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Kulera's First Carbon Credit Sale

06 April 2016 |

The Kulera Landscape Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) Program in Malawi has successfully completed its first sale of carbon credits. The sale, managed by Terra Global Capital, to The CarbonNeutral Company on behalf of its client, Microsoft, provides financial resources for forest protection and building rural incomes in Malawi.

The Kulera Landscape REDD+ Program is one of the largest REDD+ programs in Africa covering 455,000 hectares and benefiting the livelihoods of more than 65,000 households (or 325,000 people) in 800 villages. The Nkhotakota Wildlife and Nyika-Vwaza Community Associations partnered with Malawi’s Department of Parks and Wildlife to co-manage three key protected areas under significant risk of deforestation, Nyika National Park, Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve, and Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve. Kulera is one of only three programs in the world to achieve the triple gold recognition for its social, biodiversity and adaption benefits under the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard.
Initial funding support from USAID developed key components of the program which established formalized co-management arrangements and promoted activities with the communities around the protected areas to reduce deforestation, strengthen rural incomes and increase biodiversity. “The success of the Kulera Project is a true testament to the power of partnership. It's very gratifying to see the project continuing to succeed even after the close-out of direct USAID support,” said David Chalmers, Environmental Team Lead of USAID/Malawi. Over its first 4 years, the program successfully reduced over 1 million tons of CO2e which is equivalent to taking more than 200,000 cars off the road for an entire year. “This initial sale demonstrates how carbon value chains provide payments for environmentally, socially and financially sustainable land-use management," said Leslie Durschinger, Founder and Managing Director of Terra Global Capital.
As the program moves from donor funding to a results-based model the protected area co-management partners receive finance for measured success, which is used to address the drivers of deforestation and improve governance. A key component of this sale is that it supports the integration of Microsoft technology for mobile monitoring which increases communication and connectivity within and outside of the program areas for more effective landscape management. James Sadalaki, the Chairman of the Nkhotakota Community Association thanked Microsoft for investing in his communities, “These phones will help us achieve our goals of easing communication and will have an added benefit of reducing fuel costs by allowing us to share critical information with communities that are many kilometers away.” The program partners continue to work with key technical partners including Total LandCare and Terra Global to provide technical implementation expertise and fiscal managerial support for the program.
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with the innovative landscape level Kulera REDD+ program, a first of its kind for the marketplace and Malawi, and delivering GHG reductions combined with essential sustainable impacts to both communities and biodiversity. In the run up to COP21 in Paris, we hope negotiators will take note of the leadership being demonstrated by corporate voluntary action and clients such as Microsoft in addressing deforestation," said Zubair Zakir, Sourcing Director, The CarbonNeutral Company.
Brighton Kumchedwa, Director of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, commented, “This sale will allow us to continue to work jointly with the Community Associations to reduce pressures on the forest and dependence on natural resources.” The program will continue to seek carbon buyers who value projects that deliver the highest quality emission reductions, like Kulera, and that can demonstrate that through an efficient carbon value chain, those producing the emission reductions are receiving the majority of funds being generated through sales.