Live & Learn International’s Executive Director, Mr Christian Nielsen has congratulated Director General for the Vanuatu Ministry of Climate Change, Mr Jessie Benjamin, on a partnership with the Nakau Programme
that has led to the Pacific’s first sale of high-quality, certified rainforest carbon credits.
Since 2011 the Loru landowners of Espiritu Santo have committed to manage 220 Ha of remnant lowland rainforest for conservation and regeneration. The area protects habitat for critically endangered species, including the Vanuatu Megapode bird and the Coconut Crab. The project has sold 3,711 credits (3,711 tonnes CO2e) to buyers overseas and within Vanuatu during 2016.
The income received from the sale of carbon credits is used for managing the Loru Community Conservation Area, monitoring the project and to provide payments to the landowners that compensates them for foregoing opportunities to clear the land for gardening or copra.
“The Loru Forest Project leads the way in demonstrating the opportunities for Pacific islanders to benefit in a green economy; said Mr Benjamin DG. The project owners not only benefit from income generated through the project but also from protecting the forest resource which provides them with food, water, medicine and cultural heritage.”
“This project will monitor over time how the project impacts the community to measure effects on community resilience” said Mr Nielsen.
The majority of credits have been sold to a company in Sweden, Opus, that has elected to become carbon neutral. The company has reduced its carbon footprint and then offsets its remaining emissions by purchasing carbon credits from Loru.
Zero Mission, a European broker selling Nakau credits in Europe, responds to consumers who are placing increasing pressure on companies to demonstrate that they are good global citizens.
The Nakau Programme projects not only deliver third-party validated carbon credits but they provide multiple co-benefits to the forest dependent project owners. Many companies are keen to align their business to work that is quality assured to provide environmental and social benefits.
Nakau is also working with buyers present in Vanuatu such as German development agency, GIZ, and regional body, SPC, who are offsetting project-based emissions. Private buyers are also offsetting their flights or travel purchasing Nakau credits via online retail presence, Ekos (www.ekos.org.nz).
The project is formally recognised as a national REDD+ pilot project by the Vanuatu Government. Live & Learn is a member of the National Technical Committee for REDD+ which ensures lessons learned from this project can assist the Government to develop a national REDD+ program. The project is a partnership between the Nakau Programme, Live & Learn Vanuatu and the Serakar Clan (land owners of the Loru Community Conservation Area).
“While Vanuatu is the first country to successfully process sales for rainforest carbon protection, our projects in Fiji and the Solomon Islands are also close to generating their first sales.” stated Mr Nielsen, “the Nakau Programme is growing and our project methodology is being replicated across the Pacific. It is accessible to other NGOs, project developers and forest owning communities however a source of start-up finance such as a grant is required to develop a new project in the program.”