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Forests and REDD+

The protection and restoration of tropical forests is one of the most significant opportunities to mitigate climate change over the coming decades, representing one quarter to one-third of cost-effective emissions reductions needed through 2030.1 Forests not only provide climate protection, but also crucial biodiversity benefits and sources of livelihood for indigenous peoples and other forest-dependent communities. But tropical forests and their vast stores of carbon are being destroyed at such a rate that deforestation and forest degradation contribute between 16-19% of total annual global carbon dioxide emissions, with recent estimates ranging as high as 17-33%.2

[1] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Chapter 2: Land-Climate Interactions. In:  Climate Change and Land: an IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems (SRCCL). World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, Switzerland (2019);  R. A. Houghton, B. Beyers, A. A. Nassikas, Negative emissions from stopping deforestation and forest degradation, globally. Global Change Biology. 1-10 (2017).

[2] Seymour, Seymour and Jonah Busch. (2016). Why Forests? Why Now? The Science, Economics of Tropical Forests and Climate Change. Center for Global Development. Washington, DC. More recent estimates put the contribution of tropical forests in the range of 17-33% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Houghton, Richard A, B. Byers, A. A. Nassikas (2017).

REDD+ refers to the global policy effort to preserve, protect, and restore forests in tropical countries. In addition to forest protection and restoration, REDD+ includes sustainable development and green growth elements that offer a viable alternative to the destructive and extractive use of forests. In the context of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), REDD+ is an acronym for “Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries (+)”. The landmark Paris Agreement of 2016 affirmed prior guidelines for REDD+, highlighted tropical forests out of all sectors for their critical role in stabilizing the climate, and encouraged increased financial support based on demonstrated results.

Jurisdictional REDD+ programs refer to national- and provincial-level REDD+ programs that use a jurisdiction wide (e.g. national) accounting framework. Forest protection policies applied uniformly at this level significantly reduce, and in many cases eliminate, the shortcomings of local small-scale forest conservation and restoration projects.

How Emergent Works

Emergent offers high-integrity supply of emission reduction credits from forest protection activities to buyers; while offering guaranteed demand through long-term off-take contracts to jurisdictional-level REDD+ programs. Emergent is priming the market pump that will drive capital toward forest protection on a global scale.

For buyers, Emergent will provide an easy and convenient way to access a diversified portfolio of standardized, verified, high-quality REDD+ credits through a single platform – eliminating the need to negotiate with individual jurisdictions. Emergent facilitates the purchase of credits with multiple tropical forest governments through a non-profit entity that reduces the cost and risk of REDD+ by spreading purchases across jurisdictions and offering direct, forward, and call option credit purchases.

Emergent provides several benefits to forest jurisdictions, including:

  1. Predictable demand through long-term purchase agreements.
  2. Minimum price guarantee for credits verified under the new ART standard.
  3. Access to professional marketing to a wide range of private buyers and ability to benefit from potentially rising carbon market prices when credits are sold.
  4. Flexible contracting approaches for both buyers and sellers to allow flexibility and management of policy and market uncertainties.
Safeguards and Standards

The Architecture for REDD+ Transactions (ART) is a new voluntary standard that will provide a rigorous and comprehensive process to transparently register, verify, and issue REDD+ emissions reduction credits that embody high environmental and social integrity. Under ART, countries will generate verified credits by reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation below a specified crediting level and meeting other requirements as detailed in The REDD+ Environmental Excellency Standard (TREES).

Significant new sources of government and private-sector finance can be mobilized with more rigorous jurisdictional approaches to REDD+ that meet the highest technical, environmental, and social standards, and that are aligned with Paris Agreement commitments. This new architecture aims to provide confidence in the environmental integrity needed to unlock new sources of finance for REDD+ at a national scale.

ART will provide a credible, independent program overseen by an independent Board, and focuses on emissions reductions from REDD+ activities at a national scale. It includes a comprehensive process to transparently register, verify, and issue serialized credits that represent the highest environmental and social integrity and that can be bought and sold by private sector actors.

Once issued, these serialized credits can be sold into voluntary or compliance markets, can be transferred under the Paris Agreement towards meeting Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and increasing ambition, or can be used as a donor pay-for-performance mechanism. Payments for these credits provide financial incentives to countries to continue reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation.


Yes, Emergent is a nonprofit corporation based in the United States and formed under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) section 501(c)(4). Emergent is operated exclusively to promote social and environmental welfare. Emergent will operate as a market actor with the goal of delivering new sources of funding and finance to maximize forest protection, forest restoration, climate change mitigation, and sustainable development. Emergent is managed by a professional management team and is a transactional intermediary connecting jurisdictional REDD+ programs to private sector buyers.

Emergent is governed by an independent Board of Directors. For more information about our board members please refer to our About Us page.