Selling carbon to combat deforestation and protect tribal lands
Praxis supports Forest Carbon Partners as they develop high-quality forest carbon offset projects
Founded in June 2011, Forest Carbon Partners is an investment fund managed by New Forests. New Forest manages over $2 billion for investment in sustainable timberland and environment markets, including over 1.5 million acres of timberland and rural land. New Forests believes that in addition to wood products, forests provide many values to society, including carbon sequestration, wildlife habitat and water.
Through Forest Carbon Partners, New Forests works with family, industrial, and tribal landowners to create carbon offset projects that deliver real financial value, through increasing and diversifying revenue for timberland owners. These investments deliver a reliable, high-volume supply of offsets to businesses regulated under the California cap-and-trade system.
Forest Carbon Partners works with Native American corporations and tribes on projects that align with each tribe’s strategic objectives. Each project delivers a combination of social and environmental benefits.
The Yurok Tribe, for example, is reacquiring ancestral tribal lands through carbon finance. The carbon in the trees is measured and is then calculated for 100 years; companies can purchase the carbon storage to help them comply with the cap-and-trade program. The project is the first forest carbon project ever registered under the California regulatory offset protocol and has issued over 825,000 offset credits to date. The tribe is also using project proceeds to revitalize traditional livelihoods and crafts as co-benefits of its ancestral land programs.
Another tribe, the Chugach, opted to sell its coal field rights and ensure that its lands will never be mined. The tribe explained that carbon finance provided sustainable income generation that would not threaten other resources required for subsistence, income and cultural use. Preservation of the land avoids future coal-based emissions – the equivalate of taking 41.6 million cars of off the road for one year.
Barbara Bamberger of the Air Resource Board Climate Change Program, explained how each project must go through an extensive amount of verification before any carbon credits can be issued.
“We have accredited verifiers that have gone through ARB training,” Bamberger said. “They have to take a test to become a verifier. They go out into the field, they check everything - every piece of information is reviewed - then the project goes through a second and then a third review.”
The California cap-and-trade program that was launched in November 2013 and attempts to lower greenhouse emissions from regulated entities by more than 16 percent between 2013 and 2020, and by an additional 40 percent by 2030. It is a central component of the state’s broader strategy to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. The program is the fourth-largest in the world, following the cap-and-trade programs of the European Union, the Republic of Korea and the Chinese province of Guangdong. At its core, the program helps businesses to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and acts as a financial incentive for landowners to protect the forests through better management.
Praxis Mutual Funds® supports organizations such as Forest Carbon Partners through investments in Calvert Impact Capital, an impact-investing institution that helps people around the world through community development financing. It’s part of the Praxis commitment to place approximately 1 percent of each of its funds to benefit neighborhoods and individuals through community development investments.