This information is not new. We provided detailed feedback on the pre-publication version of this paper in a January 2023 Technical Review after it was covered by the media and have updated and expanded on this feedback in a new analysis (PDF). Our initial analysis of this version indicates that, despite some minor changes, the overall methodology, results, and conclusions are the same — and, therefore, the significant concerns we flagged earlier this year still hold.
One serious concern we have is about the study’s sample size. There are currently 93 REDD projects registered in the Verra Registry, and 124 more under development or in the process of registration. The authors drew conclusions based on just 24 of those. Extrapolating the study’s conclusions to all REDD projects and to the baseline methodologies they used is clearly unwarranted when only about one out of four have been examined.
As part of our unwavering commitment to continuous improvement, we always welcome insights from the scientific community and review them rigorously. Such engagement is vital, guiding our ongoing efforts to learn, improve, and further our mission to protect the precious climate-critical forests around the world. We acknowledge and appreciate the ambitions of Thales West and his team to enhance methodologies around forest protection initiatives — an ambition that we share.
While REDD projects have indeed achieved enormous impact to date, we recognize the areas for improvement in the current system and are committed to fostering that ongoing evolution. That’s why we’ve been actively working since 2020 on a new consolidated REDD methodology. This methodology, to be released later this year, directly addresses many of the concerns raised and builds upon our extensive, decades-long experience in forest-based climate solutions.