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“Eight Musts” of the ideal REDD+ Project

REDD+ project are definitely special among climate change mitigation project and even within the forestry sector. They have enormous social and environmental co-benefits, they are charismatic and appeal to the desire of everybody since who doesn’t want tosave the rainforests?

1. VCS + CCB Gold

Both Standards are fundamental and complementary. VCS guarantees the transparency and accuracy of carbon accounting and CCB guarantees positive social and environmental benefits. The Gold Level Award is an additional guarantee of the exceptional social and environmental co-benefits of the project. The achievement of these two standards is already a requirement of the carbon markets. Madre de Dios Amazon REDD Project has achieved VCS + CCB Gold certification.

2. Tagging VCUs 

The CCB Label is a key foundational tool of both VCS and CCB. It can only be obtained when you comply simultaneously with this 4 achievements: VCS Validation, VCS Verification, CCB Validation and CCB Verification. The Label enables the demonstration of multiple benefits in community participation and biodiversity conservation. Madre de Dios Amazon REDD Project has achieved the 4 requirements and therefore its VCUs can be tagged with the CCB Label.

3. VCS Risk

VCS takes very seriously the risk of REDD+ projects. The VCS risk acts measuring the risk of the different projects, in the same way as risk rating agencies qualify companies. VCS allows a 10% to 60% risk as acceptable, but the lower the risk the higher the guarantee of long term permanence of the project. In fact, a lower than the 10% minimum VCS risk is extremely valued. Madre de Dios Amazon REDD Project has a 6% VCS Risk.

4. VCS Uncertainty

The uncertainty of a project measures the accuracy and quality of the carbon accounting and the rest of the information. This aspect is also a reflex of the quality of the project and its permanence in the long term. VCS considers an uncertainty below 15% as non significant and it is definitely a plus in quality to have the lowest possible uncertainty. Madre de Dios Amazon REDD Project has a 6,24% VCS Uncertainty.

5. History of Verification

A long history of verification denotes a project that is constantly being audited and is consistently demonstrating that it complies with all the Standards requirements. Madre de Dios Amazon REDD Project has already verified five consecutive vintages both according to the VCS and CCB Standards. Having recently received the VCS and CCB verification in 2016 is the maximum guarantee that the project is currently in compliance with its carbon accounting and is undoubtedly benefiting the environment and indigenous communities.

6. Additionality

Additionality is evaluated both by the VCS and CCB Standards. But, it is essential for the additionality of a project to be unquestionable to the public and the scientific community. Madre de Dios Amazon REDD Project additionality is unquestionable since the construction of the interoceanic road that traverses its until now untouched rainforest is a very clear case of additionality, due to the deforestation that the consequent immigration causes.

7. Land tenure

The perfect land tenure combination that guarantees the maximum quality of a REDD+ Project in time consists of an association between private companies and public institutions. Private companies guarantee efficiency in execution and the public component guarantees transparency, additional control and permanence. Without doubt, the best combination is that of the Government having the tenure of the land and rainforest together with a private company executing the project for an extended time. When land tenure depends only of the Government, projects are dependant of the changes of mind of the different politicians. When land tenure is only in private hands, the future of the rainforest is dependent on its maximum profit, which generally does not coincide with conservation. Madre de Dios Amazon REDD Project has been given in concession to private companies for at least 80 years, but the tenure of the land and the rainforest is in the hands of the Peruvian Government, which annually audits the conservation of the rainforest.

8. Carbon credits revenue

The generation of income from the sale of carbon credits means projects are able to implement its social and biodiversity programs guaranteeing their well management and permanence in time. This revenue represents means an additional guarantee for the new buyers and fundamentally for the conservation of the rainforest. Madre de Dios Amazon REDD Project has already sold more than 2 million VCUs since its conception. And we still have much to improve and lots of work ahead.