature articles, a calendar of events, a searchable member directory, a jobs board, a library of tools and resources. The Portal also includes the Forest Carbon Project Inventory, an international database of projects including those in the pipeline. Projects are described with consistent 'nutrition labels' and allow viewers to contact project developers.



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Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project

Developed by Wildlife Works, the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project protects more than 500,000 acres of dryland forest and creates a wildlife migration corridor between Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks in southeastern Kenya. The project has already prevented the emission of nearly 8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (MtCO2e) and is expected to reduce nearly 50 MtCO2e over 30 years. Wildlife Works partners with 4,500 local landowners, and the project's corporate supporters include Barclays, Audi, Allianz, BNP Paribas, La Poste, Catlin Group, Kering, and others. The project recently achieved its fourth verifications under the Verified Carbon Standard and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standards.

- Read more about the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project on the Forest Carbon Portal


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