Critical Habitat Under Siege
Indonesia’s Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve has become the world’s largest verified program under the organization known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD). The carbon offset project successfully cleared a third-party verification by SCS Global Services under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). The project will preserve carbon-rich tropical peat swamp and forest, originally slated for development into palm oil plantations, while also providing a critical reserve for endangered Orangutans.
Located in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, and covering an area of almost 64,000 hectares, the project expects to generate an average of nearly four million tons of additional stored carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, from the second year onward. During the initial year, the SCS audit team confirmed that 2,181,352 Verified Carbon Units (VCUs) were generated from July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010. No REDD project has ever been issued this quantity of VCUs for a single year reporting period.
Over 30 years, the project will reduce total emissions of 119 million equivalent tons of CO2.
“The Rimba Raya project has undergone a lengthy and complex review process,” said Dr. Robert J. Hrubes, SCS Executive Vice President. “The scale of this project is truly precedent setting, demonstrating a strong market value in preserving forests.”
The region has suffered from high rates of deforestation and is home to over 94 threatened and endangered species, including the Bornean Orangutan. Orangutan Foundation International, operated by renowned primatologist and conservationist Dr. Birute Mary Galdikas, is the NGO Partner and Project Beneficiary for the project. The sale of carbon credits will fund the preservation of critical Orangutan habitat.
“Rimba Raya will be one of the most important Orangutan conservation projects in the world, said Galdikas. “It is nothing less than the promise of survival for the endangered Orangutan.”
“We are exhausted but overjoyed to have earned verification for the Rimba Raya project,” said Todd Lemons, CEO of InfiniteEARTH, the project developer. “While this project has faced monumental hurdles, SCS’ experience assessing REDD projects proved invaluable for fairly evaluating our compliance with the VCS standard and verifying that these emissions reductions are as real and valuable as we believe they are.”
The project also meets the requirements of the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) standard by supporting the livelihoods of local communities and the area’s rich biodiversity. It was the first in the world to earn Triple Gold Validation under the CCBA standard.
SCS Global Services (SCS) has been providing global leadership in third-party environmental and sustainability certification, auditing, testing, and standards development for nearly 30 years. Programs span a cross-section of industries, recognizing achievements in green building, product manufacturing, food and agriculture, forestry, and more. SCS provides accredited services under numerous internationally recognized certification programs. SCS is a chartered benefit corporation and Certified B Corp™ committed to socially and environmentally responsible business practices.