Given the enormous carbon sequestration capacity of forest and marine ecosystems, the goal of the foundation is to find ways to effectively promote internationally significant climate and biodiversity conservation measures that highlight local communities as protectors of ecosystems.
Although our planet’s forest and marine ecosystems capture vast amounts of CO2, there are intense commercial pressures to exploit these areas which is driving their destruction with terrifying speed. Carbon dioxide is being released into the atmosphere from these areas as a result of grazing, logging, forest fires, coastal construction projects, industrial fishing and many other forms of use.
The conservation of forest and marine ecosystems is of particular importance for emissions cutting efforts, and these ecosystems also play a key role in the prevention of biodiversity loss. At present, the voluntary carbon market (VCM) promotes the conservation of these areas. This happens as organizations can offset their emissions by purchasing carbon credits issued by certified climate action projects. There are major challenges with VCM, however, such as the uncertainty surrounding a project’s additionality, i.e., whether or not the project reduces emissions below those that would have occurred in a business-as-usual scenario. Similarly, if the costs involved in carbon capture credits are low compared to those of reducing emissions, the enthusiasm of companies to implement actual emissions cutting strategies may be undermined.
A further challenge is the stability of sequestered carbon, which needs to remain sequestered for several hundred years. We should also raise the question of whether state sponsored or monitored systems for the financing of conservation should be established to replace or supplement the voluntary markets. Conservation projects are not currently allocating funds to areas that are not directly threatened, despite their importance for the purposes of carbon sequestration and conservation of biodiversity.
In order to promote carbon sequestration and the conservation of natural biodiversity, the foundation will support scalable forest and marine conservation projects. Projects likely to receive support are those that promote tangible conservation efforts, and develop and promote the frameworks, mechanisms and projects needed to reduce the pressure to exploit conservation areas. The focus of financing also aims to ensure that the projects can mutually support each other. At the project implementation stage, the traditional local community must be secured the use of the conservation area’s resources in ways that do not jeopardize the ecosystem.
General goals of the foundation in this focus area
- To promote tangible conservation projects which are supported by local communities and create a solid link between local and international efforts.
- To create and promote international discussion on regional and international mechanisms used to support and maintain climate, biodiversity and local community conservation efforts.
- To contribute to projects that support the establishment, supervision and management of conservation areas and enable new ways of using ecosystems outside these areas.