Attracting Investment to REDD+: Capitalizing on Co-benefits?
REDD+ has undergone various modifications to its scope and approach in the succeeding nine years, but little has yet come from subsequent UN climate negotiations in the way of creating an obligatory financing mechanism that would require participation from actors in developed countries. Today, dozens of preliminary REDD+ projects are operational across the world, but these projects receive strictly voluntary funding from a suite of public and private actors, including national governments and companies engaged in social responsibility practices. Despite some successes in this voluntary realm and promises of REDD+ advancement at recent negotiations, it has become clear that without assured funding – and pending an international financing mechanism for REDD+ – projects face an increasingly difficult environment for attaining capital resources. Scaling up the mechanism will be virtually impossible without addressing the imbalance between supply and demand for REDD+ credits in the voluntary stage.
Code REDD, a San Francisco-based non-governmental organization whose mission is to support and scale the REDD+ mechanism, is attempting to discover whether untapped opportunities exist for sustaining REDD+ before the commencement of an international financing scheme, specifically by capitalizing on the co-benefits of REDD+ projects: the social and environmental outcomes that inherently accompany responsibly designed carbon offset projects. This question of the potential for co-benefit quantification and sale as a means to sustain REDD+ in the voluntary phase was the foundation of the research we undertook here. We aimed to determine how REDD+ stakeholders envisioned the role of co-benefits within the financing of REDD+, and if further efforts to quantify and sell them could bear meaningful results for the future of the mechanism.