LEAF Coalition Commitments Top $1.5 Billion

This impact story was originally posted by Emergent here.

  • Total LEAF financial commitments exceed $1.5 billion – a 100% increase in corporate support
  • Volkswagen Group and H&M Group become the latest global corporations to sign up
  • Ecuador the first country to sign a memorandum of agreement
  • Republic of Korea becomes first Asian Government to provide financial support to the
    LEAF Coalition

7 November, Sharm El Sheikh: Developments announced today at COP27, signal considerable progress by the LEAF Coalition, the public-private initiative, which aims to end tropical deforestation.

LEAF announced that it has increased the total amount of financial commitments for the purchase of high-integrity emissions reductions credits to over USD $1.5 billion. This represents a 100% increase in commitments from the private sector since COP26.

Auto manufacturer Volkswagen Group and fashion retailer H&M Group have become the latest global companies to join the LEAF Coalition, with financial commitments to purchase high integrity emissions reductions credits from national or large-scale REDD+ programs.

Volkswagen Group is the first auto manufacturer to join LEAF, while H&M Group is the first Swedish company. Volkswagen Group and H&M Group join over twenty-five global corporations including Amazon, Salesforce, Bayer, PwC, Unilever, Blackrock, E.ON, McKinsey and Company and GSK in supporting LEAF.

Ecuador has become the first country to sign a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Emergent, the coordinator of The LEAF Coalition. This agreement outlines the next steps and puts in place a clear roadmap and timetable for the signing of a binding Emissions Reduction Purchase Agreement (ERPA) by the end of April 2023.

The Republic of Korea was also unveiled at COP27 as the first Asian government to provide financial support to the LEAF Coalition. Korea joins the governments of the UK, US and Norway in backing LEAF.

‘The need is urgent – for the climate, for biodiversity and the people that depend on forests,’ said Eron Bloomgarden, CEO of Emergent, the administrative coordinator of LEAF. ‘That’s why this first agreements with Ecuador is so significant. It shows the considerable progress we have made together since COP26, providing a clear roadmap and demonstrating the commitment of all parties to sign ERPAs in the coming months.

‘We are also delighted that Volkswagen and H&M have joined LEAF and our mission to end tropical deforestation. Finance is needed at scale from the private sector if we are to fulfil our goal. We are pleased with the growth of commitments to USD $1.5bn and the one hundred percent increase in corporate commitments since COP26. The recruitment of the Korean government as LEAF’s first sovereign supporter in Asia represents a significant milestone too. But we know much more is needed and we are committed to accelerating our efforts to grow LEAF and increase its impact.’

On signing the first LEAF memorandum of agreement, Gustavo Manrique, Minister of the Environment, Water and Ecological Transition of Ecuador, said:

‘Working to reduce deforestation in Ecuador is a key part of Ecuador’s long-term sustainable development plan. We are proud to become the first country to sign such an agreement to work with the LEAF Coalition. We are fully committed to signing a binding agreement in the near future and are already engaging with stakeholders and IPLC groups to create a
roadmap towards a benefit sharing plan that will reward the people who protect our precious forests, and support sustainable economic development.’

On joining the LEAF Coalition, Ralf Pfitzner, Global Head of Sustainability, Volkswagen Group, said:

‘Decarbonization is Volkswagen’s key priority in terms of sustainability. Avoiding emissions at source, from supply chain to production and by electrification of our portfolio is our first priority. Secondly, we strongly focus on scaling the use of renewable energies. Third, the protection of forests and other natural sinks is of great importance to us. Since 2019, we
have handed over all of our battery electric vehicles in Europe to our customers as net carbon neutral, with unavoidable emissions offset by investment in credible climate protection projects. Thus, we are delighted to announce today that Volkswagen will join The LEAF Coalition and jointly engage in the protection of forests at scale and with the highest integrity. We believe that schemes, such as those supported by LEAF, are a great opportunity to reduce emissions from deforestation, protect biodiversity and support the livelihoods of communities that rely on forests.’

On joining the LEAF Coalition, Leyla Ertur, Head of Sustainability at H&M Group said:

‘At H&M Group we are fully committed to do our part in fighting climate change and protecting nature. Our priority is to address the emissions in our value chain with a target of 56% absolute reductions by 2030. In addition, we also need to ensure that raw materials we source, such as viscose, are sourced in a way that protect nature and biodiversity. But we know that successfully meeting the global climate goal require us to in parallel invest in climate and nature beyond our value chain. Protecting tropical forests offers one of the biggest opportunities for reducing emissions in the coming decade, but has to be done right. We chose to join the LEAF Coalition specifically because of its commitment to high integrity and ambition to drive change at scale.’

On becoming the first Asian country to provide financial support to the LEAF Coalition, Eunsik Park, Director General of International Affairs Bureau, Korea Forest Service, said:

‘Ending tropical deforestation is a vital tool in the battle against climate change. The Republic of Korea is proud to be the first country in Asia to support the LEAF Coalition. We look forward to working with LEAF to expand its footprint into new countries and attract
finance from Asian corporations.’

On the progress of the LEAF Coalition, Espen Barth Eide, Minister of Climate and Environment of Norway, one of LEAF’s sovereign participants said:

‘Tropical forest countries want to protect their forests because they matter to their people and their economy. But they also have a global benefit, and we need to scale up international support. I am excited that LEAF has succeeded in doubling private sector commitments since we met last year in Glasgow. With the ambition now being presented by key tropical forest countries I am confident this is still just the beginning of a groundbreaking marketplace for the benefit of both biodiversity and the climate.’

Graham Stuart, UK Government Minister for Climate said:

‘I am delighted to see the progress achieved by the LEAF Coalition since COP26, in attracting more business and government partners to mobilize funding and protect tropical rainforests around the world. Forests support communities, livelihoods and food supply, helping to absorb carbon
emissions to keep 1.5.C alive. By investing to reduce our emissions now, we can build resilience and generate growth. The UK is committed to working with LEAF to drive global action for the benefit of the people and our planet.’

On the role of market initiatives, such as the LEAF Coalition, Craig Hanson, Managing Director of Programs at the World Resources Institute, said:

‘Scaling finance for forest conservation and restoration is vital if the world is to keep global warming below 1.5°C. Market initiatives like LEAF that conserve forests in a manner that ensure demand-side and supply-side integrity will play a critical role.’

On the progress of the LEAF Coalition, Mark Moroge, Vice President of Natural Climate Solutions at Environmental Defense Fund, said:

‘The LEAF Coalition’s approach represents a critical tool in the global community’s collective toolkit to stop tropical deforestation at the speed and scale the world needs. We’re encouraged to see LEAF’s continued growth and advances towards conserving tropical forests at scale. Whether as companies, Indigenous Peoples and local communities, governments or civil society – we all have critical roles to play in tackling the deforestation crisis. The LEAF Coalition’s approach is a key avenue to align our collective efforts to achieve the outcomes for tropical forests, people and our climate that we’re all striving towards.’

The LEAF Coalition ensures the highest environmental and social integrity of jurisdictional REDD+ results by only purchasing emissions reductions credits issued by ART as verified to meet requirements of its TREES Standard for jurisdictional REDD+ emission reductions and removals.

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