Deforestation and land degradation are responsible for up to 20 per cent of global GHG emissions and are the largest sources of emissions in many developing countries. Forest resources also contribute directly to the livelihoods of 90 per cent of the 1.2 billion people living in abject poverty. GHG emissions will remain an inevitable part of BHP Billiton’s business even with low-emissions technology becoming more effective and commercially viable. As a result, identifying cost-effective and robust offsets (carbon credits) is important to meeting future GHG emissions reduction commitments.
REDD+ is an international mechanism established under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that provides economic, social and environmental incentives for developing countries to reduce GHG emissions from deforestation and related activities through the creation of carbon credits. Simply put, REDD+ is a mechanism that values the carbon potential of forests, encourages conservation and improves livelihoods. Our climate change strategy aims to demonstrate the validity of the REDD+ mechanism and the value it offers the private sector by focusing on three aspects: governance, project support and market stimulation.
In FY2015, BHP Billiton funded the development and launch of the Consolidated Guide to the REDD+ Rules under the UNFCCC, in conjunction with law firm Baker & McKenzie. The Guide consolidates key UNFCCC rules on REDD+ into a simple yet comprehensive document to assist governments and other interested parties in ongoing international REDD+ negotiations or when implementing REDD+ domestically.
Supporting quality REDD+ projects is important to demonstrate successful approaches to project risk management during implementation. After considering several potential options, in June 2016 we committed to support the Alto Mayo REDD+ project, managed by Conservation International Peru.
BHP Billiton will provide approximately US$5 million to Conservation International Peru for the project over two years (commencing FY2017). This aims to contribute to alternative livelihood opportunities, including sustainable coffee growing and enhanced forest governance, and to generate 800,000 tonnes of carbon credits. As well as being pivotal to our REDD+ strategy, this investment supports our current public conservation target.
In FY2016, we continued to engage with the International Finance Corporation to understand the role of finance mechanisms in supporting REDD+.