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Tracking Terrestrial Carbon
One of Africa's largest REDD+ projects, the Kulera Landscape Reduced Emissions for Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) Program in Malawi, has officially made its first sale of carbon offsets to software giant Microsoft. These Verified Carbon Standard-certified offsets will go towards reducing Microsoft's net emissions while the revenue will help reduce deforestation in protected areas and finance home-building projects in rural Malawi.
The sale marks an important step in the project's transition from donor-backing to a results-based finance model. Initially financed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the project now is part of a broad value chain made up of foreign public donors, private buyers, local community associations and Malawi's Department of Parks and Wildlife. Together these groups protect three areas under significant risk of deforestation: Nyika National Park, Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve, and Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve.
The Microsoft sale brings more than money, however. The tech giant, which has implemented an internal carbon fee and has long been a fan and supporter of forestry projects, will also provide the project with its mobile phone technology
"These phones will help us achieve our goals of easing communication and will have an added benefit of reducing fuel costs by allowing us to share critical information with communities that are many kilometers away," said James Sadalaki, Chairman of the Nkhotakota Community Association.
The Kulera Program covers nearly half a million hectares, and improves the livelihood of more than 300,000 people in 800 villages across Malawi. The program is one of only three projects in the world to achieve triple gold recognition for its social, biodiversity and adaption benefits under the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard.
During its first four years of existence, Kulera has reduced emissions amounting to more than one million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e).
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—The Ecosystem Marketplace Team
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