LEAF Coalition

The Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest finance (LEAF) Coalition’s goal to halt deforestation by financing large scale tropical forest protection. In 2021, the Coalition mobilized $1bn in financing, kicking off largest-ever public-private efforts to protect tropical forests.

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Update

During the World Leaders Summit on November 2nd as part of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), the LEAF Coalition announced it has mobilized its initial goal of $1 billion USD for countries and states committed to increasing ambition to protect tropical and sub-tropical forests and reduce deforestation. Read more on the announcement and full press release here.

The following jurisdictions recently submitted proposals to LEAF and have successfully completed an initial technical screening process led by a panel of technical experts. Those highlighted (Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ghana, Nepal and Vietnam) will be in the first wave of jurisdictions entering purchase agreement discussions with LEAF Coalition corporate participants.  These jurisdictions’ proposals can be found by clicking on their names, below:

Acre (Brazil); Amapá (Brazil); Amazonas (Brazil); Burkina Faso; Costa Rica; Ecuador; Ghana; Guyana; Jalisco (Mexico); Kenya; Maranhão (Brazil); Mato Grosso (Brazil); Nepal; Nigeria; Papua New Guinea; Para (Brazil); Province of Tshuapa (DRC); Quintana Roo (Mexico); Roraima (Brazil); Tocantins (Brazil); Uganda; Vietnam, and Zambia.

LEAF Coalition transactions are conditioned on the ability of a jurisdiction to demonstrate compliance with the requirements of v2.0 (or other applicable version) of The REDD+ Environmental Excellence Standard (TREES) developed by ART and the terms of the Call for Proposal issued on April 22, 2021.

Call to action

Emergent invites all corporate climate leaders to participate in the LEAF Coalition. LEAF welcomes participation by any company that meets its high-bar criteria of commitment to science-based emission reductions in their own value chains, backed by mid-century net-zero targets. For companies, LEAF provides an opportunity to accelerate their climate commitments through high-integrity tropical forest protection, while making history by joining the largest public-private effort ever assembled to end tropical deforestation. Please contact leafcompanies@emergentclimate.com to join our coalition of climate leaders.

The importance of forests

Tropical forests around the world are under threat. The world lost more than 10 million hectares of primary tropical forest cover last year, an area roughly the size of Switzerland. Ending tropical and subtropical forest loss by 2030 is a crucial part of meeting global climate, biodiversity and sustainable development goals. Protecting tropical forests offers one of the biggest opportunities for climate action in the coming decade.

Harnessing public and private action

The LEAF Coalition can help reverse the trend by providing unprecedented financial support to tropical forest governments implementing forest protection, contributing to green and resilient growth through sustainable investments. The LEAF Coalition empowers tropical and subtropical forest countries to move more rapidly towards ending deforestation, while supporting them in achieving their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement. Reductions in emissions are made across entire countries or large states and provinces (“jurisdictions”) through programs that involve all key stakeholders, including Indigenous peoples and local communities.

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Why is LEAF the right approach?

Working at scale

Engaging tropical forest countries and states to reduce deforestation on a jurisdictional level and supporting their investments in sustainable development

Robust social protections

Ensuring the full and effective participation of local and Indigenous peoples in line with the Cancun Safeguards

Raising ambition

Private sector support is in addition to, not instead of, deep cuts in their own value chains in line with science-based emission reduction targets

Environmental integrity

Using the independent and rigorous ART/TREES standard to ensure uncompromising environmental and social integrity

Results-based finance

Payments made by public and private sectors for demonstrated results that increase the speed and scale of forest protection

Mobilizing finance

Catalysing private capital at scale, providing an avenue for companies to go beyond individual efforts to support global action

Secure Fund Disbursement

Robust fund management, monitoring and reporting architecture, informed by guiding Principles that encourage funds be effectively channeled towards systemic change

How to get involved

Announcements

To read the LEAF Coalition’s November 2nd fund mobilization update press release CLICK HERE

en español; en français

Read the LEAF Coalition’s Novmber 6th MoU press release with the Consortium of the Legal Amazon

em português

Read the LEAF Coalition’s September 21st participant update press release here

Read the LEAF Coalition’s July participant update here

Read the LEAF Coalition’s April 22nd multilingual launch press release here 

For stakeholders

Looking to provide input to LEAF, click here to engage with the Coalition

For companies

Wanting to raise global climate ambition click here to get involved

NGOs & Governments

Seeking further information, click here to get involved

How it works

  • 1

    Jurisdictions reduce deforestation through national or sub-national scale forest protection programs

  • 2

    Emission Reductions (ERs) verified and issued by ART

  • 3

    Transaction of ART credits from jurisdictions purchased or paid for via intermediary after diligence and internal approvals

  • 4

    ERs will transact at a minimum price of $10 per ER via intermediary, as applicable

  • 6

    Payments to jurisdictions
    enable additional forest protection and increased climate ambition

  • 2

    Emission Reductions (ERs)
    verified and issued by ART

  • 5

    Funds channelled to
    jurisdictions
    according to fund management best practice

Information Disclosure

Emergent recognizes the importance of and affirms its commitment to transparency and accountability in all aspects of its operations. Emergent’s Information Disclosure Policy promotes public access and stakeholder participation through the effective dissemination of information. The Policy is based on 3 principles: Principle 1: Maximize access to information; Principle 2: Limited exceptions; Principle 3: Simple and broad access to information.All documents in Emergent’s possession are subject to disclosure as per this Policy, and will be released on the Emergent website or will be provided upon request, unless they fall under an exception. This is to provide the public with a clear picture of Emergent’s work and the way it administers financial resources received from public, private and other sources. It will take some time for Emergent to update the website according to the new Policy, which will be updated by end of Q1 2022.

FAQs

  • What is LEAF and who is involved?

    The LEAF Coalition was launched on April 22nd by an initial group of governments and leading companies aiming to mobilize at least $1 billion in finance to support tropical and subtropical forest jurisdictions in making substantial reductions in their emissions from deforestation. This group of participants is growing, with new companies and governments able to join in the time leading up to the signing of final agreements by the end of 2021.

    Emergent, a US non-profit, is providing a platform to facilitate the transactions to provide finance to these programs, and will serve as LEAF’s administrative coordinator.

    Performance will be measured against the TREES standard. TREES is a high-integrity standard building on over a decade of progress in international support for reducing deforestation and ensuring social and environmental integrity. TREES is managed by ART, a voluntary global initiative hosted by Winrock International. ART also maintains the registry on which Emissions Reductions are issued, transferred and retired.

    ART is governed by an independent Board of Directors, the members of which represent a diverse group of objective, globally recognized experts.

  • How does the LEAF Coalition support substantial reductions in deforestation to meet global climate goals?

    This first Call for Proposals is just the start of what we expect will become a rapidly expanding market for high quality ERs from jurisdictional forest and climate programs. Over the next few years, such a market could channel much greater volumes of finance to tropical and subtropical forest countries that take rapid action to halt emissions from deforestation.

    The finance provided under this call for proposals will pay for high-quality Emissions Reductions generated during the 2022 – 2026 period, while allowing supplier countries to still use the underlying mitigation results towards ambitious NDCs (unless they elect to make a corresponding adjustment, which is not required under LEAF).

    The LEAF Coalition will thus ensure that ambitious tropical and subtropical forest jurisdictions have access to large scale, predictable performance-based finance, enabling them to further invest in reduced deforestation and sustainable rural development.

  • How are Emissions Reductions issued and transacted?

    ART will issue verified Emissions Reductions (called “TREES credits” under the TREES standard) to participating jurisdictions that reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Each of these represent one tonne of CO2e. The terms of these transactions are designed to accommodate voluntary purposes, such as voluntary corporate commitments to drive urgent climate action in addition to deep cuts in their own emissions in line with science-based emission reduction targets and aiming for carbon neutrality by 2050 or sooner.1

    1) Science-based targets (SBTi) or equivalent quantified and independently verified decarbonization targets, consistent with limiting warming in line with the long-term temperature goal of the Paris Agreement, with no or limited overshoot.
  • How can companies participate in the LEAF Coalition?

    Companies are invited to participate in the LEAF Coalition by purchasing high-quality emissions reductions as part of broader voluntary commitments to global climate action. These emissions reductions must come in addition to, and not as a substitute for, deep cuts in own value chain emissions. LEAF thus welcomes participation by any company that meets its high-bar criteria of commitment to science-based emission reductions in their own value chains.

  • My company does not yet have a net-zero commitment in place, but is planning one. Can we still participate?

    Yes. To participate, private sector buyers must meet four key criteria:

    – Publicly commit to science-based targets (SBTi) or equivalent quantified and independently verified decarbonization targets, consistent with limiting warming in line with the long-term temperature goals of the Paris Agreement, with no or limited overshoot. In addition, private sector buyers should aim to have set SBTi or equivalent targets (as above) before taking title to ERs, and have the targets in place no later than 2023.2 Private sector buyers must also publicly commit to mid-century net zero targets covering all three emissions scopes.
    – Join the UN Race to Zero.
    – Publicly report a greenhouse gas emissions inventory following the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHGP).
    – Separately report publicly any use of Emissions Reductions or other carbon credits, including purpose of use. Reporting should be independently audited.

    2) SBTI allocates 24 months for a thorough target setting process
  • Which jurisdictions are able to submit proposals?

    This is a global call. All eligible national and subnational jurisdictions (one level down from national level jurisdiction), tropical and subtropical, which meet ART/TREES requirements for forest area are invited to submit proposals.3

    3) Subnational jurisdictions are requested to indicate that the national government will provide the participant with a letter from the relevant national entity authorizing the Participant’s application to and participation in ART.
  • How will proposals be selected?

    Proposals will be selected based on their ability to meet the ART-TREES requirements, and the demonstrated credibility of jurisdictions’ ambition and readiness to reduce deforestation and generate ERs while ensuring the full and effective participation of relevant stakeholders — in particular, Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

    Jurisdictions demonstrating political willingness to make or maintain durable policy changes that enhance ambition under the Paris Agreement would greatly strengthen their proposals. Proposals will be prioritized from jurisdictions with clear and credible pathways towards net zero emissions in line with the latest science, and have established, or have plans to establish as soon as possible, a 2050 Long Term Strategy to implement this global net zero goal.

  • How does implementing jurisdictional-scale programs work in practice?

    Following the jurisdictional approach, progress is measured by looking at emissions from the forests of an entire country or state/ province. A reference level is set based on the average of historical emissions, updated every five years. Results are measured relative to this reference level, with deductions set aside for uncertainty and leakage risks as appropriate.4

    Payments are made only after results have been fully verified by an accredited and independent body.

    Deforestation is reduced using various public regulatory-, finance- and enforcement tools, in conjunction with other public and private initiatives, targeted at the root causes of deforestation, the features of which will depend on country circumstances.

    4) The draft TREES 2.0 also includes removals, with corresponding guidance for establishing baselines for removals.
  • How does the finance mobilized through LEAF support Indigenous peoples and local communities?

    Proposals will be selected based on the demonstrated credibility of jurisdictions’ ambition and readiness to reduce deforestation and generate emission reductions, while also ensuring the full and effective participation of relevant stakeholders — in particular, Indigenous Peoples and local communities. Through ART/TREES, Emissions Reductions achieved under the LEAF Coalition must satisfy and go beyond the Cancun safeguards, which require respect for the knowledge and rights of indigenous peoples and members of local communities, by taking into account relevant international obligations, national circumstances and laws.5 TREES requires third-party verification of conformance with the safeguards, and includes a series of detailed structural, process, and outcome indicators.

    5) Specifically through section 12 of TREES: Cancun Safeguard B – Transparent and effective national forest governance structures, taking into account national legislation and sovereignty (including land tenure rights and access to justice); Cancun Safeguard C – Respect for the knowledge and rights of indigenous peoples and members of local communities by taking into account relevant international obligations, national circumstances and laws, and noting that the United Nations General Assembly has adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and Cancun Safeguard C – The full and effective participation of relevant stakeholders—in particular indigenous peoples and local communities—in actions referred to in paragraphs 70 and 72 of decision 1/CP16.
  • How is environmental integrity ensured for Emissions Reductions transacted through LEAF?

    This is a results-based initiative. Payments are only made when emissions reductions have been verified in accordance with the independent ART/TREES standard, which embeds ambitious reference levels, strong requirements for managing uncertainty, leakage risks and permanence, as well as robust environmental and social safeguards.

  • How is transparency around Emissions Reduction use ensured?

    The LEAF Coalition includes four transaction pathways: There is one pathway for Sovereign contributors to engage in transactions (#1), and three pathways for private sector buyers to do so (#2-4). In #1, Sovereign contributors will not use Emissions Reductions toward their NDCs. Payments support mitigation efforts in the supplier jurisdiction.. The underlying mitigation may be counted once: towards the Supplier Country’s NDC.

    Private Sector buyers have three pathways:
    2. Private sector buyers provide results-based payments without taking title to ERs.
    3. Private sector buyers take title to ERs. Under this option the Supplier will transfer the ERs to the buyer on the ART registry. The supplier country may include the underlying mitigation in accounting for its NDC. The private sector buyer must transparently communicate that the underlying mitigation contributes to the Supplier country’s NDC implementation and achievement.
    4. Private sector buyers take title to ERs for which the Supplier Country is willing to make a corresponding adjustment. Under this option the Supplier will transfer the ERs to the buyer on the ART registry, and the supplier country will apply corresponding adjustments for the underlying mitigation in accounting for its NDC.

    For all pathways, the ART registry will clearly identify each issued ER for which the Supplier Country intends to or did carry out a corresponding adjustment for the underlying ERs in accounting for its NDC. In pathway 4, the application of a corresponding adjustment ensures the underlying mitigation is not double-counted.

    Coalition participants transacting under pathway 3 should transparently communicate in public disclosures (e.g. corporate websites, annual sustainability reports) that the mitigation underlying units purchased through LEAF counts toward the Supplier Country’s NDC implementation and achievement.​  

    These requirements – along with the buyer criteria detailed in the Call for Proposals document – will be ensured by the administrative coordinator through periodic checks. Should a corporate participant not make appropriate disclosures, the administrative coordinator will attempt to clarify the requirements with the participant. Following a notice period and a decision by LEAF Coalition participants, companies which continue to fail to disclose will not be able to continue to participate in the Coalition. 

    Standards and guidance bodies and the broader media and NGO community have a vital role to play in ensuring companies maintain their commitments.  Beyond internal mechanisms, LEAF Coalition participants will look to broader civil society actors to further support accountability, and to bring any issues to the attention of the Coalition to support the process above.