Kenya project is first to issue REDD credits verified to a major global third-party standard

8 February 2011 – The very first verified greenhouse gas credits from a project that reduces deforestation (REDD) were issued under the VCS Program Monday, marking an important milestone for VCS and for reduced deforestation projects around the world.

The credits were issued to the Kasigau corridor REDD project – Phase I, developed by Wildlife Works in the Rukinga Sanctuary, an area of semi-arid tropical forest in Southeast Kenya. Wildlife Works developed a new methodology to calculate the GHG emissions curbed by project activities and had the methodology approved for use under the VCS Program.

“This is a watershed moment for REDD projects everywhere because it demonstrates they can attract private investment to this critical work,” said VCS CEO David Antonioli.
“These credits, which are the world’s very first REDD credits issued under a major thirdparty GHG program, will chart the course for the conservation of large swaths of forest.”

Reduced deforestation –or Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) – is among the most cost-effective ways to curb the manmade GHG emissions linked to climate change. REDD was not included in U.N. climate negotiations until it received high-level endorsement last December, but it may in future play an important role under officially sanctioned mechanisms like the U.N. Clean Development Mechanism, whose credits can be used to meet emissions targets in the European Union.

The Wildlife Works credits are the first REDD credits verified to a major third-party standard like the VCS – which is one of the most widely used carbon accounting standards among projects issuing credits in the voluntary carbon market. The voluntary market allows businesses and consumers to engage in carbon-curbing activities and generate credits that can be bought and sold, even if they are not yet formally recognized under regulations.

“This project is proof positive that REDD projects can engage communities in changing the economic incentives that drive deforestation,” said Antonioli. “Coupled with the ability to measure emissions reductions accurately and generate verified credits, this is exactly what is needed to attract private investment for forest protection.”

Projects using VCS criteria must ensure that GHG credits are real, measurable, permanent, conservatively estimated, uniquely numbered, and additional to what would have happened without the project activities. VCS rules also stipulate that a percentage of credits from all Agriculture, Forestry and Land-Use projects, including REDD projects, must be deposited in a special pooled buffer account to insure against the potential loss of credits across all projects in the VCS AFOLU portfolio.

The Kasigau corridor REDD project generated approximately 1.45 million credits, each representing one ton of GHG emissions removed from the atmosphere, for its first six-year monitoring period. It is estimated to reduce over 6 million metric tons of emissions over its 30-year project life.

About 20 percent of the initial credits, representing almost 300,000 tons of emissions, were deposited to the VCS pooled buffer account. Nearly 1.2 million credits were issued as Voluntary Carbon Units (VCUs) to the project’s account within the VCS registry system. All project documents can be found on the project page in the VCS project database.