A new approach to valuing the services provided by nature is the key to protecting the world’s rainforests whilst reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Achieving this is one of the key steps towards transforming the Paris Agreement on climate change into visible action.
To meet this goal the High Carbon Stock Approach (HCSA) must play a more prominent role in developing climate finance opportunities by making the value of forests clear, and linking them with both carbon targets and climate finance goals, proposed Aida Greenbury, Managing Director Sustainability, Asia Pulp & Paper Group and Co-Chair of the HCSA Steering Group during a HCS Steering Group event at COP22 in Morocco.
HCSA is a methodology to assess natural landscapes that distinguishes forest areas for protection from degraded lands. Crucially it provides a common standard for defining forests by measuring the carbon and biodiversity within them. This enables the value generated by protecting natural forest landscapes to be calculated and thus enable investors to understand their contribution in meeting climate change goals. With the HCSA approach increasingly becoming a common standard, it is time to use it to help achieve the Paris Agreement.
With the economic benefits provided by the natural environment to the global economy worth at least $125 trillion annually and the economic cost of inaction high on the agenda at COP22 now is the time to push for a more systematic approach to valuing the goods and services provided by the world’s ecosystems that communities and businesses rely on. Doing so will not only enable investors to better determine the value of their investments but also understand the risks and returns as they decide how best to deploy their resources. Putting an economic value on landscapes makes their value relatable to the Paris Agreement and climate finance.
It’s time we recognised that effectively addressing climate change means speaking the language of finance and business.
Aida Greenbury, Managing Director Sustainability, Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP) and Co-Chair of the HCSA Steering Group said:
“It’s time we recognised that effectively addressing climate change means speaking the language of finance and business. Doing so will enable businesses to properly understand development decisions, investors to better understand risk and strike the right balance between economic development and conservation.“
Approaches which help to calculate and demonstrate the value of Natural Capital, such as the use of the High Carbon Stock Approach (HCSA) and assessments of High Conservation Values (HCV) have supported APP in objectively quantifying and demonstrating the value of natural forests in maintaining and improving productivity in the business’ supply chain’s pulpwood plantations, something that has been integrated into APP’s Integrated Sustainable Forest Management Plans.
“The HCSA is not only essential for innovative no deforestation approaches, but is also an important component to demonstrating the value of the Natural Capital present in tropical regions. Something we will be focusing on here at COP is how the HCSA could help investors looking to quantify the value of natural forests to do just that. It is scientific approaches such as these that will enable commitment to be turned into action, by making it possible to link goals such as emissions avoidance with practical steps – in this case funding rainforest protection.
“Assigning a financial value to Natural Capital, makes it possible to match climate change targets and funding with tangible action on the ground. This is the missing link. Not all businesses fully understand their dependency on natural resources and the risk or return potential presented by climate change. At the same time avoiding the worst impacts of climate change means that we must ramp up engagement by the business community. Speaking their language and explaining the business implications of climate change is one way to do so” concluded Ms Greenbury.
APP will be participating in a range of events during the COP22 conference including the Global Landscapes Forum on the 16th of November 2016.