September 3, 2010

Clinton Foundation Supports Orangutan Forest

Borneo orangutan and forest carbon conservation project supported by the Clinton Foundation achieves VCS approval

Developed by Hong Kong-based InfiniteEARTH in partnership with Orangutan Foundation International, the Rimba Raya forest conservation project in Indonesia extends to almost 50,000 hectares of peat forest.

Natural habitat for orangutan populations, the forest was purchased to protect these rare primates whose encounter rates were recently calculated to have fallen six-fold since 1860.  The endangered orangutans were positioned in the path of proposed palm-oil plantations, a monoculture totally incompatible with orangutans and high levels of biodiversity.

As well as conserving forest for orangutans, the project also aims to offset CO² (or reduce projected emissions) by some 75,000,000 million tons between 2010 and 2040.

The project design has already been validated by the Rainforest Alliance and Bureau Veritas according to both the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standard (CCBS) and the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS).  On completion of third-party validation later this year, this project could well be the first VCS REDD project to jump through all the required hoops.

“A pioneering initiative like this should enhance forest carbon market confidence and shift the international REDD process up into third gear,” commented Matthew Owen, Director of Cool Earth, a UK charity with more than two years experience working on a range of similar rainforest conservation initiatives.

Finance for the reduced carbon credits is expected to come via the UN and World Bank’s REDD programme for the reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation.  Carbon credits from the project will be targeted at the voluntary OTC (“over the counter”) market and the scheme already has the backing of Shell and Gazprom, the largest gaz producer in the world.


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