While the community benefits of voluntary carbon projects are often referred to as “co-benefits”, in the case of REDD+, community interventions are in fact the means by which deforestation is reduced and emissions reductions are generated.
High-quality REDD+ developers recognize that Indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) are the most knowledgeable and experienced stewards of nature. High-impact REDD+ projects partner fairly and transparently with IPLCs and invest the majority of the financial resources generated by the sale of VERs for the benefit of all forest stakeholders.
Though conditions vary in every landscape and community, the high-impact projects supported by Everland focus resources and activities into four foundational pillars of community impact: (1) improving access to healthcare and clean water in local communities, (2) creating prosperity in local communities in local communities through job creation, capacity building, and enterprise development; (3) improving education in local communities; and (4) improving the socioeconomic outcomes for women in local communities. At the same time, projects work to strengthen governance of the forest itself, by direct community benefit sharing and efforts to secure land tenure rights. These community and governance impact pillars are the pathways through which REDD+ efforts generate durable positive outcomes for wildlife and climate.
Over time, as the dividends from effective conservation translate to meaningful community impacts and sustainable financing for governments, forest conservation can become more valuable to communities than forest conversion. Over the multi-decadal horizon of a REDD+ project, we believe these investments in community impacts can help systematically change the relationship between people and the forest.
Community-based, wildlife-centric voluntary REDD+ projects, supported by private sector market finance, have already delivered approximately 400 million tons of emissions reductions over the past decade by directly addressing the drivers of deforestation in highly threatened forest landscapes. Voluntary REDD+ projects have also helped provide healthcare to over 600,000 people, improve educational access to nearly 50,000 children, offer alternative livelihood opportunities to over 300,000 people and empower over 160,000 women and girls. These results have been verified through repeated independent third-party audits, based on science-based standards developed through open multi-stakeholder processes.