This morning the LEAF coalition (Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest Finance), a public-private consortium, announced commitments to purchase a minimum of $1 billion of carbon credits from an initial set of tropical forest countries and subnational jurisdictions, contingent on verification of commensurate deforestation reductions in those places during the five-year period from 2022-26. At a floor price of $10/ton CO2, this amounts to purchasing a futures contract for delivery of 100 million tons of reduced CO2 emissions.

See the announcement HERE.

This announcement marks a big step forward for results-based payments for reducing deforestation, and a strong vote of confidence, by governments and businesses, in the integrity of carbon markets for emission reduction credits.

WCS President and CEO Cristian Samper said:

“WCS congratulates the LEAF coalition members and all of the tropical forest countries and subnational jurisdictions participating in this important process. We hope this $1 billion will rapidly grow by 10-100x, clearly signaling strong demand and attractive incentives for tropical forest governments to deliver high-quality, large-scale reductions in emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+), to help avert both climate and biodiversity crises.”

LEAF requires compliance with the TREES 2.0 methodology developed by the Architecture for REDD+ Transactions (ART), a third-party standard. Prior to its recent finalization, TREES 2.0 was subject to a robust public consultation process that included substantive inputs from WCS and the Forest For Life Partnership, as well as other civil society organizations, governments, and businesses.

LEAF also requires that its corporate members adopt science-based mitigation targets and publish their company greenhouse gas inventory in accordance with the independent Greenhouse Gas Protocol. The intent of these “demand-side” requirements is to ensure that the purchase of emission reduction credits is an addition to, rather than a substitute for, the hard work of decarbonization that all businesses need to do.

Said Dan Zarin, WCS Executive Director for Forests and Climate Change, and an ART Board Member:

“Fifteen years after the UNFCCC fully embraced REDD+, the LEAF Coalition provides  a large-scale demonstration of public finance leveraging private investment in reducing deforestation that is fully consistent with UNFCCC CoP decisions. High-quality demand for, and supply of, forest emission reduction credits must grow exponentially this decade.  At the same time, we need to ramp up the availability of technical assistance and capacity-building resources for tropical forest country and subnational governments that want to participate. And we need investment in eliminating barriers to full participation by indigenous peoples and local communities, upon whom the success of program implementation will ultimately depend.”