How it Works
When you buy a Stand For Trees certificate, you are directly helping to fight both tropical deforestation and climate change. Not only that, but you are helping to protect some of the world's most spectacular forest landscapes and the communities and wildlife that call them home. Read on below to find out how.
The causes of tropical deforestation
Tropical deforestation is caused by land conversion for crops, like soy beans, palm oil, coffee, cocoa, rubber, rice, and others; pasture for cattle grazing; mining; and resource use, like firewood collection and charcoal or timber production. Whether it happens at the level of small-scale individual actions, large-scale industrial development, or anything in between, the underlying incentive is the same: the need to earn an income.
Tropical forest countries are mostly developing, with few economic opportunities, and people in these countries living near tropical forests often have even fewer. That's why clearing the forests to produce something that can be sold or consumed is often the only way for them to earn money or to feed themselves. If standing forests cannot provide value to these countries and communities, they will always be at risk.
Fortunately, Stand For Trees can help us solve this, through REDD+.
REDD stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation. It's a UN-approved model specially created to address climate change by saving forests. The ‘+' represents all the other things we get from forests: biodiversity, livelihoods, wildlife habitat, and much more.
We know that climate change is going to have devastating consequences for the world, so preventing it is worth a lot. Because forests and their trees, roots, and soils store carbon dioxide (and lots of it), keeping them intact prevents carbon from being released into the atmosphere. And since we can count how much carbon is in the trees we save, we can put a financial value on the standing forests through carbon credits. Once that happens, locals have an alternative to cutting them down, and the carbon stays in the ground.
That's what Stand For Trees certificates represent. More on this below, but in a nutshell, buying one of our certificates means you are helping to create a real alternative to deforestation and to climate change.
That's because someone has to set up a system to send the money to local communities, to patrol the forests, to train locals in other activities, etc. That's what our projects do, and that's where your money goes. But the most important thing is that with Stand For Trees, you're paying for a successful outcome. Compare this to campaigns, which may or may not be successful:
It's like going into a store to buy a product that is proven and ready, versus funding a Kickstarter campaign. (Although of course, campaigns have their place, and can be very successful!)
How REDD+ works
We can say this because our projects use the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) developed by Verra. It's one of two leading standards and has extremely rigorous requirements: a neutral third party must first verify that the forests were under threat, and then regularly verify that the project has succeeded in stopping deforestation, before any carbon credits can be sold.
Each Stand For Trees certificate represents one carbon credit – in other words, one tonne of carbon dioxide not released into the atmosphere as a direct result of the project's activities. Each credit has a unique serial number and is registered on the world's leading environmental registry provider, Markit, which is also used by governments and major businesses. When you make a purchase, the credit is retired permanently, meaning that nobody else can buy that credit: your contribution is yours and yours alone.
But forests aren't incredible places just because they store carbon. That's why all Stand for Trees projects have also obtained Gold level Climate, Community, and Biodiversity (CCB) certification. The CCB standard is also managed by Verra, and is only awarded to projects that can prove they are creating exceptional benefits for local communities, ecosystems, and wildlife. Not only that, it mandates clear alternative development plans that include creating jobs, supporting livelihoods, and improving or providing critical infrastructure and services like schools, health clinics, and water systems, among others. So, when you buy a Stand For Trees certificate, you are:
- preventing a tonne of carbon dioxide from entering the earth's atmosphere
- helping forest communities around the world keep their forests standing
- protecting endangered species and biodiversity
- saving delicate ecosystems
- protecting vital local ecosystem services, like rainfall generation, landslide prevention, and soil erosion control
- creating sustainable livelihoods for local communities
- improving local communities' quality of life, and expanding local services
This means that local residents can pursue sustainable livelihoods that don't rely on the destructive practice of clearing their greatest resource. Communities get healthier and stronger. Vital habitats - many of them home to endangered species - are safeguarded. And fresh air and rainfall are generated for all living things on the planet. We think that's no small thing.