Protecting the Planet
By 2018, Asante will have planted 2 million trees and out-growers will have planted another 200,000 trees. These trees will regrow after initial harvest, capturing carbon and sequestering it
Forestry and afforestation in particular, is regarded as an important contributor to the offset of greenhouse gas emissions. Projects that increase the area of plantations have been suggested for inclusion under the clean development mechanism (CDM) as defined in Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol.
The voluntary carbon market consists of companies, governments or individuals who attempt to reduce their impact on greenhouse gas emissions by voluntarily purchasing carbon offsets. Corporate leaders like Chevrolet, Marks & Spencer, and Allianz voluntarily purchased 76 million tons of carbon offsets in 2013, according to the annual State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets report. According to that report, these and other diverse actors paid $379 million for carbon offsets to neutralize emissions that they couldn’t directly reduce. This value supports hundreds of environmental projects, particularly those that reduce or avoid deforestation (“REDD”), install wind energy, or distribute cleaner-burning cook stoves in the developing world. Forestry and agroforestry projects were the most popular category for voluntary offsets, followed by renewables.
The voluntary carbon market has evolved as corporations and individuals seek to offset their carbon footprints through green marketing (CSR) and pre-compliance preparation. The voluntary market allows project developers more flexibility (less restrictive than CDM) and a more streamlined process (less time-consuming and costly) than the formal markets.
Eucalyptus Trees and Carbon
Eucalyptus is the most commonly planted tree in Australia as part of carbon offset programs. Primarily, this is because they can grow effectively in drought conditions and store a great deal of carbon quickly. They also continue to store large amounts of carbon throughout their lifetime. Estimates of the exact amount of carbon stored depend on the conditions in which the trees grow, but range as high as 20 tons of carbon sequestered per acre per year over 6 years or up to approximately 6 tons per year per acre. By 14 years of growth, this can increase to as much as 10.2 tons. Importantly, eucalyptus trees store a great deal of carbon in their extensive root systems, which provides substantial protection against fire and damage. As in Australia, these characteristics make the eucalyptus tree the ideal candidate for a carbon sequestration project, if properly and sustainably managed. The calculations provided by experts suggest that one eucalyptus tree might sequester .005 tons of carbon per tree per year.
Price for Carbon Offsets
Prices widely vary in the voluntary market and are dependent upon the social and environmental impact of the project as well as the costs to administer the project. Projects in afforestation and reforestation (A/R) tend to be higher. Prices range from $7.3 up to $9 on average for an A/R project but can go as high as $120 per ton of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) reduced. Those projects on the high end are usually verified by a third party, such as the “J-VER” (Japan-Verified Emissions Reduction).
How can I be sure this project sequesters and prevents the release of the amount of carbon you say it does?
In order for a forest carbon project to help reduce the buildup of carbon pollution that is causing climate change, it must address certain issues, including:
Permanence, which, simply stated, is the life of the project. It wouldn’t help to reduce climate change much if a tree were planted or saved one year only to be cut the next. The most desirable forest carbon projects are those where the restored and protected forests are likely to remain intact indefinitely.
Additionality, which refers to the amount of carbon dioxide captured, stored or prevented from reaching the atmosphere compared to what would happen without the project. In other words, is this something that would have happened anyway?
Measurement and monitoring, which entails periodic field measurements of forest growth and associated capture and storage of carbon, as well as, in some cases, analysis of satellite imagery and models of forest growth and deforestation.
Verification, of carbon benefits by an accredited independent third-party, which occurs periodically throughout the life of a project to ensure it meets its intended goals of carbon storage and that all additionality, measurement, leakage and permanence requirements are being met.
Asante addresses these issues as follows:
Permanence. As previously stated after the 8 year harvest cycle of these eucalyptus trees, they will be left to regrow with a legal structure in place to leave the trees permanently on the land as a legacy for the community. Any trees removed must be replanted.
Additionality. Without this project, the land in question on the south coast will remain unproductive and unutilized. We are taking this idle land and planting new forest which will be utilized for its value for 8 years then left to mature into a permanent forest with permanently sequestered carbon.
Measurement. Field measurements of forest growth are taken on a periodic basis and recorded using well-established forest inventory methods. This can help us verify the amount of carbon being sequestered over time.
Verification - Third-party verification could take place at an additional cost if doTERRA so desires. The third-party can validate the numbers recorded by Asante stewardship staff.
Isn’t Asante Tree Farms for-profit? Why should we invest in a carbon offset project that will benefit Asante?
Asante Tree Farms (Asante Capital EPZ) is set up as a for profit enterprise in Kenya. It is designed as a social enterprise whose mission has a three-fold bottom line--Profits, People and Planet. Asante is wholly-owned by Asante Foundation, a 501(c) 3 charity in the United States. All profits made by the social enterprise stay inside Kenya and are invested in additional social enterprises designed to create jobs, increase farmer incomes and improve quality of life. Profits from projects get invested into community projects such as water, education and microfinance. Our history of starting successful social enterprises in Kenya goes back 16 years. We began with Yehu Microfinance, now with 40,000 rural clients, many of whom are farmers in our ginger and eucalyptus projects. Coast Coconut Farms is an organic coconut oil mill employing 100 Kenyans and working with 1,000 coconut farmers on the south coast.
Asante Tree Farms currently works with 300 small-holder farmers in Kwale County on the south coast of Kenya. We are committed to providing business solutions to farmers to help them gain self-reliance and to improve their incomes significantly—over 5 times. Asante Tree Farms protects the planet and will have planted 1,000,000 trees in Kenya with its farmer growers by 2018. We are promoting sustainable forestry in Kenya. doTERRA can feel confident and proud of their partnership with Asante, not only providing excellent markets for small-holder farmers in essential oil crops such as ginger, but in partnership with our tree farms to work toward our goal of getting 10% of Kenya under tree cover. This project will not only plant trees, but most importantly, provide markets for these trees that will encourage farmers to continue to plant trees on idle land. These trees are unique in their ability to coppice and grow back after harvest which will allow us to get value and pay for the planting of these trees in a sustainable fashion.