In 2005, CI’s Verde Ventures program helped to finance the establishment of Wildlife Works’ eco-factory in Rukinga Kenya as a critical piece of the long term vision of Wildlife Works. Founded in San Francisco in 1997, with an innovative mission based on “consumer-powered conservation,” Wildlife Works aimed to use revenue from the sale of sustainable products to finance wildlife protection efforts in Kenya and around the world.
Now, thirteen years later, Wildlife Works has expanded from selling clothes and accessories to selling something that is more vital to life on Earth, yet also harder to see: carbon. Last month, Wildlife Works Carbon’s REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) project in Kenya’s Kasigau Corridor became the first REDD project in Africa to achieve the GOLD level validation under the Climate Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Alliance’s REDD Standard.
The Kenya project and its designation is a milestone for the expansion of REDD throughout the global carbon marketplace. It serves as a model for other African communities across the continent to conserve threatened natural resources, and provides direct financial incentives, helping them combat the effects of climate change and pursue sustainable development.
A contract with South Africa’s Nedbank will allow the project participants to sell the Voluntary Emission Reductions that the Kenya project generates; this new source of income is bringing relief for many community members stricken by drought and poverty, and has already created new job and educational opportunities for local people.
CI is proud to partner with Wildlife Works, and we will continue to support their efforts to integrate conservation and development for a more sustainable future.