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COTAP’s Summer 2016 Newsletter

August 10th, 2016

Nicaragua Project Visit and Trip Report


From May 31 to June 3, COTAP visited our partner Taking Root’s CommuniTree project in Somoto and Limay Nicaragua. Check out the full trip report and picture gallery on the COTAP blog.

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Additional Nicaragua Updates


  • By mid-June, the project announced it had already planted 500,000 trees… this season!rainforest-alliance-verified
  • Also in June, the project announced that it had successfully completed its first third-party verification by the Rainforest Alliance. You can read their full verification report here.
  • Read Taking Root’s recent blog posts about their charcoal pilot and how reforestation projects help farmers adapt to climate change.
  • Our prior newsletter failed to mention (Taking Root Executive Director) Kahlil Baker’s excellent Op-Ed in the Vancouver Sun about Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change.
  • In addition to COTAP’s photos in our trip report, CommuniTree also released two 2016 planting season photo sets in April and July.
  • Last but not least, you can offset your CO2 emissions through this project here.

Malawi Updates


CDI-TreesofHope-April-2016


  • COTAP partner the Clinton Development Initiative announced that the Trees of Hope project had paid 875 farmers more than $100,000 from the sale of carbon certificates. Of those, 376 were paid for the first time and formally opened bank accounts with First Malawi Bank.
  • The Clinton Foundation published this cool infographic about how Swedish hamburger chain Max Hamburger utilizes Trees of Hope to address its CO2 emissions.
  • They also just released this great new video about the project:

  • The Rainforest Alliance conducted its on-site, third-party assessment of Trees of Hope in April and its report is expected to be released by the end of 2016.
  • Trees of Hope received a press mention alongside COTAP in a Washington Times article (see ‘COTAP Updates’ below).
  • You can offset your CO2 emissions through the Trees of Hope project here.

Uganda Updates


  • The 2015 annual report is now published for our partner Ecotrust Uganda’s Trees for Global Benefits project.
  • During 2015, the project added 1,533 participating households, 1,323 hectares (5.1 square miles) to its area under management, paid $209,506 to participating farmers, and planted trees projected to sequester 266,354 tonnes of CO2!
  • In addition to its annual report, Ecotrust put out this outstanding summary email of 2015 highlights.
  • Trees for Global Benefits has now been issued credits for 989,059 tonnes of CO2 through 2015, which means it has now surpassed the 1 million tonne mark this year.
  • Ecotrust shared its impressive progress distributing Solvatten water purification units, helping over 1,000 rural households avoid water-borne diseases and obtain many other benefits. Not only that, Ecotrust produced this video on Solvatten user experiences:

  • Check out the email highlights from Ecotrust’s May Stakeholder Event (video here and photo gallery here).
  • Hungry for more? Thought so! Read more about Ecotrust’s millionth tonne and their eco-tourism activities here and their HIV prevention work and Solvatten expansion to the Lira district in this bulletin.
  • You can offset your CO2 emissions through Trees for Global Benefits project here.

India Updates


  • Prime Minister Narendra narendra-modi-mawphlang-tambor-lyngdoh-may-2016Modi was hosted by Khasi Project Leader Tambor Lyngdoh during his May visit to Mawphlang village in the East Khasi Hills. Videos at https://goo.gl/Liyvcc.
  • The 2015 annual report is now finalized for the Khasi Hills REDD+ Project.
  • During 2015, the project reached $34,473 in payments made to communities for ecosystem services, and it has now achieved 68,404 tonnes of CO2 reductions through forest protection and restoration.
  • The project’s first third-party verification, by Rainforest Alliance and Bioclimate, is slated for this November with a verification report expected in early 2017.
  • You can offset your CO2 emissions through the Khasi project here.

More COTAP Updates


Organizational Clients.  A big THANKS to our growing, global list of new and repeat organizational clients, including the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), WTSMed/Restorative Formulations, Wellspring Spa, The Plan Vivo Foundation, Monarch Media, and the Guerrilla Foundation.

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Partner Payments & Credit Retirements. In late January, COTAP completed a round of carbon credit retirements which can be viewed at COTAP.org/Transparency. The next round of project payments will begin on approximately August 22.

Partner Annual Reports and Documentation. The 2015 annual COTAP at Expedia Earth Day Fair 4.22.16report for the Trees of Hope Malawi project is still being finalized.  All projects’ most recent Annual Reports, Project Design Documents (PDD), Technical Specifications, and Verification Reports can be found in COTAP’s Dropbox folder.

Expedia Earth Day Fair. COTAP accepted Expedia Inc.’s invitation to participate in its Earth Day Fair on 4/22 up in Bellevue, Washington. That’s our sweet table ->


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Press. Since our last newsletter, COTAP was featured in the “Where to Buy?” section of an Ecosystem Marketplace article, our transparency was applauded by the monthly business magazine of CPA Australia, and we received a mention in a fun Washington Times article about the carbon neutrality pledges and activities of U.S. presidential candidates. More juicy details at COTAP.org/Press!

Updated Twitter handle. We’re now at @COTAP! If you already follow us, this updates automatically. Use the new handle when mentioning or messaging us on Twitter. A big THANKS to the folks at Zinc.it (formerly Cotap.com) for giving this to us.

Offsetting to All COTAP Projects


If all of our projects seem awesome, that’s because they are! If you’d like to address your unavoidable CO2 emissions and change lives by supporting our projects equally, you can do so at any level you choose – either by dollar amount or by the tonne. As always, 90.9% goes to projects and it’s 100% tax-deductible for U.S. residents.

Until Next Time…


Please take a moment to share our newsletter via the social media links at right. Our archive is at COTAP.org/Newsletters. If this was shared with you and you’d like to receive updates from us directly, sign up at COTAP.org/email. We share updates less than once per month and when there’s big news.

Thanks for your support,

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Tim Whitley
COTAP founder

COTAP’s Spring 2015 Newsletter

June 9th, 2015

Due to the large number of updates, we put a simple summary in the actual email newsletter linking to this post, which contains all the details, photos, and links. Enjoy!

New and Repeat Business Customers


COTAP thanks repeat customers Restorative Formulations and World Wide Web Hosting (aka site5) and welcomes new U.S. customer Monarch Media and new Costa Rican customers Anca Médica, Hotel Giada, and Condominio La Floresta!



If your business is interested in addressing its climate impacts in a very global and meaningful way, get in touch and we’ll set up a time to explore the possibilities!



Transparency Updates


Partner Payments & Credit Retirements. We completed our February/March round of project payments and retirements, which can be seen at COTAP.org/Transparency.

Current Round. Since last time, Cotappers have offset 603 tonnes, we currently owe each project for about 150 tonnes, and we plan to start our next round of payments in mid-to-late Summer.

Annual Reports. The 2014 Uganda and 2013 Mozambique Annual Reports are now approved by the Plan Vivo Foundation and have been posted to our Transparency page. The India project’s 2014 report is under review and the Malawi 2014 report is anticipated to be under review by the end of June.

Dropbox Folder. You can now view and download all projects’ most recent documentation in one place: here. This includes each project’s most recent annual report, Project Design Document (PDD), and Technical Specifications (TS).



New Beneficiary Profile: Sinoliyamu Banda


Click on the picture to view the full profile for Sinoliyamu Banda, a farmer participating in the Clinton Development Initiative’s Trees of Hope project in Malawi.



New & Updated Interactive Data Maps for Uganda & Nicaragua


Ecotrust Uganda recently unveiled an interactive Google map for the Trees for Global Benefits project. To view individual farmer details, click on the menu icon at top left, select a region or “landscape,” and pick a farmer. A bigger version is here, and Taking Root’s updated map for their CommuniTree project in Nicaragua can be seen here



New Project Videos from India’s East Khasi Hills


COTAP partner Community Forestry International has produced several new videos about the Khasi Hills project. The main one, “When the Forest is Home,” is a 24-minute film about India’s first internationally-certified project under the United Nations REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) program. It tells the story of Tambor Lyngdoh, the charismatic project leader who has united ten indigenous Khasi kingdoms into a Federation to protect and restore the remote Khasi Hills forests in the state of Meghalaya.



Partner News & Events


Fall Stakeholder Meeting in Sweden. COTAP will be attending the Plan Vivo Foundation stakeholder event in Sigtuna, Sweden on September 28 & 29. Many project leaders will be coming together in one place for mutual learning about challenges, trends, and best practices around such things as payments for ecosystem services (PES), co-benefits, forest monitoring, and certification of non-carbon ecosystem services.

Plan Vivo Updates. The Plan Vivo Foundation’s April newsletter unveiled their new 38-page brochure about all 12 of their projects, 5 of which are on COTAP. The newsletter also describes PV’s participation in March conferences in Indonesia and Uganda, as well as notes new project applicants from Madagascar, Burkina Faso, and Ethiopia.

Ecotrust Uganda’s March Event and June Newsletter. Ecotrust’s April/May Bulletin provides many updates on their burgeoning array of partnerships, workshops, and other activities. They also recently sent out a summary of their March conference in Kampala, attended by 170 constituents and with a theme of “Improving Livelihoods and Restoring Ecosystems.”



“Adventures in Cotapping,” or Sharing Our Challenges & Lessons


COTAP received positive feedback when we shared our decision to pause allocations the Sofala project in our previous newsletter. In order to grow and succeed, COTAP must constantly experiment with promising models to see what works and what doesn’t. Here are two recent experiments where we’re learning a LOT:

Microsoft/COTAP Employee Offset Matching Program. Last Fall, Microsoft teamed up with COTAP to pilot our innovative program to leverage their donation matching program to double the tonnes offset by employees and reduce their effective rate to $4.95 per tonne. Unfortunately, Microsoft failed to make the program visible to employees, so we’re searching for a new partner for this program.

20th Poverty and Environment Partnership (PEP) Meeting. At the request of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), we created a tailored page for “PEP 20” attendees to easily offset their unavoidable air travel CO2 emissions. The theme of the event was “Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for Inclusive, Climate Resilient, Green Economies.” In terms of CO2 tonnes offset, the results from this particular event have so far been modest. That said, the lessons and visibility COTAP gained from this effort are exciting and they are laying very important groundwork for future event opportunities.



View COTAP Testimonials and Submit Yours




Cotapper Sightings!


Team COTAP was representin’ on the top of Mt. Whitney on June 1st. If you didn’t know, Mt. Whitney is the highest peak in the lower 48 states at 14,505 feet! A Cotapper was also spotted 300 miles north… at the Lost and Found Gravel Grinder in the Sierra foothills on May 30th! Click on the photo for the glorious, full-size version.



Until Next Time…


This is COTAP’s Spring 2015 newsletter. Please take a moment to share it via the links on the left. Our newsletter archive is here. If this was shared with you and you’d like to receive updates from us directly, you can sign up http://eepurl.com/eYsWc. We share updates less than once per month and when there’s big news.

Sincerely,

Tim Whitley
COTAP.org Founder

New Project Videos from India’s East Khasi Hills

March 28th, 2015

COTAP partner Community Forestry International recently released several new videos about the Khasi Hills Community Carbon Project. Here they are!

When the Forest is Home (2015)


This 25-minute film documents the story of India’s first internationally certified community forest project to receive funds from sales of carbon offset credits under the United Nations REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) program. It tells the story of the charismatic former youth leader of the indigenous Khasi who helped unite ten kingdoms into a Federation to protect and restore the forests of the Khasi Hills in Meghalaya. This project demonstrates the success of community management and innovation in helping to conserve India’s environment in the Northeast, while improving local livelihoods.



Restoring India’s Cloud Forests (2014)


This 4-minute film highlights the efforts of the indigenous Khasi who are enabling thousands of people to engage with forest protection in north east India. They are also enabling businesses to balance their carbon footprint, work with communities close to the forests, and help protect forest ecosystems.It is a Plan Vivo project that reduces carbon emissions from deforestation, protects forest ecosystems and helps to create income for rural families.



Trekking through History (2015)


This 4-minute film highlights the community restoration of a 16 km segment of the David Scott Trail, an historic horse-cart route constructed by the British in the 19th century to connect the modern states of Assam, Meghalaya, and Bangladesh. The trail is an eco-adventure meandering up and down through forests, across arched stone bridges, and sparkling vistas.

Q&A with Bansaralang Nongbri, Khasi Hills, India

December 16th, 2014


Bansaralang Nongbri

Project: Khasi Hills Community REDD+ Project, India
Name: Bansaralang Nongbri
Age: 25 years
Community: Dympep Village, East Khasi Hills, India

What are your contributions towards the project?


I’m a member of the Local Working Committee (LWC) which oversees the Dympep village cluster.

COTAP Note: Local Working Committees link the project’s federation of 9 indigenous governments to its 62 villages, and are integral to developing, implementing, and monitoring each village cluster’s natural resource management plan. Read more about the Khasi Hills REDD+ project’s organizational structure in its Project Design Document.

How do you feel about the project?


The project is conserving and restoring our village’s forests while also improving our livelihoods. It addresses several problems, one of which has been an insufficient awareness about the many important roles of trees.

It’s been an eye-opener that’s changing our mindset towards better forest management and socio-economic strategies. It has deepened our communities’ understanding of the importance of collective environmental responsibility and that improved livelihood approaches can coexist with sustaining our forests.

Do you think the project can improve family incomes?


We are very hopeful and confident that the project will improve our livelihoods, one reason being its multiple sources of support. The carbon fund is one part of the projects’ financial incentives for restoring and protecting the forests, the other part comes from the government.

What impacts is the project having?


The forests are regenerating and water bodies are being replenished, and even growing, as a result. Now people are much more environmentally engaged and also equipped to be able to take up small projects through Self Help Groups (SHG’s) and Farmers’ clubs.

What are some things you are learning?


I have learned about forest conservation, tree nurseries, and how our forests and water are inseparable. This has heightened our recognition of the need to protect and restore the forest. The socio-economic aspects of the project are teaching our villages about savings, bookkeeping, micro enterprise and team work. This broadens the social mindset of our community, and even reduces issues like jealousy and gossiping!

What have been some of the project’s challenges?


There haven’t been that many serious problems yet because the project leaders have been keen to engage communities with ongoing training and awareness programs.

Learn more and support this project


Learn more about the Khasi Hills REDD+ Project here, and create economic benefits for project participants like Bansaralang Nongbri by calculating and offsetting your CO2 emissions here.