This is the third in a monthly blog series about our forest conservation projects in Brazil. This month's blog highlights the extraordinary community benefits at the Russas and Valparaiso Projects.
The Southwestern Amazon, specifically along the Juruá and Valparaiso Rivers in the State of Acre, Brazil, is home to our Russas and Valparaiso Projects. These forest conservation projects collectively cover approximately 158,000 acres and are being designed and implemented in tandem. The Valparaiso Project is currently undergoing validation to the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCBS), while the Russas Project recently achieved validation to the VCS and to the Gold Level of the CCBS for the Project's exceptional community benefits.
To achieve Gold Level of the CCBS for exceptional community benefits, projects need to demonstrate that at least 50% of the communities living in the Project Zone earn less than the national poverty line. Next, projects need to specifically involve the poorest community members and must have a specialized community impact monitoring plan with the ability to monitor the projects' impact on these poorest community members.
The Russas and Valparaiso Projects both use a Basic Necessity Survey for their specialized community impact monitoring plan. The way a Basic Necessity Survey works is by beginning with a local focus group to identify the top 20-30 assets or services which were believed to be basic necessities, or things that no one in the communities should have to live without. Then the Project Proponents, comprised of CarbonCo, Carbon Securities and the private landowners, individually surveyed local families and only those assets or services which at least 50% of the families deemed a basic necessity were included in the final calculations of a poverty index and poverty score. In addition to a poverty index and poverty score, the Project Proponents will continue to monitor community impact variables such as the value of owned assets, value of owned assets per person, inequality of owned assets, and the inequality of owned assets per person.
The Project Proponents identified the particular needs of the families within the lowest 25% of the families surveyed via the Basic Necessity Survey and then designed the Project in order for these families to benefit substantially from the Project. This includes addressing some of their specific needs, such as increasing access to transportation and focusing on agricultural extension courses. The Project is also designed with the goal of increasing their incomes in order for them to eventually purchase additional assets, such as a telephone or television, to satisfy their other basic needs. Furthermore, the Project Proponents identified and actively work to avoid scenarios which might prevent the poorest 25% of communities from benefiting substantially from the Project.
The Russas and Valparaiso Projects reduce tropical deforestation and preserve the area's rich biodiversity, which is a critical need in and of itself, but they surpass that need by directly improving the livelihoods of local families. Creating a win-win is what CarbonCo, LLC is all about. We love when our projects benefit both the environment and local communities and we thank you for your ongoing support to continue making these win-wins happen!