VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA and SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA--(Marketwire - Dec. 19, 2012) - ERA Carbon Offsets Ltd. (TSX VENTURE:ESR)(FRANKFURT:9EA) and Wildlife Works Carbon LLC are pleased to announce the successful validation, verification and issuance of 2.5 million tonnes of Verified Emission Reductions from the first REDD+ project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The Mai Ndombe REDD+ project is the world's largest REDD+ project to achieve validation and verification under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). Additionally, Mai Ndombe has received double Gold Level validation and verification from the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance Standard (CCBA), recognizing its exceptional climate change adaptation and biodiversity benefits. Covering 299,645 hectares of land, this former logging concession in Bandundu Province will avoid approximately 5.6 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year, and more than 175 million tonnes of emissions over the 30-year life of the project. Internationally recognized auditing firm Det Norske Veritas conducted the audits of the Mai Ndombe REDD+ project.
H.E. Mr. Bavon N'sa Mputu Elima, Minister of Environment, Nature Conservation And Tourism of the DRC stated, "The Ministry welcomes the validation and verification of this project in two rigorous standards - the Verified Carbon Standard and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance Standard. The Department is pleased to work with ERA-Congo and its partners ERA Carbon Offsets and Wildlife Works for the protection of forests in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the improvement of local community livelihoods through REDD+ projects."
The project area is part of the world's second largest intact rainforest, after the Amazon and is part of the Ngiri-Tumba-Mai Ndombe wetland, recognized under the Ramsar Convention as the largest wetland of international importance in the world. It is home to a forest community of approximately 50,000 Congolese villagers and a wide array of biodiversity including highly endangered forest elephants and bonobos, which have been negatively impacted due to pressure from logging and poaching activities.
The local communities will receive direct benefits from the project in the form of jobs, schools, health clinics, improved food security through better agronomy and redevelopment of robust native fish stocks, capacity building of local NGOs and Community Based Organizations (CBOs), all financed through a transparent and equitable sharing of the carbon revenues.
"As someone who knows personally the hardships that families in these forest communities have to bear, I am overjoyed at the benefits this REDD+ project will bring, making a brighter future for 50,000 of my friends, family members and compatriots in Mai Ndombe," said local project Manager Jean-Robert Bwangoy Bankanza.
Jeremy Freund, Wildlife Works' Vice President of Carbon Development stated, "The success of Mai Ndombe demonstrates that robust VCS methodologies for monitoring, reporting and verification can scale to make REDD+ highly significant to the future conservation and protection of the Congo Basin Rainforest and its people, and beyond that, to threatened forest communities around the globe. This is good for the forests, the people who depend upon them, and the governments who create land use policy."
In addition to the direct benefits that will be received by the project area communities, the Government of the DRC will also receive a substantial portion of the income derived from the Mai Ndombe project, ensuring that REDD+ and its many benefits deliver a financially competitive alternative to logging the rich forests of the Congo Basin.
Dr. James Tansey, CEO of ERA states, "We are very proud of the immense amount of work and effort that has allowed the Mai Ndombe REDD+ project to grow from an idea generated by individuals within the community of Mai Ndombe, to a recognized world first conservation concession for the Congo Basin Rainforest. I'd like to recognize both the pioneering vision of the DRC government for their commitment to REDD, as well as the vision and support of the people of Mai Ndombe, who are bringing it to life."
A Joint Venture between ERA and Wildlife Works has both companies cooperating on project finance, technical development, implementation, and sales of carbon credits generated from the Mai Ndombe REDD+ project. The project is listed on the VCS website (www.v-c-s.org) and the Markit Environmental Registry (www.markit.com). The Mai Ndombe REDD+ is proud to be part of CODE REDD (www.coderedd.com).
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) was originated by the United Nations (UN) to help stop the destruction of the world's forests. "REDD+" goes beyond deforestation and includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks among other benefits.
About Wildlife Works LLC
Wildlife Works is the carbon market's leading REDD+ project development and management company, applying innovative market based solutions to the conservation of biodiversity. Over a 15 year history, Wildlife Works established a successful model that uses the emerging marketplace for REDD+ to protect threatened forests, wildlife, and uplift impoverished local communities. The company is recognized for developing the world's first REDD project to successfully achieve issuance of REDD+ carbon credits under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), and the Climate, Community, and Biodiversity Standard (CCB). For more information visit www.wildlifeworks.com. For further information, please contact PR@wildlifeworks.com.
About ERA Carbon Offsets Ltd.
As Canada's largest and most diversified carbon management solutions company, ERA Carbon Offsets Ltd. helps organizations understand, reduce and offset their climate impact. Its team of industry leaders specializes in the origination, development and commercialization of high-quality carbon offset projects and is proud to also provide clients with a comprehensive offering of sustainability consultancy services. A merger of ERA Carbon Offsets and Offsetters, ERA Carbon Offsets Ltd. is based in Vancouver, Canada and has worked with over 150 of the world's most prestigious organizations including Aimia, Vancity, lululemon athletica, Catalyst Paper, Harbour Air, HSE - Entega, and Shell Canada Limited. ERA is publicly listed company on the Toronto Venture Exchange (TSX VENTURE:ESR) and in (FRANKFURT:9EA). For more information, please visit us at www.eraecosystems.com and www.offsetters.ca.
FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS: This document includes forward-looking statements as well as historical information. Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the continued advancement of the company's general business development, research development and the company's development of forest-based carbon offsets. When used in this document, the words "anticipate", "believe", "estimate", "expect", "intent", "may", "project", "plan", "should" and similar expressions may identify forward-looking statements. Although ERA Carbon Offsets Ltd. believes that their expectations reflected in these forward looking statements are reasonable, such statements involve risks and uncertainties and no assurance can be given that actual results will be consistent with these forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ from these forward-looking statements include fluctuations in the marketplace for the sale of carbon credits, the inability to implement corporate strategies, the ability to obtain financing and other risks disclosed in our filings made with Canadian Securities Regulators.
NEITHER TSX VENTURE EXCHANGE NOR ITS REGULATION SERVICES PROVIDER (AS THAT TERM IS DEFINED IN THE POLICIES OF THE TSX VENTURE EXCHANGE) ACCEPTS RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ADEQUACY OR ACCURACY OF THIS RELEASE.