Don’t miss the forest for the trees

High-quality tropical forest carbon credits are essential to combatting climate change, advancing community-led development and safeguarding biodiversity 

By: Mark Moroge, Vice President, Natural Climate Solutions and Breanna Lujan, Senior Manager, Natural Climate Solutions 

If you’re a company, navigating the tropical forest carbon credit marketplace can be daunting, particularly in a complex media landscape.  

How should you do it? 

First, don’t miss the forest for the trees. We must halt and reverse tropical deforestation by 2030 to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. We need to use all the tools in our toolbox.  

Private sector finance is key to tackling deforestation at the pace and scale the world needs. As a company, you should decarbonize your own operations as quickly as possible. Alongside this, purchase high-quality tropical forest carbon credits. Such credits are an essential means to stabilize our climate and safeguard biodiversity. Revenues can also improve the lives and livelihoods of some of the world’s most vulnerable forest peoples, including Indigenous Peoples and local communities, who’ve long struggled for just recognition of their conservation efforts. 

Second, do your due diligence – both of your tropical forest carbon credit purchases, and of the information you consume about the tropical forest carbon marketplace. Both matter, and both support the evolution of forest carbon markets towards ever increasing integrity and quality.  

A recent article in The Guardian on the integrity of tropical forest carbon credits relies heavily on studies whose assumptions have been called into question by numerous expert stakeholders, including Sylvera, Verra, from various forums. When in doubt, don’t forget to look beyond the headlines: read underlying research, consult trusted partners, and test assumptions.  

Third, stay abreast of emerging guidelines to support your sourcing and due diligence of high-quality credits. For your credit purchases, look to initiatives such as the Tropical Forest Credit Integrity (TFCI) guide to help you distinguish tropical forest carbon credits by impact, quality, and scale. This guidance is designed to help ensure that the credits you are purchasing deliver genuine benefits for climate, people and nature, while also supporting you to transparently report on your use of credits. Be on the lookout for updated guidance in the coming weeks. 

We know we have no time to spare to halt and reverse tropical deforestation. We know that the purchase of high-quality carbon credits can unlock the finance so urgently needed by tropical forest countries, and Indigenous Peoples and local communities, to safeguard their forests. And we have tools to identify high-quality tropical forest carbon credits. While navigating the marketplace can be complex, there’s no need to miss the forest for the trees: help finance flow to conserve these critical forests and to the people who steward them by purchasing high-quality tropical forest carbon credits.