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New Women-Led Climate Fund to Save Vast Tropical Forests

Impact investment advisor AlphaSource announced today that they have teamed up with conservation NGO the Rainforest Alliance; wildlife and forest protection experts Wildlife Works; and the newly-formed environmental product marketing company Everland; in an ambitious plan to protect vast tracts of critically endangered forests across the globe.

The consortium aims to develop and fund comprehensive landscape protection programs aligning incentives that benefit smallholders, communities, government, businesses, and consumers as envisioned by the UN climate change mitigation mechanism known as REDD+, an acronym for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation.

The sustainable landscape protection programs will operate through a market-driven plan to provide buyers with certified sustainable supply chain goods. Buyers will be assured that forests and their surrounding areas are protected and that goods are produced in a sustainable and climate-smart manner. “We hope this will serve as a new model for large-scale conservation, where the production of goods is achieved in a way that is in harmony with nature, and where responsible commerce becomes the normal way of doing business,” said Gerald Prolman, President of Everland.

Priority areas include Indonesia, the Congo Basin, the Guinean Forest, and Amazonia. Both the Rainforest Alliance and Wildlife Works have decades of experience developing market based solutions for landscape conservation, and where national and sub-national REDD+ programs are being developed.

AlphaSource is contributing its impact investment expertise to raise $250 million for the new AlphaSource Climate Fund, the world’s first women-led climate change impact fund. The AlphaSource Climate Fund will provide global impact investors with a compelling vehicle to participate in forest conservation at scale. “We’re addressing the need for scalable and diversified opportunities for institutional capital to combat climate change without sacrificing returns,” said Noelle-Claire LeCann, President of AlphaSource Advisors. 

Programs will build on the Rainforest Alliance’s network of 1.4 million farmers who are already trained in sustainable land management across 45.9 million hectares of farms and forestlands in 74 countries. This network of highly-trained farmers deliver commodities to the global marketplace, including to more than 4,000 companies that source their commodities from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms, and use the Rainforest Alliance’s globally recognized tree-frog logo.

“The partnership will help catalyze finance to incentivize smallholder farmers and communities to implement sustainable land management practices,” said Nigel Sizer, President of the Rainforest Alliance. “They will act as forests’ best line of defense while supplying end-consumers with sustainable and climate-smart products.”

Wildlife Works brings technical expertise in large scale REDD+, as well as expertise in landscape interventions that reduce pressure on forests, as ultimately the measure of the alliance’s success will be how many hectares of forest are saved and how many tonnes of emissions avoided. “The success of these programs will be highly dependent on our ability to link the performance incentives emerging at national and sub-national levels to concrete performance rewards for the communities within these critical landscapes,” said Mike Korchinsky, President of Wildlife Works. “We must maximize the value that forest communities can earn from forest conservation in these landscapes to reverse decades of economically motivated forest destruction.”

Everland will market the verified emission reduction units (VERs) generated by the programs to companies who are seeking to offset their unavoidable emissions and achieve corporate social responsibility goals. VER sales are expected to enhance the income of hundreds of thousands of smallholder famers as well as bring significant benefits to the local communities, which is a key part of the strategy to minimize pressure on the forests.

Burning Peruvian forest - photo by Mohsin Kazmi

Forests are falling at an alarming rate.

Each minute, 85 acres are destroyed.