Envirotrade has developed a business model based on biosequestration and Payments for Environmental Services (PES) – the sale of carbon offsets to businesses and individuals to support the conservation and management of existing forests and the planting of new ones. Biosequestration is just one component of the Envirotrade Carbon Livelihoods model. It is not a substitute for resolute international action to address the central issues associated with human-induced climate change. It is however a way in which concerned corporations and individuals can link up with forest farmers in developing countries to change the way in which we use natural resources and impact on our environment.
The revival of agroforestry among impoverished, malnourished communities is giving thousands of families an income and a regular food supply. And by generating crops that enrich rather than exhaust the fragile forest soils, it is giving a new lease of life to endangered plant and animal species. Envirotrade’s unique approach addresses poverty alleviation, sustainable development and biodiversity conservation, while also tackling carbon emissions in conservation areas recovering from protracted conflict. It is a new way of doing business which offers a new way of life for individuals, forest communities, and the natural environment.
Our business model has been developed from the worldwide trade in carbon offsets pioneered by the Kyoto treaty on climate change. Local farmers and forest communities, who have been largely excluded from the complex mechanisms developed to deal with climate change, manage the planting and growth of trees in return for proceeds from the sale of CO2 offsets to customers in the developed world. Individuals and companies effectively invest in new forests and agroforestry that will absorb the carbon dioxide generated by their business activities through a voluntary mechanism or partnership. We also work with forest farmers to change the way their land is used and help them to boost their crop yields by the cultivation of nitrogen-fixing trees and plants, which enrich the soil and slow down deforestation.
By becoming custodians of forests and trained crop farmers, local people make a significant commitment to their environment. In return, they secure the regular income and stable, sustainable food supply they need to survive. The money they earn from CO2 offset sales allows them to make the switch from ‘slash-and-burn’ agriculture to sustainable food production. And with every new tree they plant they are helping to make the earth’s air cleaner for the rest of us.
The Envirotrade business model offers a unique approach to poverty alleviation by building sustainable livelihoods rather than fostering dependence. Among our customers who have entered into this unique partnership with forest communities are the Creative Artists Agency Foundation in Hollywood, The MAN Group, the IIED, U&W ZeroMission, Arla Foods, Max Hamburgers, and The Carbon Neutral Company. In Mozambique the original project in Gorongosa has been expanded to the Zambezi Delta Complex and the Quirimbas National Park. New projects are being developed in other sub-Saharan countries as well.
It sounds too good to be true: a way of tackling not one but several threats to mankind at once. The money that communities in Mozambique earn from CO2 offset sales through our Carbon Livelihoods Programme, allows them to make the switch from ‘slash-and-burn’ agriculture to sustainable food production.