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.

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

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.

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.

If you want to read more about this project, please click here

 

ROUND TABLE ON THE CARBON MARKET

 

 

The Ministry of Ecological Transition and Solidarity and the General Delegation of Québec in Paris will hold a seminar called:

QUÉBEC – FRANCE: ROUND TABLE ON THE CARBON MARKET

It will take place on September 30 in Paris, France. It will feature the persistence and participation of Elisabeth Borne, Minister of the Ecological Transition and Solidarity of the French Republic and Benoit Charrette, Minister of Environment and Struggle against Quebec Climate Change.

This event will be a great opportunity to discuss carbon pricing and the fair and equitable transition to a less carbon economy.

Some of the objectives of the seminar are:

  • Present key tools and trends in carbon pricing.
  • Illustrate how carbon prices can contribute to achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement and support a fair and equitable transition.
  • Highlight the importance of international collaboration for success in the fight against climate change, through carbon pricing.

Delegates of ALLCOT will be present to know in depth the details of this interesting and very nutritious session, giving the company a local and international vision of the Carbon market, which will allow us, to develop new tools and improvements in our services.

You can find more information about the seminar, including its programming by clicking on this link (In French language)

Carbon offsets for a sustainable and decarbonized future


Written by Sergi Cuadrat, Chief Technical Officer (ALLCOT)


In 2015, leaders from the member states of the United Nations agreed on objectives to shift all economies and societies toward sustainable and decarbonised development through the adoption of the Agenda 2030 on the Sustainable Development Goals (New York, September 2015) and the Paris Agreement to limit climate warming to well below 2ᵒC (Paris, December 2015). There is enormous potential for co-benefits to arise from the mutually supportive implementation processes of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) elaborated in the voluntary 2030 Agenda and the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) underpinning the legally binding Paris Agreement under its Article 6.

Both frameworks, although negotiated under different multilateral processes, promote the participation of all countries and are highly interlinked: the Paris Agreement emphasizes the need for considerations of sustainability in low-carbon transitions; at the same time avoiding dangerous climate change is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) defined in the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. Thus, failure in one process could undermine the success of the other. The implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) –countries’ emissions reduction commitments– requires huge investments, which are more likely to be financed if embedded in and benefiting national development plans. While, vice versa, prospects for sustainable development depend on a limitation of global warming. This interdependency can be seen as an opportunity to move away from the discourse of two different agendas that are often perceived to be in competition, and instead pursue their implementation in a way to maximize mutual benefits.

Several carbon offset standards such as the Gold Standard and the Verified Carbon Standard are adapting their frameworks and requirements to better define a carbon mitigation project’s impacts beyond carbon reductions, and in some cases, this may lead to the creation of other tradeable instruments in addition to carbon credits. ALLCOT assesses project alignment with the SDGs to conduct a thorough analysis of the data currently being monitored and verified at the project level, to determine whether there are additional metrics that can be tracked for SDG reporting purposes.

ALLCOT is seeing an evolution in the way our clients think about carbon finance and the additional impacts their carbon investments can have. Businesses are able to articulate the benefits of their carbon project investments beyond the verified emission reduction. We believe that businesses can use carbon finance to deliver additional value through alignment with the SDGs, enabling the carbon market to extend beyond emission reductions, and play a vital role in driving a low carbon sustainable development throughout the world.

Latin America and Caribbean Climate Week 2019 (LACCW)

Next week from August 19-23, ALLCOT  team will be present at the Latin America and Caribbean Climate Week 2019 (LACCW), an event to be held in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil.

“The LACCW will be the occasion to discuss challenges and opportunities for climate action from a Latin American and Caribbean perspective. It will offer the opportunity to key actors in the region from across sectors to convene, learn and exchange knowledge and best practices, to assess, jointly plan and create new climate action initiatives” UNFCCC

There, ALLCOT will host following side event:

Market-based approaches to take action and to raise ambition in LAC.
Tuesday August 20
13:30-14:25      
Room Goal 9 (SL50-T02)

Our Panelists:
Adriana Gutierrez, Consultant at Ministry of Environment of Colombia
Axel Michaelowa, Perspectives Climate Group
Lisa Lafferty, Climate Trust
Perumal Arumugam, UNFCCC

Tanguy de Bienassis, World Bank
Thiago de Araújo Mendes, Environmental Agency of the Federal District of Brazil (Brasília Ambiental)
Tomasz Chruszczow, High-Level Climate Champion for COP24 at Ministry of the Environment Poland

Moderator: Alexis Leroy

Our session will showcase successful practices of carbon pricing in LAC countries and discuss opportunities to extend initiatives to new jurisdictions by promoting countries efforts towards regional carbon markets and thereby accelerating the implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

Registration for the Latin America and Caribbean Climate Week 2019 is open here.

See you in Salvador.

Adaptation to climate change through the recycling of plastic bottles

According to recent studies, during the process of decomposition of the plastic, methane and ethylene emissions are produced, two greenhouse gases with a high global warming potential. That is, certain plastics are vulnerable to degradation processes caused by environmental factors such as light, heat, humidity, chemical oxidation and biological activity, which cause physical and chemical changes in the structure of the polymer. According to a recent study published in PLOS ONE (Royer SJ, Ferron S, Wilson ST, Karl DM (2018) Production of methane and ethylene from plastic in the environment PLoS ONE 13 https://doi.org /10.1371/journal.pone.0200574), polyethylene releases additives and other degradation products into the environment throughout its life and, once released, can be toxic and have adverse effects on the environment and human health. In addition, these emissions increase progressively over time.

 

Mitigation and adaptation to climate change

In recent years, numerous initiatives to reduce and recycle this type of waste are emerging. Increased recycling of plastic will help reduce dependence on fossil fuels and reduce CO2 emissions, in line with the climate change mitigation commitments of the Paris Agreement. But there are other innovative solutions, that are achieving the manufacture of different products from the recycling of plastics. Small companies that are capable of producing construction material using recycled plastic bottles as raw material. These building blocks have characteristics of lightness, durability and versatility that make them perfect for the reconstruction of areas affected by extreme events caused by climate change, thus contributing to the adaptation to climate change.

The insulating capacity of the material allows to the construction of adequate housing for those places where heat waves cause serious health problems, especially in the most vulnerable populations.

Water is the main agent of deterioration of porous materials such as stone and brick, and changes in humidity induced by climate change are a concern in the construction sector, which does not affect homes built with such recycled blocks. Its lightness also makes its transfer less expensive, less emission of greenhouse gases, and easy to take to areas devastated by extreme weather events such as floods, tsunamis or earthquakes. All these characteristics also facilitate the construction of temporary settlements during these phenomena.

In the long term, if such initiatives are sucessfully, the plastic value chain will be much more integrated, and the chemical industry will work closely with recyclers to help them, for example, by replacing substances that disturb recycling processes.

 

Improving the resilience of ecosystems

Recover plastic waste accumulated in rivers banks, beaches and any other ecosystem for manufacturing the recycled construction blocks, will increase the quality and quantity of species of flora and fauna, especially those that are threatened, thereby increasing biodiversity. The greater the number of species that live in an ecosystem, the more likely they are to survive, thus ensuring that their functionality is maintained and they are, therefore, more resilient to the effects of climate change.

The cleaning activities of river banks to obtain plastic wastes also contribute to a better recharge of local aquifers and therefore guarantee greater access to water. In addition, local incentives can be created that in some way encourage cleaning activities of this type of ecosystem.

 

Contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals

Initiatives of this type, implemented in developing countries, empowering local communities and focusing on women, have a clear contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals, 2030 Agenda. They use SDG 13 (Action for Climate) as vehicle for channeling the contribution to other SDGs such as Gender Equality (SDG 5), Poverty Reduction (SDG 1), Clean Water (SDG 6) or Decent work and economic growth (SDG 8), among others.

The world production of plastic has multiplied by 20 since the 60s, reaching 322 million tons in 2015, and is expected to exceed 600 million in 2030. Most of the plastic waste in the world ends in the sea. Greenpeace claims that plastic waste kills approximately 100,000 marine mammals every year, as well as millions of birds and fish. Therefore, we need more creative and innovative initiatives that are capable of combining mitigation and adaptation to climate change. We need additional efforts to decarbonize our economy while creating opportunities for sustainable growth.