5th of February 2018, Oxford. We are delighted to announce that Gola Rainforest Conservation, comprising partners the Government of Sierra Leone, the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone and the RSPB -one of the world’s foremost conservation charities- have partnered exclusively with climate and development experts ClimateCare, to offer the opportunity to purchase carbon credits from its unique Gola REDD+ Project in Sierra Leone.
The project is using climate finance to protect 140,000 hectares of the largest remaining area of the Upper Guinea Tropical Forest which at the end of the 19th century stretched from Sierra Leone in the West to Ghana in the East. Less than a fifth of the forest remains today. The project reduces the impacts of global climate change by preventing the release of almost 5m tonnes of carbon that is stored in the forest.
Through this exclusive partnership, over 950,000 tonnes of VERs, certified to VCS/CCB Double Gold, are available immediately for purchase through ClimateCare.
Sierra Leone is one of the world’s least developed countries (ranked 179 out of 188 on the Human Development Index). In remote areas like the Greater Gola Landscape communities are disenfranchised and highly dependent on natural resources; subsistence agriculture accounts for 90% of their livelihoods. The project, which conserves the recently designated Gola Rainforest National Park, is the first of its kind to be developed in this country and indeed West Africa. The area has been recognised as one of the 25 most important global biodiversity hotspots and is home to nine endangered species including the critically endangered iconic Pygmy Hippo, and 60 threatened species, which the project will help protect.
“This project combines critical forest and wildlife conservation work with a raft of social and community benefits, from sustainable cocoa production to the provision of saving and lending schemes,” commented Emily Woodfield, Head of Tropical Forest Landscapes Unit, RSPB. “We are delighted to be partnering with longstanding climate finance experts ClimateCare who will give the project access to large international corporate funders who support its aims.”
Working with local stakeholders, the project is ensuring local communities appreciate the value of the standing forest and can develop sustainable livelihoods on agricultural land and unprotected areas, reducing illegal encroachment into the newly formed Park. This work all contributes to the rebuilding of lives following over a decade of civil war and more recently the worst ever recorded Ebola outbreak. The project is working with farmers to develop opportunities in sustainable cocoa production. In its first two years, the project reached 53 villages and approximately 2,770 farmers and in 2017 resulted in the export of 13 metric tonnes of rainforest-friendly cocoa. Exports are forecast to reach 50 tonnes in 2018.
“Gola REDD+ is an exceptionally high quality exemplar project that presents a unique opportunity for Corporates who are concerned about deforestation, keen to support wildlife conservation and species preservation, whilst taking responsibility for their carbon emissions” said Edward Hanrahan, CEO of ClimateCare. “We believe the involvement of the RSPB as one of the world’s foremost conservation organisations will appeal to organisations with a strong sense of environmental and social integrity, as well as those whose products or services impact on the world’s forests.”
 Myers et al, 2000
African Pygmy Kingfisher
Livelihood interventions include vegetable production, including cassava
About the Project
Started in 2012, the Project is being managed by the Gola Rainforest Conservation not-for-profit company, founded by three partner organisations – the Government of Sierra Leone, the RSPB and The Conservation Society of Sierra Leone (CSSL) and local communities. Key to the project’s success is the ability to demonstrate that protecting forest resources can be both socially and environmentally beneficial, thus the revenues from carbon finance are critical.
As 90% of the population of forest edge communities are dependent on subsistence agriculture for their livelihoods, project activities have been aligned to the needs of local people. Following consultation with key stakeholders from 122 communities, the project management team has put in place a comprehensive programme for communities, including, to date:
- 35 farmer field schools established with so far, 450 registered members representing 32 of the communities. This has resulted in the very first international export of 13 metric tonnes of rainforest-friendly cocoa (2017), forecasted to reach 50 tonnes in 2018.
- 90 Master Farmers (to support/cascade training) have been trained in 2017 alone.
- 35 Community managed Loan Schemes have been established to allow communities to buy equipment/seeds etc. to support implementing farmer field school training on their land.
- Training/loan schemes have resulted in increased crop yields from existing farmland –for example, ground nut yields have increased by 80% within one year.
- 16 villages have participated in cocoa mapping and cocoa growing support. In total, 42 cocoa farmer groups have been established with over a thousand registered farmers.
- 152 young people have been trained in cocoa rehabilitation.
- 658 scholarships for secondary schools were awarded in the past year.
The Gola Rainforest is home to 327 bird species, the elusive pygmy hippo, a population of 300 chimpanzees and 49 species of larger mammal.
The REDD+ project has a combined VCS and CCB Double Gold Validation for biodiversity protection which was conducted by the Rainforest Alliance.
Organisations interested in supporting this, or similar projects across the developing world should contact the ClimateCare team on +44(0)1865 591000 or email [email protected] to request pricing for carbon credits.
ClimateCare works with corporate and government partners to deliver world leading emission reduction and development programmes.
Our experts design integrated programmes and implement them – selecting and devising the best projects to tackle poverty, improve health, protect the environment and deliver value for the organisations involved.
This unique Climate+Care approach is a cost effective way for corporates to take full responsibility for their climate and social impacts and for the public sector to deliver more efficiency for its spend.
The market leader for over 20 years, by unlocking new sources of finance and leveraging mainstream funding, we deliver some of the largest and most successful sustainability initiatives in the world.
Our work has an immediate and measurable impact for people and the environment: to date we have cut over 21 million tonnes of CO2 and improved life for over 16.5 million people.
Find out more at www.climatecare.org
Follow ClimateCare on twitter: @ClimateCare