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Archive for the ‘Transparency’ Category

CommuniTree Surpasses 10 Million Trees

March 12th, 2021

Offset your CO2 emissions through this project here:

 


Taking Root’s CommuniTree reforestation project in Nicaragua has been a valued COTAP partner since 2011. CommuniTree recently released their 2020 annual report, which includes these impressive cumulative achievements:

  • CommuniTree has paid over $2.2 million to more than 1,300 farming families.
  • It’s planted more than 10 million trees over the equivalent of 5,000+ hectares, making it the largest reforestation initiative in Nicaragua.
  • 1,518,386 tonnes of projected CO2 removals (aka carbon offsets).

Overview of CommuniTree’s Impacts in 2020



Tracking Every Farmer, Dollar, Tonne, Tree, and Hectare…


In 2020, CommuniTree continued making great progress with its FARM-TRACE tracking software. Developed in collaboration with the University of British Columbia, FARM-TRACE empowers project supporters to delve into ALL aspects of the project’s activity since inception, including farmer info and tree locations. It has to be seen to be believed! As noted in the annual report, FARM-TRACE has now been rolled out in 8 other countries and is on track become an official monitoring approach under the Plan Vivo Foundation Carbon Standard, the oldest forest carbon standard in the world.

We met Roger Antonio Valladarez Garcia during our project visit in 2016, and below is his FARM-TRACE dashboard snapshot as of today. You can check out the full project at https://app.farm-trace.com/en/communitree/.

Overview of CommuniTree & COTAP

Learn more about the CommuniTree project at https://COTAP.org/Nicaragua and offset your CO2 emissions through this project here:

4 car donation case studies

December 1st, 2020

COTAP has partnered with CARS! Founded in 2003, CARS is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and respected leader in the vehicle donation space that has supported over 3,500 nonprofits. Learn more on our car donation page here.

The below case studies reveal that, on average, a COTAP vehicle donation counteracts 234.13% of the vehicle’s “tailpipe emissions” while generating $1,698.77 for our projects. Because all COTAP projects are certified by the Plan Vivo carbon standard, which requires that projects share a minimum of 60% of carbon revenues with participating communities, it follows that the average COTAP car donation creates at least $1,019.26 in earnings for some of the world’s poorest communities.

Case Study #1


On December 31, 2020, a donor from Fairfax, Virginia used CARS’ online form to pledge a 2004 Toyota Matrix with 110,096 miles on it. This donor stipulated that the net proceeds go towards offsetting evenly to all COTAP projects – in Nicaragua, Uganda, India, Fiji, Indonesia, and Mexico. The car was picked up on January 9th and on January 13thit was sold at auction for $2,200. Selling expenses were $130 for auction fees and $2.78 in miscellaneous costs. That left $2,067.22, 30% of which CARS charges as its fee.

On February 4th, COTAP received payment from CARS for $1,447.05. At our offsetting rate of $15/tonne, the donor is offsetting 96.47 tonnes to our partner projects, which will receive $217.06 each and $1,302.35 overall.

So, not only did this donor get rid of a car they no longer wanted/needed, they’ll also got a tax deduction (assuming they itemize!). Further, they’re addressing their unavoidable carbon emissions, helping to protect and restore landscapes all over the world, and creating income for rural communities.

Speaking of carbon emissions, the 96.47 tonnes offset compensates for 298.76% of the tailpipe carbon emissions generated by the donated car! Plugging the above 110,096 miles and 30 mpg (For mpg, we Google the model/year) into our calculator yielded 32.29 tonnes. In this example, the car donation is not only negating the tailpipe emissions for the original owner, but it’s also likely negating the tailpipe emissions for the remaining life of the car.

Case Study #2


On June 7th, 2020, a donor from Atlanta, Georgia called the above number and pledged to donate a 2013 Buick Encore with 190,879 miles on it. They stipulated that the net proceeds go towards offsetting with our Uganda partner project – Trees for Global Benefits. The car was picked up on June 10th and on June 18th it was sold at auction for $3,200. Selling expenses were $70 for towing, $50 for auction fees, and $2.78 misc. That left $3,077.22, 30% of which CARS charges as its fee.

On July 2nd, COTAP received payment from CARS for $2,154.05. At our offsetting rate of $15/tonne, the donor is offsetting 143.603 tonnes to our partner project in Uganda, which will receive $1,938.65.

The 143.603 tonnes offset more than compensates for the carbon emissions generated by the donated car. Plugging the above 190,879 miles and 25 mpg into our calculator yielded 67.18 tonnes. Again, this donation is negating the original owner’s tailpipe emissions as well as the tailpipe emissions for the remaining life of the car.

Case Study #3


On May 31st, 2020, a donor from Glendale, Arizona pledged to donate a 2012 Ford Focus SE with 168,537 miles on it. They chose for the net proceeds go towards offsetting evenly across all COTAP projects. The car was picked up on July 6th and on August 22nd it was sold at auction for $2,400. Selling expenses for towing, auction, and DMV fees etc. totaled $145.78, which left $2,254.22, 30% of which CARS charges as its fee.

On September 17th, COTAP received payment from CARS for $1,577.95. At our offsetting rate of $15/tonne, this donor is evenly offsetting 105.197 tonnes across all of our partner projects in Nicaragua, Uganda, India, Fiji, Indonesia, and Mexico. That’s 17.53 tonnes and $236.69 per project.

As in the first case study, the donor got rid of an unwanted car, got a tax deduction, and addressed their unavoidable emissions. What’s different this time is that they are not just protecting/restoring forests and empowering rural communities in Uganda… they’re creating those benefits all over the planet! Neither approach (one project vs. all projects) is better than the other, it’s just the donor’s preference on whether they want to focus their impacts in one region vs. “spreading the love.”

So, did this car donation offset fully compensate for 168,537 miles driven in a 2012 Ford Focus SE? We used 26 mpg, which is the lower end of the car’s fuel efficiency rating. The result? 57.03 tonnes. Similar to the first case study, this donation is not only compensating for the car’s tailpipe emissions for the original owner, but also for the tailpipe emissions for the remaining life of the car.

Case Study #4


On August 21st, 2020, a donor from Garden City, New York pledged to donate a 2005 Lexus RX 330 with 165,000 miles on it. They chose for the net proceeds go towards offsetting evenly across all COTAP projects. The car was picked up on August 25th and on October 27th it was sold at auction for $3,550. Selling expenses for towing, auction, and DMV fees etc. totaled $162.78, which left $3,387.22, 30% of which CARS charges as its fee.

On November 5th, COTAP received payment from CARS for $2,371.05. At our offsetting rate of $15/tonne, this donor is evenly offsetting 158.07 tonnes across all of our partner projects in Nicaragua, Uganda, India, Fiji, Indonesia, and Mexico. That’s 26.345 tonnes and $355.66 per project! Using the car’s average mpg rating of 22 miles per gallon, this car’s tailpipe emissions (from the original owner’s 165,000 miles) were 65.99 tonnes of CO2. By donating this car, the original owner compensated for 239.5% of the tailpipe emissions generated by driving it 165k miles.

In Summary…


The donor, CARS, COTAP, and our partner projects all come out ahead significantly and in ways that would not be possible without this very unique, meaningful, and symbiotic partnership!

Trees for Global Benefits 2018 Year in Review

January 18th, 2019

Part 3 of Our Interview with Pauline Nantongo Kalunda


Kicking off our 2018 Trees for Global Benefits (TGB) highlights is the final installment of our 3-part discussion about the project, one of about 20 video interviews we conducted during our visit in March (more on that below). It begins with a discussion about “additionality,” or how the project wouldn’t be occurring as a result of government policy or without sales of its certified carbon credits. You’ll also learn about Uganda’s Constitution Amendment Bill of 2017, how the project helps participants obtain formal recognition of their land rights (a topic often referred to as “land tenure”), and how TGB facilitates participation by individuals with extremely small landholdings. We also cover the Community Carbon Fund (CCF), TGB’s large waitlist of future beneficiary farmers, and how Ecotrust manages supply and demand.

 

 

Celebrating 15 Years of TGB


Started in 2003 with 33 farmers in the Rubirizi and Mitooma districts, TGB has now expanded to over 12 districts and nearly 7,000 farmer participants, making it the largest agroforestry carbon scheme in the world! To celebrate, Ecotrust published this cool and informative ‘story map’ which charts TGB’s growth (click image to open):

 

2018 also marked 10 years of TGB support from Max Burgers, a climate-conscious Swedish hamburger chain which, among other things, lists each food item’s CO2 emissions on its menus. Ecotrust marked this milestone with another story map focusing on environmental and social impacts created by Max’s support.

Jane Goodall Recognizes Ecotrust as part of HWC Resilience Fund


At the Jane Goodall Institute Uganda (JGI) Annual Event in June, Ecotrust was among several implementing partners  recognized by Jane Goodall herself for their role in the implementation of the Human Wildlife Conflict (HWC) Resilience Fund. JGI, Ecotrust, and Chimp Trust are implementing an 18-month conservation project which aims to enhance community resilience to losses from wildlife incursions in the in the Albertine Rift, which ranks first out of the 119 distinct terrestrial eco-regions of continental Africa in terms of endemic animal species. The project aims to enhance wildlife protection by mitigating negative HWC livelihood impacts for communities living in and around the vital wildlife migratory corridors which connect forest reserves protected under the jurisdiction of the National Forestry Authority (NFA).

Multiple Appearances on NTV Uganda


In 2018, Ecotrust had two high-profile appearances on NTV Uganda which can be viewed below. The first is a general feature of TGB as part of the NTVGREEN series, and the second is Pauline discussing the conservation of Uganda’s big cats with WWF country director David Duli and Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, Minister of Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities.

Additional Ecotrust/TGB Updates


Here’s a roundup of selected items straight from Ecotrust’s news page:

  • In Q1, the project announced grants of UGX 15 million (about US$ 4,042) to four community groups. One grantee, the Mubuku Integrated Farmers Association (MIFA), received solar lamps worth UGX 4,053,000 for their project “Kick Kerosene lamps out of Mubuku landscape,” an initiative for empowering MIFA members by simultaneously improving health and literacy.
  • In March, the project endured a weeklong visit by COTAP! We spent 7 days learning about farmers’s TGB experiences by talking to about 16 participants in the Kasese and Rubirizi districts. In addition, we spoke with Ecotrust ED Pauline Nantongo Kalunda in Kampala, field staff like Winnie Namwirya, and Richard Akora, owner of a nursery which supplies seedlings to TGB farmers.
  • Ecotrust participated in conservation events across the country, inncluding a World Wildlife Day festival in Kasese, Water and Environment Week in Entebbe, and World Wetlands Day in Arua district, as well as various government policy/planning/training workshops and meetings which are too numerous to list!

Get Future Updates Directly from Ecotrust


You can get caught up on Ecotrust’s news through their website’s archive here and sign up here to get future TGB updates directly and as soon as they’re announced.

 

 

When you donate to TGB, you’re not only offsetting your unavoidable CO2 emissions, you’re also restoring landscapes and supporting farmers like Beatrice Tubamwenda, pictured below. She is earning a total of $610.40 for planting and maintaining 400 trees which are capturing and sequestering 203.4 tonnes of CO2!

Spotlight on Nicaragua

November 27th, 2018

Update on Political Unrest




In April, hundreds of thousands of Nicaraguans took to the streets to protest the policies of president Daniel Ortega and demand that he step down. Our partner Taking Root issued an initial update on this situation in April, and then another in June.  These updates explained how CommuniTree’s operations have been largely unaffected and emphasized how community reforestation – a long term bet on livelihoods, the planet, and the future – is now more important than ever.  Although things have settled down somewhat since June, these political issues remain unresolved and so tensions and anxiety remain.

 

 

Improving outcomes by analyzing data from Outer Space



In October, the project announced that it partnered with Belgian data scientist Pello Múgica Gonzalez (pictured) to analyze satellite reforestation data combined with data collected on-the-ground through the project’s pioneering Farm Trace system.  Gonzalez’ work will help CommuniTree optimize its data-driven and cost-effective approach to ensuring tree survival in the remote regions where the project operates, including the creation of predictive algorithms which identify problems and recommend fixes… before the problems even arise! To learn more about CommuniTree’s application of technology to smallholder reforestation, go here.


Presenting Taking Root’s Model to the United Nations



Dr. Kahlil Baker and Elvin Castellon, Taking Root’s Canadian and Nicaraguan directors, presented CommuniTree’s smallholder reforestation model to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome, Italy. FAO invited Taking Root to present how the project generates millions of dollars of farmer income and utilizes a sophisticated and data-driven approach to manage its activities.

Additional Updates


  • Photo albums of this year’s planting season can be found here for Q3, here for Q2, and here for Q1. In case you missed them, all photos from 2017 are here.
  • This month, Taking Root’s co-founders were presented with the Meritorious Service Cross from Julie Payette, the Governor General of Canada. They were recognized alongside 36 other Canadians – including community volunteers to scientists, actors, members of the military, scholars, and everyday citizens – as individuals who have performed exceptional accomplishments which set an example for others to follow while bringing honor to Canada as a whole.
  • The project has partnered with Peter Schleifenbaumn, founder of one of Canada’s largest and most sustainably-managed private forests. Peter is supporting Taking Root’s model through a new form of conservation finance, where funds invested into the launch of the project’s woodcrafts business will be re-invested into sustainable forest management and expansion.  Check out the project’s woodcrafts for sale here.

Get Future Updates Directly from Taking Root


You can sign up here to get updates about CommuniTree, Nicaragua directly and as soon as they’re announced by our partner Taking Root.

 

 

When you donate to CommuniTree, you’re not only offsetting your unavoidable CO2 emissions, you’re also restoring landscapes and supporting farmers like Doroteo Benavidez Cruz and Elba Catalina, pictured below. They’ve earned $1,798.04 for planting and maintaining 3,355 trees which are capturing and sequestering 744 tonnes of CO2!

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.

new-repeat-client-logos-summer-2016-newsletter


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 ->


press-logos-summer-2016-newsletter


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