The Forum partners with South Pole to make the Annual Meeting climate neutral
The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters is the foremost creative force for engaging the world's top leaders in collaborative activities to shape the global, regional and industry agendas at the beginning of each year. Under the 2020 theme of 'Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World', the meeting will bring together 3,000 participants to, among others, assist governments and international institutions in tracking progress towards the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Reducing the environmental impacts of the Forum's activities is achieved through a dedicated sustainability programme.
In addition to carefully planned resource and energy management, the Forum is working to minimise the environmental footprint associated with travel of participants to the Annual Meeting through alternative modes of transport. Furthermore, since 2017 the Forum has measured and compensated for 100% greenhouse gas emissions associated with the Annual Meeting in Davos –including participants' air travel – by partnering with South Pole, a Forum Social Entrepreneur. Since 2017, South Pole has provided the Forum with certified carbon credits for its compensation programme and since 2019, it has helped the Forum to fund the restoration of peatlands across the canton of Graubunden, which hosts the Annual Meeting. The peatlands act as a natural carbon sink by absorbing greenhouse gases from the air.
"We are incredibly proud to partner with the Forum, with whom we have a shared mission to work towards a sustainable, climate-resilient future," says Natalia Gorina, Commercial Director, South Pole, "The Forum has supported projects that not only reduce CO2 emissions but ensure positive social and biodiversity impacts on the ground, in Switzerland and in developing countries."
For 2020, the Forum has chosen to support an emission reduction project located in Switzerland and several projects in developing countries that sequester carbon and channel finance to nature-based projects.
The Biogas for Greener Farms project in Switzerland consists of the installation of small-scale digesters to generate biogas. In Switzerland, manure and agricultural residues produced by farms are typically stored in open containers releasing methane and CO2. By installing a biogas digester, farmers can use methane to generate renewable electricity and can use the digestate by-product in the fields, thus reducing the need for artificial fertilisers.
According to the special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), emissions from agriculture, forestry, and land clearing make up around one quarter of the world's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, making deforestation is a global issue. Beyond its destructive impacts on biodiversity and the livelihoods of forest-dependent people, it is a major driver of climate change.
Today, billions of people depend on forests for their livelihoods, and forest conservation projects involve an incentive for changing the way forest resources are used. As such, they offer a way of curbing CO2 emissions through paying for actions that prevent forest loss or degradation. As poverty is one of the main drivers of deforestation, adapting to and mitigating climate change must be addressed in unison with the fight against poverty – a focal area of the projects that the Forum is supporting.
Through a community-based approach, the Jacundá project in Brazil protects an area of 95,000 hectares of native forests, home to hundreds of animal and plant species. Biodiversity conservation and the sustainable use of resources improve local livelihoods and prevent an estimated 140,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from being released into the atmosphere each year.
The Jacundá project has been acknowledged with the community and biodiversity gold level of the Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB)-Standard. Community workshops on health care, biodiversity monitoring and leadership training for women and young people improve families' livelihoods and empower vulnerable groups. So far, 20 families in the project area have participated in workshops on health and family planning.
At the confluence of the Congo and Lomami Rivers towards the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Isangi project protects over 187,000 hectares of one of Earth's most biodiverse rainforests from deforestation. It helps to alleviate local poverty by promoting sustainable economic opportunities and developing educational initiatives to bring a brighter future to remote communities.
In addition to safeguarding vulnerable flora and fauna, access to primary education, for instance, has been one of the priorities of the Isangi project. The project has built 3 schools, funded 10 teachers, enrolled hundreds of students, and provided school supplies. Over 24 workshops have been organised on basic sanitation, education, waste management, biodiversity restoration, and beekeeping.
The Keyihe forest conservation project in China project involves converting the forest, which was previously logged, into a protected area. In addition to carbon sequestration, biodiversity is significantly enhanced as currently less than 4% of China's forests remain intact. The Keyihe project has helped promote trees as a valuable natural resource and convert over 20,000 hectares into protected forest.
These high-quality projects that the Forum has selected are registered with third-party internationally recognized standards, including the Verra's Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standards (CCBS). These standards highlight different benefits, while ensuring that the projects and their emission reduction impacts are real, verified, permanent and of course additional to a business as usual scenario.
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