Our sustainable forestry business can have a significant impact on the global effort to combat climate change. This is something, as a company, we are deeply committed to, and it is why we are working with a wide array of local and international partners to ensure that we follow the highest standards and best practices — to ensure our project is a meaningful part of the solution.
There are two areas where FFC’s operations are making a contribution to climate action.
First, by creating a sustainable source of wood for both local and international markets, we can reduce logging pressure on Colombia’s intact forests. The fact is that deforestation cannot be halted merely by protecting natural forests. Around the globe, time and again, we have seen that if the harvesting of timber is forbidden in one area, it will often “leak” into another area.
If done the right way, plantation forests can help address this problem. If plantations are established on degraded lands, rather than replacing intact forests, they can satisfy growing demands for wood, while, at the same time, stem deforestation elsewhere.
Second, our plantation forests are carbon sinks. In other words, they remove a significant amount of additional carbon from the atmosphere than otherwise would have been the case.
We have worked with South Pole, one of the leading developers of emission reduction projects, to develop a mitigation project that covers more than 4,000 hectares planted between 2010 and 2014. These early plantings, for the period between 2009 and 2018, represent just shy of 900,000 tons of captured carbon. This first tranche of credits has been certified in Colombia and will be sold within the Colombian marketplace.
But the potential is much greater than this. We plan to scale up our operating area to 150,000 hectares by 2028, which would lead to an aggregate of roughly 25 million tons of sequestered carbon. We have commissioned an independent assessment to verify this estimation and to ensure that we are able to comply to the highest international standards.
We are currently working with South Pole to achieve VCS certification, and thereafter have committed to achieving the additional CCB certification for projects that simultaneously address climate change, support local communities and smallholders, and conserve biodiversity.
We also understand that while individual projects have the ability to make significant contributions, a disjointed project-by-project approach is not in line with the Paris Agreement. Therefore, we are committed to working closely with the Colombian government to ensure that our project is included in comprehensive national framework for climate action for the forest and land sector, as envisioned by the Paris Agreement.