South Africa’s Nedbank (www.nedbank.co.za) has announced an agreement with international non-governmental organisation Wildlife Works Incorporated (www.wildlifeworks.com) to launch an African carbon credit scheme.
Nedbank is to acquire carbon credits which stem from Wildlife Works’ efforts sustainably to prevent the deforestation of the Kasigau Corridor. The project will monetize the biodiversity assets of a 200,000 hectares dryland forest and savannah grassland strip called Kasigau Wildlife Corridor until 2026. It was awarded gold-level approval under the Climate Community and Biodiversity Alliance’s forestry protection standard and is apparently Africa’s first approved large project under the international Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) scheme, which pays for projects which prevent further deforestation sustainably and measurably in areas which has seen previous deforestation. It is seeking registration with the Voluntary Carbon Standard registry. Business and people in developed countries can “off-set” carbon emissions through buying carbon credits from developing countries, which are preventing deforestation and conserving their natural resources and helping the world climate.
Over 2.5 million tonnes of carbon is expected to be released into the global carbon trading market through the Kenyan REDD carbon project partnership. The Kasigau project applies market-based solutions to conservation of biodiversity and should benefit local communities through education, job creation, environmental protection and direct financial rewards.
The investment banking division Nedbank Capital will make the Kagisau credits available. Head of carbon, Kevin Whitfield, reportedly says: “The carbon market provides a mechanism for linking Africa to the global green economy, while simultaneously conserving its rich natural heritage and safeguarding the livelihoods of its people. We hope this partnership will prove Africa can fight climate change, uplifting both rural communities and protecting wildlife by connecting them to the global carbon market.”
Saliem Fakir, Head of the WWF in South Africa reportedly confirms: “Rukinga and the associated Kasigau Wildlife Corridor project are world-class examples of projects that are making a tangible difference to both communities and the environment. It is innovative finance solutions, like carbon financing, which makes them possible.”
Wildlife Works applies innovative market-based techniques to conserving biodiversity and forest habitat. It sees the emerging Global Carbon Marketplace as a logical and exciting extension and its website gives a useful rundown of the theory (How It Works). According to WW, the Rukinga community was being forced to destroy their magnificent wilderness in order to survive. In the last ten years WW has restored a huge piece of land to a healthy vibrant ecosystem with elephants, lions, and 50 other species of large mammal. At the same time, the community has received 18 new classrooms for their children, and the employees and their families have received full health care benefits in a community with incredibly high HIV incidence. Wildlife Works also provides jobs, including through founding an organic greenhouse to promote healthier farming practices, providing local farmers with cash-generating citrus trees and free agroforestry trees to use for building and fuel wood. WW is exploring the extensive and expensive preparation for a new REDD project to save the Ngoyla-Mintom Rainforest (2 million acres) in Cameroon from being logged.
Wildlife Works Carbon is a new joint venture between Wildlife Works and Colin Wiel Investments LLC formed to pursue the emerging Reduced Emissions From Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) marketplace for Carbon Offsets as a sustainable and scaleable funding mechanism for biodiverse forest protection.
Nedbank, a subsidiary of the Old Mutual Group, is one of South Africa’s oldest banks and listed on the JSE Ltd. since 1969. The project further boosts the bank’s “green” credentials after the bank announced in October that it had won the National Business Initiative (NBi) 2009 South Africa Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Report Leadership Index. Other leading corporates included Bidvest Group, Woolworths Holdings, BHP Billiton, Goldfields and Sappi. It is also reportedly the only African bank included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.
The Global CDP is the largest source of transparent information on carbon emissions in the world. Nedbank is moving towards becoming carbon neutral and is cutting its “carbon footprint” through a robust entrenched carbon management programme including awareness, energy efficiency targets, paper and waste reduction initiatives, travel reduction, and various other methods of internal carbon reduction. Tom Boardman, Chief Executive, Nedbank Group, says: “Our position as a truly environmentally aware organisation is not the result of ad hoc environmental interventions. Rather, the external realization of our green credentials is the natural consequence of a deeply ingrained commitment to a culture of sustainability – one that runs throughout our operations and is embraced as a value by our staff members, business partners, suppliers and other stakeholders.
“Nedbank is serious about influencing others to follow our lead, by linking environmental considerations to all our financing activities, an aggressive green procurement policy that encourages suppliers to operate in an environmentally friendly manner, and a Green Affinity that raises awareness among our clients of the need to be environmentally aware and affords them the opportunity to contribute towards conservation projects simply by utilising affinity-linked Nedbank products.”