LEAF Coalition Delivers for Tropical Forests and Forest Defenders

Statement of Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp

November 2, 2021
Cristina Mestre, (212) 616-1268, cmestre@edf.org

At the COP 26 summit in Glasgow today, the LEAF (Lowering Emissions and Accelerating Forest Finance) Coalition announced it has mobilized $1 billion in public and private financing to stop tropical deforestation and added seven additional companies to its global effort: BlackRock, Burberry, EY, Inditex, Intertek, SAP, and Walmart.org. The LEAF Coalition, which now has nearly 20 business members, represents the largest private sector commitment to date to protect healthy tropical forests and support sustainable development that delivers significant benefits to Indigenous peoples and forest communities.

In response, EDF president Fred Krupp issued the following statement:

“We cannot solve climate change unless we stop deforestation, and we cannot stop deforestation without accelerated investment from the private sector that helps forest communities. Large-scale tropical forest protection is critical to bringing down climate pollution in the near- and medium-term, and to supporting Indigenous people and other forest defenders.

“LEAF’s record-setting investment is just the beginning: It builds on important ongoing efforts to develop a global high-integrity market system that drives resources to keep forests standing and cut emissions, fast. It’s the key to making sure that trees are worth more alive than dead.

“To be leaders on climate, businesses must invest in rapidly reducing their own climate pollution as well as in high-quality carbon credits and other actions outside their value chains that can slash pollution faster, stimulate innovation, and help address urgent global priorities such as protecting our planet’s tropical forests. The LEAF program is a  powerful way for companies to do just that: go beyond the pollution reductions that they can achieve in the near-term, and immediately contribute to an essential component of the global climate solution.

“It’s encouraging to see more business leaders take action by joining LEAF and putting investments behind their climate commitments. The urgency of the climate crisis demands that other companies follow suit, fast. Investments in carbon credits (including carbon removal) should be in addition to – not in place of – a science-based strategy to reduce emissions directly, and at the speed and scale that the science demands.”

Fred Krupp, President, Environmental Defense Fund

In 2019 EDF set up Emergent, the group facilitating LEAF, because we saw the need for a new, innovative financing facility that could catalyze a high-quality market for forest carbon/jurisdictional REDD+ credits. EDF’s Ruben Lubowski is a senior advisor for Emergent. EDF also helped to create the Architecture for REDD+ Transactions (ART), whose standard The REDD+ Environmental Excellence Standard (TREES) is used as the basis for the emissions reductions purchased through LEAF.

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