What makes a great sustainability partnership? Meet our award winners, the LEAF Coalition

The LEAF team recieved the award at edie's London ceremony in March (pictured)

Ending tropical deforestation by 2030 is a crucial part of meeting global climate, biodiversity, and sustainable development goals. Tropical forests have an invaluable role to play by absorbing carbon from the atmosphere. Protecting tropical forests offers one of the biggest opportunities for climate action in the coming decade – providing almost a quarter of cost-effective mitigation by 2030.

Despite the massive potential of nature-based solutions to mitigate climate change, they currently receive less than 10% of public climate finance. Only by combining public and private finance will there be sufficient financing to change the trajectory of economic development in forest countries towards sustainable development.

Click here for more information on the edie Awards 2023. 

LEAF brings together the public and private sectors, drawing upon the diplomatic and technical resources from both sectors to raise global climate ambition. The initiative unlocks private demand by providing a floor price guarantee of at least $10 per tonne of emissions reduced, or almost double what is presently offered in the voluntary carbon market. Public donors underwrite the price guarantee as an efficient and high-leverage means of deploying finance for forest protection.

The project aims to mobilize 100 million tonnes of emissions reductions (tCO2e) over five years, representing at least $1bn in financing for tropical forest countries. For reference, the entire voluntary carbon market recorded transaction volume of about 104 million tCO2e in 2019.

To work towards this goal, Emergent – a mission-driven non-profit organisation – coordinates the LEAF Coalition via a central Core Advisory Group consisting of three sovereign contributors and three private sector buyers. This is underpinned by five working groups targeting areas critical for the Coalition’s success.

LEAF deals only with emissions reductions from deforestation verified against the independent ART/ TREES standard, which has stringent rules to embed human rights and ecological protection in each credit.

ART/TREES credits follow strong environmental and social safeguards: emissions reductions must happen in line with UN Cancun Safeguards, protecting both people and nature. And, before funding is provided to any country, independent third-party verification ensures that reductions in deforestation are real and that funds are used to environmental and social benefit.

LEAF received an overwhelming response to its initial call for proposals issued on 22 April 2021. It received more than 30 proposals from jurisdictions which together encompass around half a billion hectares of forest. This response clearly demonstrates the significant resolve in participating jurisdictions to halt deforestation.

LEAF embraces a vision of utmost demand-side integrity. As such, emission reductions outside a company’s value chain are complementary to – and do not replace – internal emissions abatement.

All companies joining LEAF adopt science-based targets or equivalent to ensure internal abatement keeps pace with global decarbonisation pathways. Several companies wanting to join LEAF have already accelerated the ambition of their climate strategies in order to meet the scheme’s high-bar criteria.

edie’s judges said: “In this highly competitive category, The LEAF Coalition stood out based on the sheer significance and scale of the impact that it could have when it comes to mobilising finance to protect forests, and ultimately halting deforestation.”

Are you our next winner?

Now in its 16th year, the world’s largest sustainable business awards scheme – formerly known as the Sustainability Leaders Awards – continues to champion bold and brilliant climate leadership. From the most ambitious net-zero carbon programmes through to cutting-edge green innovations; from impactful climate partnerships and social sustainability initiatives to the heroes on the ground who are driving positive change.

The edie Awards are hosted during our flagship Business Leadership Month, offering a unique opportunity to have your sustainability achievements recognised and admired by thousands of businesses and climate experts. Winning an edie Award empowers teams, inspires stakeholders and accelerates sustainable business growth.

Entries for the awards are NOW OPEN and the deadline for entries is Friday (21 October). The winners will then be revealed at a ceremony in London on 30 March 2023. Click here for full details and to enter. 


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