Dutch Green Business Group N.V. (“DGB” or “the Group”) (Euronext: DGB), a leading reforestation and carbon offsetting company, is pleased to announce that to coincide with the COP26 event it is planting 6 million trees in Cameroon and Kenya over the next three years.
DGB has signed Cooperation Agreements with Green Zone Cameroon and the Applied Institute of Agriculture and Technology (“AIAT”), Kenya in respect of the projects, and the first trees will be planted in April 2022. DGB, Green Zone Cameroon and AIAT have agreed to partner on two 30-year forest carbon offset projects to sequester emissions and to protect critical primary forest financed through the generation of high-integrity carbon credits known as Verified Carbon Units (“VCUs”).
The projects have passed the feasibility phase and are now entering the project design phase, where the activities are structured and made ready for verification. This process can take 12-18 months and no financial details of the projects have been disclosed.
DGB expects to generate over 13 million VCUs from the combined projects over a 30 year period, starting in 2023. As announced in its outlook on July 5th, DGB expected to expand its carbon offsets project pipeline by over 6 million tonnes in H2 2021. With the launch of three new large-scale projects its current project pipeline is now over 13 million offsets.
The teams working on both projects have a strong track record in designing forest carbon offset projects under the leading carbon standard, known as the Verified Carbon Standard (“VCS”) and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard (“CCBS”). The team has a wealth of experience and consists of skilled carbon market traders and VCS-CCBS forest carbon experts, as well as local agro engineers and other forestry professionals.
The projects will engage over 20,000 farmers in both countries and create employment opportunities for thousands of people in local communities. Much of the planting will be of fruit trees which will also have direct economic benefit to local farmers who will be able to sell produce.
The projects will also see the manufacture and distribution of 300,000 energy-efficient cookstoves in communities where the tree planting takes place. The cookstoves will reduce by more than half the use of charcoal and wood as the primary energy source in these local communities. The manufacturing and distribution of cookstoves will be designed as a standalone carbon offsetting project under the Gold Standard methodology ‘’Technologies and Practices to Displace Decentralized Thermal Energy Consumption’’.
Commenting on the news, Theodore Oben, Founder & Managing Director of Green Zone Investments, said: “We are excited to partner with DGB on its bold ambitions in Cameroon which we know from first hand experience will have a beneficial impact on the ground. We and DGB look forward to playing a key role in the global drive towards habitat restoration to safeguard the future of biodiverse ecosystems and mitigate climate concerns.”
The project will have several locations in counties (see below) that span central Kenya. However, most of the trees will be planted in government protected forests that were previously deforested during the 1980s and 1990s. In each case, the project will extend to the communities living below the forested areas, where fruit and nut trees will be planted along with a small percentage interspersed with crops such as tea and coffee. This investment in what is a sustainable forest management process will also help conserve water in one of Kenya’s key catchment areas.
In Nyeri county, two blocks covering a total area of 3,472 hectares will be replanted with indigenous trees. Members of local villages will plant, care for and conduct monitoring activities relating to the planted trees. They will also coordinate planting of trees in households, obtaining legal agreements to ensure conservation of the trees throughout the project period. Trees planted in the homesteads will consist of fruit and nut trees, such as avocado and macadamia, alongside selected tree species that intercrop well with tea, coffee and horticultural activities.
In Kirinyaga county, the project covers an area inside the Mount Kenya Forest Reserve. A recent assessment (Nature Kenya, 2019) estimated Mt Kenya’s forest cover at 80,962 hectares, which has declined 21% in less than 10 years. As with the project in Nyeri county this area will primarily consist of replanting the deforested areas with indigenous trees.
In Murang’a and Nyandarua counties, which span the Aberdare Range (a 160 km long mountain range of upland, north of Kenya's capital Nairobi with an average elevation of 3,500 metres) the project will oversee the planting of indigenous tree species including Podo and Meru Oak. Logging and deforestation activities have left large areas of the forest depleted in this area. Below the forest, the project will extend the planting into communities living there to involve them in meaningful economic empowerment, use of energy efficient wood cookstoves and planting of woodlots that will generate carbon credits.
The project will have multiple locations, however, most of the trees will be planted in three villages in the Yoko Sub Division in the Centre Region of Cameroon spanning an area of 2,300 – 3,000 hectares. Approximately 40% of Cameroon is covered by forest, however, deforestation has had a major impact in recent decades due to farming, logging and settlement expansion. Between 2001-2020, Cameroon lost 1.5 million hectares of tree cover, equivalent to a 4.9% decrease, and 903 million tons of CO2e emissions. The Centre Region of Cameroon, where most of the project sites are located, accounted for over half of the trees lost during this period.
Of the trees expected to be planted by the project, 80% will be fruit and nut trees, including avocado, mango, orange, apple, macadamia and cashew. Around 10% will be indigenous tree species and 10% will be non-invasive plants such as Indian Bamboo. The project also aims to protect biodiversity as it is located close to the important Mpem et Djim National Park of Cameroon.
Long-term offtake agreements
DGB is currently co-developing nine carbon or biodiversity offset projects around the world aimed to prevent deforestation, restore ecosystems and protect nature in order to create a greener, more biodiverse and resilient world while generating carbon offsets for businesses and individuals.
DGB is focused on scaling its business, by entering into long-term offtake agreements for offsets to be verified in 2022 and onwards. This is an important part of its strategy.
A long-term offtake agreement is a legal contract in which a buyer agrees to purchase a set amount of carbon offsets at set price points several years into the future. Long-term offtake agreements provide DGB with predictability as to how many carbon offsets intend to be sold and the revenue generated by a project in the future. This helps seed confidence in forest carbon projects, de-risking capital investments of the Group.
Long-term offtake agreements are also beneficial to carbon offset buyers. They provide access to high-quality, verifiable offsets at a reasonable price, in an environment where cost is likely to rise as demand outstrips supply. They assist in long-term planning and strategy formulation for companies, providing a definite picture of costs associated with their net zero targets.
Long-term offtake agreements create a space for real, innovative partnerships between companies and project developers that would never exist otherwise in year-by-year purchases on the spot market.
As announced on October 8th, during Q3 DGB has entered into its first binding carbon offsets offtake agreements pursuant to which DGB committed to offset carbon emissions for various business customers. DGB has initiated sales conversations with carbon brokers for long-term offtake agreements and is expanding its distribution network further during this quarter, as well as selling directly to consumers.
Commenting on the news, Selwyn Duijvestijn, Chief Executive of DGB Group, said: “With the world’s attention focused on the words of decision makers at COP, we are delighted to make actual progress with our tree planting initiatives on the ground in Cameroon and Kenya. These projects will make a real, tangible difference not just to local communities but also to the purchasers of the related carbon and biodiversity offsets. Moreover, these projects mark a major step forward as we look to expand our project pipeline.”
DGB GROUP NV
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Dutch Green Business Group N.V. is a public company traded on the main Dutch stock exchange Euronext Amsterdam under the ticker symbol AEX:DGB and ISIN-code NL0009169515. DGB’s strategy is to participate in large forest carbon offset projects around the world that deliver commercial and environmental benefits. DGB’s vision is to be a leading high-impact investor in sustainably managed forests by providing competitive real investment returns for shareholders combined with high social impact. www.dgb.earth
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