• Non-ICIMOD publication

Challenges for a business: Case for high-biodiversity REDD projects and schemes

This report explores whether there is a business case for high-biodiversity REDD projects and schemes and how such a business case could be created or promoted. It was commissioned by the Secretariat of the CBD as part of its efforts to support Parties efforts to address reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries.

From the analysis, it is clear that significant potential exists to link the biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation agendas with current and forthcoming REDD markets and schemes. However, the current business case seems often limited to niche markets and voluntary initiatives.The report however, discusses a range of approaches given below, which could be developed to create a business case for high-biodiversity REDD.

  • Voluntary markets do provide a strong commercial incentive to invest in and buy credits from projects with specific biodiversity and social benefit. This is because of the reputational and CSR benefits for corporate buyers that are associated with being perceived as promoting biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. Voluntary markets are however of relatively small size;
  • Minimum standards or safeguards could be integrated in an international REDD agreement to limit eligible activities at least to those that prevent negative biodiversity impacts. This could be coupled with reporting and monitoring requirements, and voluntary national-level biodiversity quality standards;
  • Non-carbon benefits of forest conservation could be rewarded through broader payment for ecosystem service (PES) schemes;
  • Developed countries could adopt ambitious emission targets to create strong demand for carbon credits and at the same time allow the use of REDD credits towards meeting these targets;
  • Host countries need to acquire the capacity and create the governance framework to both implement national-level REDD policies and to enable and to promote sub-national and non-governmental REDD activities. This includes reducing corruption and inefficiencies in the forestry and land-use sectors and creating the institutional capacity to create effective incentives on the ground.
The report concludes that fundamentally, creating a strong business case for REDD will be the best and most certain way of creating a business case for high-biodiversity REDD.

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