ALLCOT and indigenous communities: Allies in forestry projects

 


Written by Andrés Melandro, Sustainability Consultant.


Indigenous communities are key stakeholders in global climate change mitigation and their territories’ local sustainability. At the regional level, according to the State of the Amazon report published by WWF in 2017, territories governed indigenous communities correspond to 33% of the Amazon and only 8% of deforested lands. This fact highlights the relevance of their role in the fight against deforestation. Over the past decade, technology has empowered indigenous people to monitor their territories. For example, GPS devices are used by indigenous groups to report environmental crimes. This has made companies operating in the Amazon more accountable.

In Colombia, indigenous reservations have historically been located at the crossroads of drug trafficking routes and rebel groups fiefdoms. Having been hit by the armed conflict between guerrillas and the Colombian army, their development rates are now below the national average.

The Inga and Kamsá communities, native of Alto Putumayo and Caquetá provinces respectively (both in southern Colombia) play a key role in this new stage of their regions, in which the progressive restoration of public order can generate an intensification of deforestation. Putumayo and Caquetá are located in a transition zone between the Amazon and the Andean region, Colombia’s economic and administrative center, and they display some of the highest deforestation rates in the country. In addition, the signature of the peace agreement in 2016 has meant the arrival of settlers and large economic groups, which is reflected in land-use changes towards agriculture, whether of large estates or subsistence. The agricultural frontier and livestock frontiers exert pressure on forests. It is worth remembering that the forestry sector is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG) in Colombia, responsible for 36% of emissions, according to the National GHG Inventory. Hence this sector is key to achieve the goals of the nationally determined contribution (NDC) of the country.

ALLCOT coordinates forestry projects with the objective of preserving forests so these will continue playing their role as carbon sinks. Since the founding of ALLCOT 10 years ago, the social consultation process has been rigorous and indigenous communities have been allies of several forestry projects. The social consultation carried out by ALLCOT is always governed by the principle of prior, free and informed consent. Through the funds derived from forestry projects that ALLCOT develops, it is possible to improve the community’s wellbeing, measured by indicators linked to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) such as 24-hour access to energy, schooling rate or infant mortality rate. The ultimate goal is to improve the social and economic development of the local populations of the area in parallel with forest protection. This way, we contribute to both the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement. This is ALLCOT’s mission and the ancestral knowledge that indigenous people have about forests is a key tool to achieve it.

Carbon offsets should have the same value as PPAs for project finance


Written by Alexis Leroy, CEO ALLCOT


Carbon offsets are just as valid and valuable as renewable power

Anyone involved in developing clean energy projects around the world will be familiar with the demands of securing project finance. Lenders typically want to see a solid revenue stream before they consider financing renewable energy or low-carbon energy projects.

Normally, a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) fits this requirement: a long-term offtake agreement with a high-quality buyer offers confidence that the project will generate steady cash flow to service its debt.

Occasionally a PPA by itself may not be regarded as a sufficient guarantee of performance, or the off taker’s credit quality may not be sufficiently strong. In such instances additional security can be added in the form of liquid guarantees or performance bonds.

But there is another revenue stream that can play its part: carbon offsets.

Carbon offsets represent the saving in emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHGs); they’re measured against a baseline in which the project would use legacy technologies. In this way a wind farm, a solar park or a waste-to-energy plant represents savings in GHG emissions compared to coal or even gas-fired power.

The world is waiting for a new global offsets market to replace the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) that will end when the Kyoto Protocol is superseded by the Paris Agreement in 2021. But in the meantime, there are plenty of opportunities to develop and sell carbon offsets for some existing markets. The revenues generated should help secure project finance.

South Africa and Colombia are leading the way in creating high-confidence markets for carbon offsets, by allowing them to be used in part payment of their respective national carbon taxes and thereby granting them a monetized value – at least on paper.

Besides, the International Civil Aviation Organisation is preparing the launch a global offsetting market for airlines in January 2021. Demand for offsets from airlines participating in CORSIA is projected to reach as much as 174 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e) tonnes in 2025 and could be nearly 8 billion tCO2e by 2040.

And beyond these formally established, government-backed markets is a wide variety of voluntary carbon offsetting programs operated by large industrial, commercial and retail companies around the world. According to Forest Trends, nearly 49 million offsets were retired by governments, companies, and individuals in 2018.

There are plenty of challenges facing the use of carbon offsets as securities for project finance. Firstly, the revenue stream from offsets would likely form only a fraction of the overall project costs, and for some, it may simply not be worth the effort to incorporate offsets into a finance agreement.

Also, revenue streams from offset sales tend not to be regular, but “lumpy”. Offset projects must submit independent verification and reporting of the volume of emissions reduced before they can apply for the issuance of those credits, and the costs associated with that process usually mean they can only afford annual or even biennial issuance. Such periodic issuance may not be steady or regular enough to satisfy a lender.

Yet at the same time, using carbon revenue to secure financing may yield two significant benefits: the quality and the reliability of the purchaser. In the case of countries with carbon taxes that can be part-paid in offsets, the guarantor of demand is the government, and industrial emitters must abide by the law.

Similarly, in the case of CORSIA, the end-buyers will be international airlines seeking to comply with government-established, UN-approved targets.

Why is the end-use of the offset important? Because lenders are concerned not only with the scale of revenue streams from a project but also the reliability and creditworthiness of the buyers. Higher-quality off-takers will mean more security for the seller and hence for the lender.

Secondly, it’s important to understand that there is a direct link between the security of the supply of renewable electricity and the security of the supply of carbon offsets. It should be the case that any lender that relies on a PPA as security against project finance, should also be able to rely on the flow of offsets through an emissions reduction purchase agreement (ERPA).

Lenders will consider the reliability of the power project – how much power it is expected to deliver across the length of any contract – when estimating the value of the PPA. The PPA, therefore, is a measure of the potential supply of power, and it can, therefore, be a measure of the supply of carbon offsets.

In the case of many reliable renewable energy technologies – waste gas, solar and even wind power – the actual generation of power and the generation of offsets are very closely linked.

A project developer could even use future delivery of offsets as a source of seed capital for a project. This was a common practice under the UN Clean Development Mechanism. By arranging an ERPA with a buyer who is seeking offsets for some compliance or even voluntary purpose, a project developer can then use this ERPA to raise seed capital. To be sure, the volume of offsets may be subject to clipping, but the principle is sound.

So why don’t lenders take ERPAs into account? If we agree that the fight against climate change is paramount, then how can we not support carbon offsets as a valid source of capital, and indeed may be more valuable than megawatt-hours of renewable power generation?

ALLCOT participates in the Local Stakeholder Consultation process in Ziguinchor, Senegal


Written by Mercedes García, Climate Change and Sustainability Manager


The degradation of mangroves during the last years is alarmingly increasing. Uncontrolled deforestation is one of the main causes, but the increase of the temperature of the planet is altering the salinity of certain areas, which significantly impact on the stability of an ecosystem as fragile as mangroves are. 

Mangroves live in tropical and subtropical latitudes. To the south of Gambia, mangroves occupy Casamance estuary, where they form a long band over the northern margin of the 6 km wide river, between Ziguinchor and Tobor, in Senegal. Due to the anthropogenic pressure, linked to illegal harvest and agriculture, there are many mangroves areas in a state of maximum degradation on which we must act. 

ALLCOT, together with the Senegalese NGO OCEANIUM, is working on the developing of reforestation and conservation project for a part of this mangrove, starting in Senegal and expanding in the coming months to the Gambia and Guinea Bissau. The goal of the project, called SWAMP (Senegal and West Africa Mangrove Project) is to empower the local communities through reforestation and mangrove conservation. For this, the project will be registered in the international standard SDVista with the objective of obtain carbon credits that could be reinvested in these communities and different socio-economics activities. For that, the participation of Senegalese government and local authorities has been necessary, through various meetings held during last year.

On October 15, ALLCOT had the privilege of being one of the speakers in these meetings, held in Zinguinchor. During a complete working day, the ALLCOT team had the opportunity to share with the participants how the project is structured, the short and long term objectives, and especially the detail of the socio-economics activities to be implemented, all of them aligned with the Sustainable Developing Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda. 

There was also the opportunity to discuss and share a lunch with all the mayors who have already joined the initiative and many others who are still evaluating the possibility of adhering. Ideas about initiatives of developing and their alignments with the needs of the populations were exchanged. It was a very fruitful workday, which will be a turning point in the design of the SWAMP project. 

ALLCOT has extensive wide experience in the design and structuring of the project in the field of mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. Our role in the project is to improve the quality of life of the populations that live in the mangroves through the incomes from the carbon credits. To obtain the maximum benefit the project is designed to cover two main areas. In the most degraded areas, propagule plantations of Rhizophora Mangle and Avicennia sp are scheduled. In the areas, best-conserved, protection and training activities will be carried. These activities include the creation of monitoring brigades, to awareness and training in the field. In parallel, the technical team is working in different activities linked to the food security and gender equity for the communities who live in the mangrove areas. 

Due to the significant social component of the project, the standard chosen has been SDVista. Standard developed by VERRA for all those projects which mitigate the greenhouse gas emission but have a profound impact on local populations. 

One of the objectives of the standard is not only to evaluate the contribution of the projects with the SDGs, but also their quantification, monitoring, and of course the verification by an accredited entity. It is, therefore, a robust standard that aims to demonstrate in an effective and verifiable way that the projects are contributing to meet the needs of certain populations. 

During last years, in ALLCOT we have worked in each one of our projects in the alignment of all the activities with the SDSs, all channeled through the fight against climate change. 

SWAMP project is undoubtedly a clear example of the strategy of the company for the future. Empower the local communities through the fight against the current climate crisis by developing initiatives in the scope of all the SDGs of the 2030 Agenda.

Carbon footprint and Expotural, Feria de la Naturaleza y el Turismo Sostenible


Written by Patricia Piñero, Sustainability Consultant.


Between September 27th and 29th, the EXPOTURAL Nature and Sustainable Tourism Fair opened in Madrid in Hall 1 of IFEMA.

EXPOTURAL has become the national reference for sustainable tourism, where nature and biodiversity protection has the greatest role. It is a space to propose and facilitate the promotion and development of destinations through sustainable rural tourism.

A 6000 m2 venue hosted this celebration, accommodating numerous activities available to attendees. Among them the award for the best initiatives in sustainable tourism, being the winning company Bahía de Santander, and secondly, Casa del Tesoro. Bahía Santander received the award thanks to its ecotourism and environmental education project focused on the recovery of the osprey, through the installation of innkeepers and nests in height. A meeting point was also set up for professionals of Active Tourism business tables so that both exhibitors and attendees could participate in these business rounds.

In addition to all these activities, the II International Forum of Nature Tourism and Sustainable Tourism was held, a series of presentations and round tables developed within the pavilion, and structured in different blocks, which dealt with topics such as Ecotourism, Local Development and Sustainability, rural and active tourism, etc. All under a Responsible Tourism approach, above all, for the climate change mitigation.

Coinciding with the general strike called worldwide to support the fight against climate change, EXPOTURAL actively participated in this cause by dedicating the first day of the II International Forum of Nature Tourism and Sustainable Tourism to Climate Change, the latter being one of the structural axes of the fair’s philosophy.

Another edition in which we had the pleasure of being invited to participate in the forum and of being able to be an active part of EXPOTURAL, not only in the presentation we offered to attendees on the management of the carbon footprint for companies, but also contributing to offsetting the fair’s carbon footprint itself. 

Alfonso Polvorinos, technical director of the Fair and the Forum, contacted us some time ago to explore how we could assess the impact of the fair on climate change and mitigate it in the best possible way.

For the 2018 edition, we calculated the fair’s emission identified them and drew up a reduction strategy as recommendations adapted for it. After this study and conclusions, we offered the possibility of compensating for the emissions resulting from the activity of the fair, to obtain a neutral carbon balance. This was done and we have continued working to make it possible again in this edition.

This emission offsetting consists, in broad terms, of the economic investment in carbon credits, an international decontamination mechanism introduced by the Kyoto Protocol for the reduction of the emissions causing climate change.

Therefore, the fair compensated these emissions generated through its collaboration with the RMDLT project, a forestry project located in the Brazilian Amazon that works to protect this fragile ecosystem from the rampant deforestation of the jungle, while allowing degraded forests to have the opportunity to regenerate.

The project contributes to reaching 12 out of the 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, among the most prominent we can mention: the improvement of the quality of life of the families that reside within the area and the land tenure of the people committed to the conservation.

For more information check our website www.allcot.com, or you can contact us directly at the following email ppr@allcot.com

IEA-IETA-EPRI Conference on Greenhouse Gas Emission Trade


Written by Casania Fometescu, ALLCOT Group Business Development


Earlier this month, Casiana Fometescu, international CO2 consultant and ALLCOT Group business development director on Eastern Europe attended the 19th Annual Workshop on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading, jointly organized by The International Energy Agency (IEA), the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in Paris.

The Conference shows the growing importance of the CO2 market worldwide. The number of attendees at the Conference doubled from last year’s, especially in terms of government representatives (e.g. United Kingdom, Switzerland, European Commission, China, New Zealand, Canada, etc.). This feeling was embodied by Mark Lewis from BNP who told the audience he feels “in the glory days of the carbon action”.

The international carbon market has become such an extended topic since national and regional governments, but also companies have developed policies to reduce emissions, and each of them has different technical details in implementation. The presentations held explained many sub-national trading schemes or carbon initiatives (Ontario, Quebec, California), national ones (New Zealand, China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Costa Rica, Columbia), and supra-national carbon markets (EU ETS). 

The following talking points are worth highlighting:

  1. The representative of the World Bank, Celine Ramstein, recognized the importance of pricing carbon and mentioned that there are 46 national and 30 subnational jurisdictions that have already implemented either carbon trading or carbon tax schemes. Yet, all the emissions trading schemes (ETS) in the world (including China) comprise just 20% from the worldwide greenhouse gas (GHG). Therefore, there is still plenty of room to broaden the scope of these mechanisms. 
  2. According to the World Bank report on the state of the carbon market, there is a diversity of carbon prices in different countries, ranging from €127/tCO2 in Sweden and €96/tCO2 in Switzerland, to €25/tCO2 in the EU ETS to less than €10/tCO2 in most countries covered by carbon pricing. Only 5% of the global GHG market has carbon prices between €40-80/tCO2.
  3. Worldwide carbon revenues by governments are also on the rise from USD 22 billion in 2016 to 33 billion USD in 2017, and 45 billion USD in 2018, according to the WB.
  4. Voluntary carbon trading volumes have been rising in recent years and companies are increasingly looking to set CO2 targets in line with the Paris Agreements, Sustainable Development Goals and EU targets for 2030 and 2050.
  5. The EU target of carbon neutrality for 2050 can be achieved only if governments reinforce their National Determined Contributions (NDCs), and set higher targets to achieve through carbon offsetting and investment in green technologies, renewable energy, and carbon storage measures.
  6. Germany would like to introduce a national sectoral trading scheme in addition to the mandatory EU ETS, which will comprise more activity sectors compared to the EU ETS. China has been moving forward on the implementation of the national ETS finalizing Phase I with the plan to realize Phase 2 “simulation exercises” before the end of this year.
  7. Article 6 negotiations of the Paris Agreement can represent an opportunity for private entities to contribute to global mitigation efforts through their participation in international market mechanisms, but also through voluntary cooperation in the implementation of the each country’s NDC. Yet, all pilot initiatives under Article 6 are government initiatives and not private ones.
  8. IETA’s 2019 GHG Market Sentiment Survey shows that 85% of respondents expect corporate voluntary action to increase over the next 5-10 years with businesses much more involved in reducing GHGs emissions and achieving their voluntary targets.

The benefits of recycling in the fight against the climate crisis


Written by Encarnación Hernández, Climate Change Mitigation Consultant


We are currently facing a critical global situation in terms of consumption of plastics and their subsequent recycling. It is expected that by next year, plastic production will increase to 350 million tons. If this rhythm and the current “use and discard” consumption model are maintained, this level could increase to 619 million tons in 2030.

The process of decomposing plastic material produces the emission of two greenhouse gases with a high global warming potential (methane and ethylene) and a very harmful effect on human health. For this reason, in recent years various initiatives have been developed in the field of plastic waste reduction and recycling. Their main objective is to reduce dependence on existing conventional resources. However, there are other solutions in the market contributing to the manufacture of different products from recycled plastics. This is a great innovation in the recycling market.

ALLCOT Group, a company specialized in environmental solutions in the fight against climate change, is working on an innovative project based on the construction of sustainable housing from recycled plastic.

The main objective is the recycling of plastic waste to give it a second life, improving the performance of both recycling and waste recovery. The population is involved in the collection of plastic, mainly bottles, from which blocks and bricks are manufactured and used for the construction of houses or other types of buildings. These materials are flexible and flame retardant light and they display high insulation capacity. These characteristics make them ideal to face extreme weather events that often affect vulnerable countries to the effects of the current climate crisis, such as heatwaves or deterioration caused by water on such conventional buildings.

The ongoing project will be replicated in developing countries. It has focused on vulnerability groups, including women working in the informal waste recycling sector, and therefore contributing to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals signed in the 2030 Agenda. In addition to reducing the amount of waste destined for its final disposition and increase its recovery, the project will yield another series of economic, social and environmental benefits. These include an increase in the country’s resilience to climate change, poverty alleviation, and improvement of the well-being and health of populations by offering a new sustainable livelihood. Finally, it also contributes to greater access to drinking water and improved biodiversity protection in the area.

This project contributes to the mitigation of GHG emissions and thus tackles the current climate crisis. With the use of different internationally accepted methodologies and previous studies, the actual reduction of greenhouse gas emissions can be calculated.  In fact, the secondary production of construction materials entails lower amounts of CO2 emissions compared to conventional production (from 40% to 80% depending on the type of material).

Given that fuel and electricity consumption the freest are the stages of the building process that release most CO2, the plastic brick recycling project is expected to have a high impact on greenhouse gas emissions reduction. 

Concentrating on five key areas (cement, plastics, steel, aluminum, and food), the project “Completing the Picture: How the Circular Economy Tackles Climate Change” illustrates how designing out waste, keeping materials in use, and regenerating farmland can reduce emissions by 9.3 billion tonnes. That is equivalent to eliminating current emissions from all forms of transport globally.

ALLCOT is currently developing a methodology to estimate CO2 emission reductions since there is none approved by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that directly applies to the project in question.

Once approved by the United Nations, project implementation can begin. 

We need additional efforts to decarbonize our economy while creating creative and innovative sustainable growth opportunities.

Reflections on Climate Week New York and the role of explorers.


Written by Alexis Leroy, CEO ALLCOT


Last month, the climate change community met in New York City for Climate Week. Numerous organizations hosted events around the city on the sidelines of official United Nations events, making Climate Week one of the largest climate gatherings of the year.

I attended, among other events, the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) “Carbon Forum North America”, held at the iconic Explorers Club headquarters in midtown.

The Explorers Club is an historic establishment that dates back to the early 20th century, when explorers such as Edmund Hillary, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt and Charles Lindbergh would regale members with tales of extreme conditions, new species of animals – some are still displayed in the club – and their efforts to push back the boundaries of human knowledge and achievement.

I like to think it was no accident that IETA chose The Explorers Club to host their annual event. Climate change is unknown territory: we are charting a new path into the realm of changing weather patterns and mankind’s ability both to prevent and to adapt to a changing environment.

And it also occurred to me that what groups involved in climate change are doing is very much akin to exploration. Not only does our changing climate represent the new territory, but the efforts that nations are making to prevent catastrophic climate change are also an entirely new way to tackle environmental problems.

To apply market mechanisms to solve an environmental problem may seem contradictory, but it speaks to one of the most powerful forces that drives mankind: its ambition, its pursuit of security and knowledge and its desire to survive. All of these are represented in market systems, and they were also forces that drove the great explorers.

Recently, a study was published that showed how close cooperation among nations in linking their carbon pricing systems could bring down the cost of reducing emissions by as much as $250 billion a year by 2030. Efficiencies of scale, as well as closely aligned regulations, are critical to achieving these cost reductions. 

This is ground-breaking research that highlights how the power of markets can be used to achieve a global good. And the idea of markets for environmental outcomes is not even new: The United States pioneered the use of markets for environmental goals when it developed the first emissions trading systems for Sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from coal-fired power plants in the 1970s.

This study explores the farther reaches of what may be possible if nations can agree on a clear and transparent set of standards and regulations for countries to use when setting up their carbon markets. The UN negotiations in Santiago this December will be critical to bringing to reality the exploratory work of work such as this study.

This research demonstrates how important it is that nations, as well as interest groups in the environmental space, consider the role of business. There are plenty of NGOs advocating for practical solutions to the problem of climate change, but not many of them address the concerns of the business community.

It’s not heresy to say this: whatever we may think of the global economy and its presence in our lives, business is among the most important constituencies that make up society. And as such, it has a role to play in addressing our problems.

Within the climate sphere alone, green NGOs advocate for solutions that consider science, human rights, climate justice, gender, youth, and workers. Why would it be seen as wrong that an NGO should help craft effective, efficient market mechanism regulations so that business can fully play its role?

Some may say that governments simply need to regulate carbon emissions out of existence, by imposing a tax on carbon dioxide. There are many parts of the world where that happens. Real explorers, however, are looking for ways that guarantee the environmental outcome, rather than government tax receipts.

Capitalism is often seen as incompatible with climate action; just look at the protests that are growing by the day around the world. The role of pioneers and explorers like IETA is to make the two work together, speeding up climate action by ensuring that there’s a real incentive to take action.

The integration of sustainability in Tourism Sector


Written by Jessica Dominguez, Sustainability Consultant


Today might sound presumptuous and little trivial, that in the last 50 years globally have discovered practically in parallel – the growing and exponential importance – both access to information through the Internet and social networks such as the importance of protecting our planet through our daily sustainability actions for our future generations.

Twenty years ago these two themes evolved asymptotically.

Today access to information and planet protection are common themes of current humanity. We associate with a prosperous and sustainable community that can be informed by these technologies, but also if and only if a prosperous and sustainable community is one that coexists balancing the natural resources of their environment.

While following the Paris Agreement of 2015 was visibly, and precisely through these media, the need to involve all societies for the care of the planet through sustainable actions. It was in these spaces where prevailed the need for the participation of the productive sectors, since in our current environment enjoy agglomerating and influence large production and various sectors groups, through the development of a wide range of products and services that current humanity operates and means of survival.

This is where ALLCOT zooms in this reflection that can be caused to individuals and various sectors, and we will do on these items. This zoom is to take as an example the Tourism Sector and how sustainability has been integrated into their daily activities as part of their evolutionary chain.

Undoubtedly travelers and explorers of 100 years ago are very different from travelers of 50 years ago and even admire the differences they had with travelers of our present years. The first difference may lie in the number, gender and age, very few people had the opportunity and resources to move out of his home town, and even it was only man allowed them to adulthood.

A second difference could be established in the distance that could reach on their trips and the reason that led to it, such as the case of businessmen who needed to cross oceans to get textiles, food or technology in the other side of the world, in our days those and other several products/services can be acquired without traveling and taking advantage of information technology and transportation.

If we take a giant step in this evolution of the tourism sector, one of the last differences from travelers of 100 years ago, is that the current traveler is seeking sensory experiences and travel the mere fact of being able to do and know the various geographies, cultures and ecosystems on the planet. Currently, we travel alone, in pairs, with friends, with family, with children, in groups, of course these travelers are not exclusive, but they are the majority.

The current tourism for one side add  the service provider that strives to provide and ensure this experience on their customers, and for the other side add the customers / users of tourism industry looking to acquire a distinct and noble experience as well as being in contact with nature, and of course make sure you visit to nature is not impacted.

The current challenge for builders and operators of hotels, hostels or guest houses on five continents have agreed to seek to provide a balance between meeting the needs seeking users, such as ensuring that their activities do not make any impact on resources planet and the creatures that inhabit it.

In the last 20 years the main affectations detected planet were not visibly caused by the tourism sector, however the more information there is and it comes to the different groups that make up the sector, it has been identified and expanded disclosure of the powerful magnitude its impacts and the importance to do and not to do sustainable actions for the conservation of the planet.

ALLCOT challenges you to navigate the numerous social networks and even web pages for all the world of various orders (business travel or ecotourism) and different sizes (local cabins or large hotel chains) hotels. In such sources of information, you can identify sustainable actions are without naming them such as: savings and efficient water consumption, savings and energy efficiency, including the preference of hotels that use renewable energy. The use and recycling of materials consumption during the stay from soaps to feed them they offer. And building materials employing as those with the lowest possible carbon footprint that is inclusive of local origin.

Currently, there are increasingly rating agencies that evaluate sustainable actions in various sectors and major hotel groups, where being five stars is only the elementary part to attract users more demanding, but the distinction of being sustainable hotel seeks to satisfy their own needs to perform its activities with the least impact on the planet. However, the owners offer these groups are constantly inquiring experiences to innovate and ensure that their activity is sustainable.

Nowadays, if you do not disclose your activity (in your organization), your activity is not known and therefore is inert. So for the marketing of products and services of the tourism sector, both generated and exchanged information on social networks, such as the conservation of the planet are two completely convergent themes, and is the current sustainable source of tourism business sector.

Of course, this brief reflection is the top of the iceberg of sustainability that the tourism sector has integrated naturally in its evolution as a business and activity, whose approach to sustainability was the environment for the conservation of the planet. However necessary to satisfy the needs of human beings to learn and evolve activity within the tourism sector has other social sustainability approaches.

Reforestation of the Amazon as a key climate change solution


Written by Mercedes García, Climate Change and Sustainability Manager


Between January 1st and August 18th, 2019, forest fires have increased 83% compared to the same period of 2018, according to the National Space Research Institute of Brazil (INPE). According to the INPE satellite images, more than 70,000 spotlights were produced, of which more than half were located in the Amazon region. However, fires are not the only elements that are devastating the Amazon rainforest, the country’s deforestation has reached its highest level in the last 10 years.

 According to a new study in the journal Science, “planting billions of trees around the world would be the cheapest and most effective way to tackle the climate crisis”. The same study confirms “a program at this scale could remove about two-thirds of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions caused by human activities since the start of the industrial revolution”. Taking into account that up to 20% of annual GHG emissions come from deforestation activities, the impact of properly managing these activities could imply a reduction of more than one million tons of CO2e (study published in Global Change Biology, carried out jointly with scientists from the Global Forest Watch of the World Resources Institute (WRI).

However, for many small landowners in developing countries, it is not profitable to maintain a small tree plantation. Without aid, financing or awareness policies, these small owners will choose to continue cutting down trees to allow livestock to enter their property rather than conserving the forest in its natural state or reforesting the degraded. This is the key point to work on, and that is why REDD projects that generate carbon credits are so beneficial for society and the fight against the climate crisis.

But, what exactly is the REDD mechanism? To understand the mechanism, it is necessary to go back to 2005 when a group of countries, led by Papua New Guinea, managed to talk about avoided deforestation at the Conference of the Parties, held in Montreal (COP 11). From that moment the discussion on the role of forests in the fight against climate change returned to the international debate and it was two years later, in Bali, when the UNFCCC recognized the reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) as a valid mechanism in the fight against climate change.

According to the Bali Action Plan signed by the Parties at that conference, REDD + refers to the reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation; in addition to conservation, sustainable management and improvement of the carbon stock of forests in developing countries. It is a more complex mechanism than a GHG emission mitigation project of the CDM type since it is necessary to work on forest governance ensuring the rights of local communities and forest-dependent indigenous peoples.

However, the result is that the REDD mechanism allows conserving forests immediately and profitably. The REDD mechanism is based on calculating (using internationally accepted methodologies) the amount of carbon that is no longer emitted, and converting it into a carbon-offset carbon credit. These credits are sold to large companies that require offsetting GHG emissions from their activities, and part of the income obtained is reinvested in local communities to contribute to local economic development. There are examples of successful initiatives in many countries, and the reinvestment of those benefits has allowed activities as beneficial to society, for example, the creation of cooperatives for local trade, conversion of “illegal loggers” into forest protection agents, infrastructure reinforcement such as schools and hospitals, distribution of water purification systems or efficient kitchens that reduce biomass consumption.

The fight against the climate crisis is not easy or cheap, but it will be more difficult and expensive to face the consequences of not doing so, and the REDD mechanism can be configured as one of the most sustainable, profitable and beneficial engines in the short and medium-term of the fight.

 

ALLCOT certifies under “Gold Standard for the Global Goals” more than 644,000 tons of CO2 emissions for Consorcio Santa Marta in Chile.


Written by Alfredo Gil, Climate Change Mitigation Consultant


Consorcio Santa Marta, as Project Proponent and ALLCOT in its role as consultant in climate change mitigation projects, have achieved, on September 13, 2019, the issuance of 644,763 VERs (Verified Emission Reductions) certified under “Gold Standard for the Global Goals”, corresponding to the GS3976 project “Santa Marta Landfill Gas (LFG) Capture for Electricity Generation Project”.

These VERs are equivalent to 644,763 tons of CO2 emissions, avoided during the fourth monitoring period of the project (from August 1, 2017, to April 30, 2019), thanks to the collection and reuse of biogas from the landfill to produce clean electricity.

The project, located 17 km south of the city of Santiago, in Chile, receives a monthly average of 130,000 tons of municipal solid waste and it is estimated that during the project’s crediting period it avoids around 3 million tons of CO2 in the atmosphere. This reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is achieved through two routes, one is the use of biogas itself, with high methane content (a gas with a high global warming potential) since if it is not collected and used for generation of energy, it would be emitted into the atmosphere. The other way is the generation of unconventional and clean electricity and its supply to the Chilean national network since these MWh generated present 0 emissions and otherwise would have been produced by the country’s conventional electricity mix, partly formed by thermal power plants and the partial use of fossil fuels.

In addition to its contribution to climate change mitigation, the Consorcio Santa Marta project contributes positively to different United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, due to its certification in “Gold Standard for the Global Goals”. Among these social, environmental and economic benefits, are the reduction of the per capita environmental impact due to the sustainable management of urban solid waste, the improvement of quality in early childhood education, the contribution of clean energy and the creation of quality jobs and training for the workers.

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