MILL VALLEY, Calif., Nov. 01 /CSRwire/ - Wildlife Works Carbon LLC announced today that effective Oct. 22, 2013 it has entered into an agreement to acquire Offsetters Climate Solutions Inc.’s 50 percent interest in Mai Ndombe, the Congo Basin’s first and largest forest conservation project that Reduces Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Prior to this agreement, Offsetters, through its subsidiary company ERA Ecosystem Restoration Associates Inc., and Wildlife Works were 50/50 joint venture partners in the Mai Ndombe REDD+ project.
Under the agreement, Wildlife Works will assume sole management of the project and the joint venture agreement will be terminated. Wildlife Works will own 100 percent of the Mai Ndombe REDD+ project in partnership with the government of the DRC and the local forest community. Local project manager Jean-Robert Bwangoy Bankanza will continue to manage the project under the new structure.
The 299,645 hectare Mai Ndombe REDD+ project, a former logging concession in the Bandundu Province, will avoid more than 175 million tons of CO2 emissions over the 30-year life of the project.
Mike Korchinsky, CEO of Wildlife Works, stated, “The Mai Ndombe REDD+ project demonstrates the transformational power of REDD+ to conserve a vital forest while providing unprecedented green development for its citizens. Success here advances a real opportunity to catalyze a massive scaling of REDD+ that can efficiently mitigate billions of tons of annual emissions.” Korchinsky further commented, “As we looked to expand our REDD+ portfolio, it made sense for us to consider this project first, as we are acutely involved in its development and management already. “
Since 2011 when the project was established, the local forest community of 50,000 Congolese villagers have been receiving direct benefits from the project in the form of jobs, schools, health clinics, improved food security through better agronomy and redevelopment of robust native fish stocks, and capacity building of local NGOs and Community Based Organizations, all financed through transparent and equitable sharing of the carbon revenues.
Dr. James Tansey, CEO of Offsetters commented, “The Mai Ndombe REDD+ project was the result of a tremendous amount of diligent work and effort by the talented people within our company and by our project partners at Wildlife Works. We are honored to have been part of the first REDD+ project in the Congo Basin, and in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and we believe Mai Ndombe has helped establish a new paradigm for conservation using carbon as a tool to protect forests from deforestation and degradation.” He further added, “With their exclusive focus on REDD, there is no doubt that Wildlife Works is the best organization to grow Mai Ndombe from a project level, to a regional level program that helps conserve and protect millions of hectares of the world's most valuable rainforests. We will continue to celebrate these future milestones and successes with our colleagues at Wildlife Works. As we pass the reigns to Mike and his team, we also pass on our sincere appreciation to our on-the-ground DRC team, the DRC Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism, and the communities of Mai Ndombe for their dedication in making Mai Ndombe REDD+ a reality.”
About the Mai Ndombe REDD+ Project
Mai Ndombe, the Congo Basin’s first and largest forest conservation project that Reduces Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) is located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The 299,645 hectare REDD+ project was a former logging concession in the Bandundu Province that will now avoid more than 175 million tons of CO2 emissions over the 30-year life of the project.
The project area is part of the Congo Basin, the world’s second largest intact rainforest after the Amazon. It is part of the Ngiri-Tumba-Mai Ndombe wetland, recognized under the Ramsar Convention as the largest wetland of international importance in the world. It is home to a wide array of biodiversity including highly endangered forest elephants and bonobo chimpanzees, which have been driven away in increasing numbers due to logging and poaching activities. It is expected that the wildlife populations will be restored now that the project area is on a conservation trajectory.
The Government of the DRC will receive a substantial portion of the project income to ensure that REDD+ represents a financially competitive alternative to logging Congo's rich forests. The local community of 50,000 people will also receive a substantial portion of the VER proceeds that go towards community elected projects such as school construction, agriculture intensification projects, mobile clinics and medical supplies. To date, more than fifty jobs have been created for local community members.
In 2012, the Mai Ndombe REDD+ project achieved verification and issuance of Verified Emission Reductions (VERs) under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), and received Gold Level status from the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance Standard (CCBA) for exceptional climate change adaptation and biodiversity benefits.
About Wildlife Works
Wildlife Works, headquartered in Mill Valley, CA, is the voluntary carbon market's leading REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) project development and management company. REDD+ is an essential climate change mitigation strategy originated by the United Nations, designed to help stop the destruction of the world's forests. Protecting threatened forests under the REDD+ mechanism empowers forest communities with alternatives to deforestation and viable means for sustainable development. Under rigorous environmental and social standards with third-party audits, Wildlife Works REDD+ projects generate Verified Emission Reductions (VERs), where each VER represents the avoidance of one ton of CO2 being released into the atmosphere. VERs are purchased by corporations who voluntarily elect to reduce their unavoidable emissions. Proceeds from Wildlife Works VER sales are reinvested in green economic development for the forest communities, thus removing the threat to the forest.
Wildlife Works REDD+ projects deliver unprecedented environmental and social benefits to seriously impoverished parts of Africa that are in desperate need of change. Additional information about Wildlife Works can be found on the corporate websitewww.wildlifeworks.com.
About Offsetters Climate Solutions Inc.
Offsetters is Canada’s largest and most diversified carbon management solutions company. Its team of industry leaders specializes in the origination, development and commercialization of high-quality carbon offset projects, and through a comprehensive offering of sustainability consultancy services Offsetters helps organizations understand, reduce and offset their climate impact. A merger of ERA Carbon Offsets and Offsetters, Offsetters is based in Vancouver, Canada and has worked with over 150 of some of the world’s most prestigious organizations including Aimia, Vancity, lululemon athletica, Catalyst Paper, Harbour Air, HSE - Entega, and Shell Canada Limited. Offsetters is publicly listed company on the Toronto Venture Exchange (TSX-V:COO) and in Frankfurt:9EA. For more information, please visit us at www.offsetters.ca.