Three Months Into Partnership, SOCIALCARBON And VCS Verify First Joint Project

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By Ben McCarthy

29 August 2014 | Only three months after announcing their partnership, SOCIALCARBON, a certification standard for contributions to sustainable development, and the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), a leading voluntary offset standard, have verified their first joint project.

The Ecomapuá Amazon REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation or Degradation of forests) project, developed by ecosystem investment company Bio Assets Ativos Ambientais and forest carbon project developer Ecomapuá Conservação Ltda, is located in the State of Pará, Brazil, on the Marajó Island at the mouth of the Amazon River. The project's goal is to avoid the deforestation of more than 86,000 hectares of tropical forest in an area that has historically converted to agriculture as subsistence farmers move in. In the first VCS monitoring period, from 2003 to 2012, the project avoided 3,350 hectares of deforestation, resulting in over 1.5 million avoided tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions (tCO2e).

This first–of-its-kind certified project utilizes VCS to verify the emission reductions and SOCIALCARBON to certify the added environmental, social and economic benefits. Ecomapuá consulted with the surrounding community during the planning phases and the project provides several benefits to locals. The company has proposed scholarships for local students to attend the State University of Pará, provided building materials for a new tree nursery and raised awareness of forest conservation among the community.

Projects such as Ecomapuá Amazon have a role to play in helping Brazil shed its image as a top deforester. Between 2007 and 2013, Brazil successfully avoided deforestation of 6.2 million hectares. The country has set a target to cut deforestation rates by 80% from 2008 to 2020. How is it doing so far? According to Brazil's National Institute of Space Research, 2013 saw a 45% decline in deforestation to 584,300 hectares from the 2008 baseline of nearly 1.3 million hectares.

Originally published in the Voluntary Carbon newsletter