The Audit team in Rufunsa
The close of 2018 saw BCP achieve a significant milestone as the Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project (LZRP) became the only project in the world to obtain 5 successful VCS-verifications and triple-gold CCB verification.
BCP has operated within the Rufunsa Conservancy and surrounding communities since 2012 to establish long-term self-sustaining natural resource protection and community development through the sale of Zambian carbon offsets.
The LZRP generates forest carbon offsets by protecting wildlife habitat areas at severe risk of deforestation. In order to trade on the global carbon market, REDD+ projects undergo thorough audits on an annual basis to verify the validity of generated offsets.
Verification company SCS Global Services was responsible for assessing the validity and quality of LZRP offsets in 2018.
The verification process was conducted by Mr Francis Eaton from SCS Global Services. Verification required Mr Eaton to spend over 10 days in the field with BCP employees, assessing the effectiveness of LZRP offset generation at each stage, from technical forest management practices to community involvement and government collaboration.
SCS Auditor Francis Eaton checks that BCP’s measuring tapes are accurate.
“It is important for buyers of forest carbon offsets that REDD+ project developers are assessed thoroughly to strict international standards. Verification of these projects enable companies and individuals to purchase offsets with confidence, knowing that the offsets are real and meet requirements that ensure that they are are positively impacting local environment and communities, regardless of global location” Mr Eaton said.
“This is the fifth verification BCP’s LZRP has undergone and each year the project has ensured positive outcomes for communities as well as for combating climate change. By selecting a high-quality verifier such as SCS and using the highest verification standards for REDD+ such as the VCS and CCB Standards, BCP has differentiated itself from other carbon projects.
In addition to verification under the Verified Carbon Standard, the LZRP also achieved a Triple-Gold rating under CCB assessment. CCB gold ratings recognise carbon offset projects which deliver exceptional climate, community and biodiversity alongside offset generation. LZRP has been independently assessed as contributing to an increase in average household income of 450% over the last 5 years.
BCP CEO, Dr Hassan Sachedina, stated that “the CCB award system is enormously helpful in verifying BCP’s own aims to create transformational change within communities, the environment and wildlife in this critical conservation zone.
“For us, carbon offset generation is good for the environment, but it’s also about building a self-sustaining and long-term income stream for local community empowerment. Verifying to Triple-Gold CCB validates the energy and effort our team place on empowering communities. I could not be more proud of the BCP team.”
During Mr Eaton’s visit to Zambia for LZRP verification, the first verification assessment was also conducted for the BCP-implemented, USAID-funded, Luangwa Community Forests Project (LCFP). The LCFP is Africa’s largest REDD+ project by hectarage and benefits the most people of any REDD+ project globally that BCP is aware of. LCFP verification is expected to be announced within the coming months.