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Archive for the ‘Transparency’ Category

COTAP’s Winter 2015/2016 Newsletter

December 29th, 2015

Due to a 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 Beneficiary Profiles from Uganda and Malawi


Meet (left to right) Musingo Mikhaya, Dorothy and Vekelani Nthala, Daniel Mukhwana, and Petrol Khinda. Together they’re projected to earn $1,567 for planting 1,363 trees which will sequester over 431 tonnes of CO2. Check out their profiles to see how their supplemental carbon offset earnings are improving their lives.



Transparency Updates


Partner Payments & Credit Retirements. In early November we completed project payments to our four projects for tonnes pooled from our individual and business supporters all over the world. We’re currently in the process of retiring these credits, the progress of which can be tracked at COTAP.org/Transparency.

Annual Reports. Since our last project update, the 2014 Malawi and India Annual Reports were approved and posted to our Transparency page, and can be found with all projects’ most recent Annual Reports, Project Design Documents (PDD) and Technical Specifications (TS) in COTAP’s Dropbox folder.



Phase-out of the Sofala Mozambique Project


In February, COTAP paused allocations to Sofala, meaning no money coming in would go towards buying carbon credits from the project until it re-attained good standing. That did not happen. In October, project operator Associação Envirotrade Carbon Livelihoods announced its decision to formally wind down the project.

The project is will thus to be phased out of COTAP and replaced in the coming months. A final third-party verification is underway. When the report is released we’ll share it, along with our plan for addressing any projected CO2 reduction shortfall.



Plan Vivo Foundation Updates


(Full gallery by ZeroMission is here.) From September 28-30, the Plan Vivo Foundation and its longtime partner ZeroMission hosted the biannual Plan Vivo stakeholder event in Sigtuna, Sweden. COTAP met with Plan Vivo staff as well as Kahlil Baker of Taking Root (Nicaragua), Pauline Nantongo Kalunda and Sarah Nachuha of Ecotrust (Uganda), and Ariana Constant of the Clinton Development Initiative (Malawi). Plan Vivo unveiled its brief outlining its very strong alignment with 7 of the 17 recently announced United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals.

Last but not least, Plan Vivo also recently released its annual report and announced that, for the first time, they’re offsetting their own organization carbon emissions… through COTAP!

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

Ecotrust Uganda’s New Interactive Project Map

May 28th, 2015

Ecotrust’s recently-updated website includes 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 you can offset your CO2 emissions through this project here.

COTAP is pausing allocations to the Sofala Project

February 5th, 2015

What We’re Doing and How It Affects Cotappers


Effective February 4 2015, COTAP paused its allocations to Envirotrade’s project in Sofala, Mozambique until further notice. It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean that COTAP is “dropping” the Sofala project or anything draconian like that.

The Sofala project may not be able to generate credits sufficient for satisfying COTAP demand in the near term. This means that if you were offset your CO2 emissions through Sofala today, then it’s quite possible that carbon credit retirements pertaining to your transaction wouldn’t occur until well over a year from now. Credits for Sofala-related transactions occuring before today should be retired by the end of this month.

For those offsetting through all COTAP projects on or after today (2/5/15), your tonnes and funds will be allocated evenly to COTAP’s four other projects in Nicaragua, India, Malawi, and Uganda. The donation rate for both the Nicaragua and Uganda projects has been increased from $8.80 to $9.90 per tonne to maintain our average portfolio rate. As before, 90.9% of offset donations goes to projects and 100% of offsetting costs is tax-deductible for individuals in the U.S.

Factors Affecting Sofala’s Near-Term Availability of Credits


1) Crediting period. When the pioneering Sofala project was initiated in 2002, a 100-year crediting period was not unheard of for forestry carbon projects. That’s changed, and as a measure of good governance, Sofala’s crediting period was reduced to 40 years. As a result, Sofala’s projected net carbon benefit from forest protection or “REDD” which was originally 796,005 tonnes of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e) is now likely to be less than 200,000 tCO2e.

2) Rejected “No Burn” Intervention. Further, the Plan Vivo Foundation has disallowed inclusion of CO2 reductions from a project intervention called “No Burning.” The No Burning intervention counts carbon emissions avoided when farmers agree to not burn agricultural residues. This has further reduced the project’s totals, likely by another 60,000 tCO2e.

3) Other buyers. European orders for Sofala credits have continued to come in, meaning that nearly all credits to be issued upon the 2013 report’s approval by the Plan Vivo Foundation are already spoken for.

4) Planned project lifecycle. The project has always had a finite, planned lifecyle and it ceased signing new agroforestry contracts with farmers in 2009. Sofala has effectively sold out of agroforestry-related credits, and generating more would require a project expansion to more farmers. Such an expansion, in turn, would require a minimum viable size in order to cover its fixed costs. So, the project can’t just accept and fulfill a COTAP order for 2015 vintage credits on the order of a few hundred or even a few thousand tonnes right now.

In total, Sofala’s estimated overall CO2 removals have been reduced from an initial 1.1 million tCO2e to around half of that, with a finalized figure to be disclosed upon the 2013 report’s release.

Additional Issues Influencing The Decision to Pause Allocations


In addition to the above, the project has experienced a significant number of canceled and suspended farmer contracts and is due for a third-party carbon verification in 2015. There have also been gaps in monitoring results and farmer payment data, which are due in part to turnover of Envirotrade staff and which are in the process of being resolved.

It’s COTAP’s prerogative to decide where to allocate tonnes and funds when Cotappers elect “all projects,” as you often do. We could have chosen to continue to include Sofala and either hold onto the funds for them, or pre-pay them, for credits to be issued later, potentially much later. But that comes at the expense of funding for our other projects whose annual reports are on time and who have sufficient available credits. Accordingly, we’ve chosen to pause allocations to Sofala for now.

Return To This Post for Further Updates


The Sofala project has requested approval from the Plan Vivo Foundation for operational and administrative amendments. When and if such amendments are approved, the Sofala project will be able to receive issuance of additional credits beyond what is currently expected, and COTAP allocations to the project could resume shortly thereafter.

All this said, the finalized 2013 report is forthcoming, and so is the one for 2014, the project has not sold more carbon credits than it’s expected to generate, and no issued credits have been invalidated. These issues are resolveable, and so we sincerely look forward to resuming our financial support of this project.

This post is to be updated with further details. Last updated 2/26/15.

February 24, 2014 Transparency Updates

February 24th, 2014


Note added 7/9/14: Due to updates to the Markit Environmental Registry system, the below table’s retirement links no longer work; however, the links have been fixed on our Transparency page.

As of today, here’s how and when Cotappers’ tonnes have been allocated (or are going to be allocated) to our 4 projects. This table is a “snapshot” of where things stand today. The most current table, with examples of how to interpret the allocation of your COTAP transaction(s), can always be found on our Transparency page. To view the respective retirement record, click on the Retirement date:

ProjectBeginEndPaid
RetirementVintage
Nicaragua9/16/1111/4/1211/9/121/7/132012
Nicaragua11/5/124/26/135/3/1312/18/132013
Nicaragua4/27/1312/6/1312/10/131/9/14 (1 of 2)2013
Nicaragua4/27/1312/6/1312/10/131/9/14 (2 of 2)2013
Nicaragua12/7/13TodayTBDTBDTBD
Uganda9/18/111/13/131/16/131/21/132011
Uganda1/14/133/3/133/7/134/4/132010
Uganda3/4/1312/7/1312/10/131/12/14 (1 of 3)2010
Uganda3/4/1312/7/1312/10/131/12/14 (2 of 3)2010
Uganda3/4/1312/7/1312/10/131/12/14 (3 of 3)2010
Uganda12/8/13TodayTBDTBDTBD
Mozambique9/18/111/13/131/18/131/28/132010
Mozambique1/14/136/18/136/19/136/23/132011
Mozambique6/19/131/2/141/24/142/19/14 (1 of 2)2011
Mozambique6/19/131/2/141/24/142/19/14 (2 of 2)2011
Mozambique1/3/14TodayTBDTBDTBD
Malawi10/13/122/14/132/19/133/15/132010
Malawi2/15/1312/9/1312/11/131/9/14 (1 of 2)2010
Malawi2/15/1312/9/1312/11/131/9/14 (2 of 2)2010
Malawi12/10/13TodayTBDTBDTBD

As of today, COTAP owes all of its projects $5,117 for 587 tonnes. COTAP performed a round of partner disbursals in early December in order to promptly and publicly register a business client’s transaction on the Markit Environmental Registry. Shortly thereafter, quite a few more Cotapper transactions occurred in the remainder of December, and then a 303 tonne transaction occurred in late January.

Historically, COTAP’s retirement tonnage per partner payment has averaged about 300 tonnes. Thus, the “what we owe” tonnage (if you divide 587 by our four projects) is consistent with that. We would prefer to disburse Cotappers’ funds to partners more frequently, but we also need to balance that with our transaction costs.