Unprecedented private sector finance deal to generate over $2bn to protect threatened forests, wildlife, and improve community livelihoods

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  • Hartree Partners, Vertree founding partner,  and Wildlife Works sign landmark voluntary carbon market deal
  • Over 20 new high-impact projects will be implemented in collaboration with forest communities to protect threatened landscapes in Africa, Asia, and Latin America
  • Project portfolio to generate 20 million tonnes of Verified Emission Reductions (VERs) each year for the 30-year life of the projects

Hartree Partners and Wildlife Works announce a ground-breaking deal that will generate over $2bn of private sector investment to enable communities to protect biodiversity and forests at risk from deforestation.

13 million hectares of tropical forest, an area the size of Greece, is currently lost to deforestation every year. But, to keep the increase in global temperature below 1.5 degrees in line with the Paris Agreement, more than three quarters of deforestation must be stopped by 2030. Thousands of companies are addressing the climate emergency and, with voluntary carbon markets playing an increasingly prominent role, the demand for Verified Emissions Reductions (VERs) is forecast to outstrip supply.

Hartree Partners, a leading global energy and commodities trading company, and Wildlife Works, an innovative global conservation company, will help meet this surging demand by partnering to invest, develop, manage and market one of the world’s largest portfolios of avoided deforestation projects. Hartree’s investment is effective immediately, with the projects expected to begin delivering VERs by 2023.

The deal, which will increase the availability of high-quality, verified, avoided deforestation projects by approximately 40%, will reduce emissions from deforestation by 20 million tonnes each year and 600 million tonnes over the 30-year life of the projects – equivalent to taking 4.3 million cars off the road.

The partnership will develop more than 20 high-impact projects in collaboration with local communities to improve livelihoods while preserving and protecting forests and wildlife.

The ground-breaking deal was facilitated by Everland, the exclusive marketing partner of Wildlife Works. The portfolio will be marketed by Everland and Vertree.

 

Ariel Perez, Partner at Hartree Partners, said:

“The scientific community agrees that the world cannot keep the increase in global temperature below 1.5 degrees without significant support from global businesses. Hartree Partners is proud to be providing substantial long-term investment in nature-based solutions through this partnership.

“We’re delighted to be working with such experienced partners as Wildlife Works to ensure that these projects reduce emissions, protect highly threatened species, and enhance the wellbeing of thousands of people in these forest communities who hold the key to stopping deforestation.”

Mike Korchinsky, Founder and CEO of Wildlife Works, said:

“While those in the Global North continue to debate what they want from climate action, our partners in the Global South urgently need just and effective solutions now.

“With Hartree Partners’ financial backing and carbon market expertise, we can implement our just and inclusive climate, community, and biodiversity solutions in many more forest communities where they’re desperately needed.”

 

Wildlife Works’ proven approach addresses the drivers of deforestation in last-chance ecosystems while rewarding communities for protecting forests and biodiversity.

The portfolio of projects announced today will meet global best practice standards for nested projects under VERRA, including: the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS); the Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) standard at the gold level; and the SD Vista standard to verify project contributions to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and can make a significant contribution to host country Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) under the Paris Agreement.

 

Gerald Prolman, CEO of Everland, said:

“Hartree’s financial commitment to Wildlife Works will help give forest governments, landowners, and communities long-term financial confidence as they consider valuing their standing forests under REDD+. The VERs will be offered to businesses as an essential tool they can use as part of their transition plan towards a low-carbon future.

“It is our hope that this partnership’s bold commitment to rapidly scale REDD+ projects will inspire more private sector action at the critical speed and magnitude that is so desperately needed.”

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Hartree Partners and SYSTEMIQ launch Vertree to accelerate investment in global carbon markets

Sustainability experts SYSTEMIQ and global energy and commodities firm Hartree Partners today announce the launch of Vertree Partners Limited, trading…

Sustainability experts SYSTEMIQ and global energy and commodities firm Hartree Partners today announce the launch of Vertree Partners Limited, trading as Vertree, a joint venture that enables organisations to accelerate and deliver ambitious climate commitments through nature-based solutions.

The launch follows news that corporate carbon-neutral pledges led to a record Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM) transaction volume in 2020, growing 6% year-on-year. According to the Taskforce for Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets, the global VCM could reach between US $30bn and US $50bn in size by 2030.

Nature-based solutions are a crucial part of Voluntary Carbon Markets, harnessing the power of the planet’s natural resources to address the dual climate and biodiversity crises. Done well, nature-based solutions protect and restore vital habitats to increase biodiversity at the same time as reducing atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions by avoiding or removing them.

Land-use change ranks second only to the burning of fossil fuels as the biggest source of emissions that contribute to climate change. But investing in tropical rainforests to sequester and store carbon can have a significant beneficial climate impact; according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, ‘‘reducing deforestation and forest degradation rates represents one of the most effective and robust options for climate change mitigation”.

Ariel Perez, Vertree’s Managing Director, said: “It is no longer sufficient to slow the rate of emissions the world produces; we also need to begin removing CO2 that already exists. Although the priority should be to abate emissions wherever possible, the range of technological solutions available today varies greatly, and achieving net zero will require some degree of carbon reductions and removals. Nature-based solutions are among the most scalable and effective ways to reduce emissions, protect and restore biodiversity, and to support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals”.

However, the current supply of high-integrity nature-based solutions is insufficient to meet the commitments already made by a number of large organisations. McKinsey estimates that annual global demand for carbon offsets could reach between 1.5 to 2.0 gigatons of carbon dioxide (GtCO2) by 2030 and between 7 to 13 GtCO2 by 2050. According to their research, “the development of projects would have to ramp up at an unprecedented rate” to meet that demand, with issues such as a lack of financing leading to constrained supply.

“We are committed to catalysing significantly more long-term investment in nature-based solutions”, Perez continues, “but this must be done in a way that genuinely addresses global emissions while improving the livelihoods of local communities. Vertree’s expertise in carbon markets, along with over a decade of on-the-ground forest and landscape project experience that is embedded in the joint venture, enables us to adopt this long-term perspective.”

Vertree will further address concerns around the integrity of carbon offsets with market-leading insights and due diligence of both the projects it supports and the organisations it works with. All Vertree projects are verified and audited by third parties, including the Verified Carbon Standard; Architecture for REDD+ Transactions; Gold Standard; and Climate, Community, and Biodiversity Standard. Vertree will also use the Core Carbon Principles set out by the Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets, which assess impacts on the climate, biodiversity, and local communities.

Taraneh Azad, SYSTEMIQ’s Partner and COO, said: “We created Vertree to provide nature-based solutions that the world can trust, with the highest possible standards of environmental and social integrity. Our ambition is to enable Vertree clients to trace funding all the way back to the forests and local communities that they’re investing in, ensuring Vertree projects are both transparent and impactful.”

Ahead of the UK’s Presidency of COP26 in November, the scaling and operation of Voluntary Carbon Markets has become a focus for policy makers and investors. The Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets, led by Mark Carney, released its final report in January 2021, and the Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative began consulting on guidance in March.

 

 

 

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