Ready, offset, go

Kenya Airways’ carbon offsetting programme in conjunction with Wildlife Works aims to give you the feel-good factor whenever you choose to fly and offset your emissions

Did you know that all passengers who fly on Kenya Airways can help to protect endangered wildlife, improve communities’ livelihoods and fight climate change by ticking a simple box when they book a ticket and choosing to voluntarily offset the carbon emissions produced by their flight? This is a credible IATA (International Air Transport Association) approved way to take responsibility for unavoidable carbon emissions.

How it works
When you book your seat, the inbuilt IATA carbon calculator works out the level of emissions for the flight, based on real airline data, actual fuel burn and travel class, and taking into consideration the load factor, passenger weight and belly cargo for a given journey. Passengers can then voluntarily pay to offset their individual flight. If you’ve forgotten and want to offset your flight on landing, just visit www.climatecare.org

The KQ offsetting programme was developed in conjunction with IATA and climate and development experts ClimateCare. Together they ensure that payments made by passengers are directed to support initiatives that protect the environment and improve lives, in this case, a groundbreaking project in Kenya that protects threatened forests, provides a home to multiple species of endangered wildlife and uplifts an impoverished rural community.

A landmark project
The project was developed by Wildlife Works, the world’s leading REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) project development and management company who take a unique approach to the conservation of forests and biodiversity. REDD+ is a United Nations-envisaged climate change mitigation initiative that aims to save the world’s threatened forests. In 2011 Wildlife Works’ landmark Kasigau Corridor project became the world’s first REDD+ project to be validated and verified under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCB), and was awarded the additional distinction of Gold Level status by the CCB for exceptional biodiversity and climate benefits.

The world’s lungs
The importance of saving the word’s forests cannot be underestimated. Deforestation now accounts for around 20% of all emissions globally – more than the entire transport sector! Forests are vital to the world’s ecosystem, not only for the people who live in and around them, but also the global community. As well as removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, forests support the livelihoods of 1.6 billion people, regulate weather patterns including rainfall, provide a home to over half of the earth’s biodiversity and are the origins of many essential medicines and foods. Given all these factors, it is particularly worrying that forests are disappearing at a rate of 35million acres a year and as a result deforestation produces 7 billion tons of CO2 that go into the atmosphere, making deforestation a lead cause of global warming. The climate cannot be stabilised without protecting the world’s threatened forests.

Kenya Airways are very proud of their Voluntary Carbon Offset programme, because it allows customers to voluntarily support a crucially important local project as well as mitigating the environmental impact of their flights. Located between Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks, the Kasigau Corridor acts as a vital wildlife passageway for a fantastic diversity of over 50 species of large mammals, more than 300 species of birds and important populations of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List endangered and vulnerable species, including Grevy’s Zebras, Cheetahs, Lions, African Wild Dogs and African Elephants. The project protects over 500,000 acres of threatened forest and brings the benefits of the carbon credits bought by companies like KQ to more than 100,000 people in the local communities. Visit www.kenya-airways.com/Home/My_Bookings/Carbon_Offset_Program/ for more details of the KQ Voluntary Carbon Offset programme.

A long history in Kenya
Wildlife Works are no strangers to Kenya, having first arrived over 17 years ago in this very community. Whilst on holiday in the area, founder Mike Korchinsky was shocked to see how local people were forced to destroy the environment to survive. Cattle had grazed the fields into dust, and there was little incentive to combat the outside forces that came to kill the elephants for their ivory and slaughter other wildlife for the bush meat trade – 17 years ago it was rare to see any large mammals at all.

Mike witnessed the human-wildlife conflict and decided to dedicate his life to tackling this problem implementing some novel conservation ideas. The first and most vital was community engagement through the creation of wildlife-friendly jobs. This provides people with a viable economic alternative to destroying habitat for farming or killing wildlife for meat or money. With the communities’ support, Wildlife Works employed local people as rangers and forged a partnership with the Kenya Wildlife Service to keep outsiders from killing the wildlife. The aim was to find a solution where local communities want to protect the environment because it works for them, hence the name “Wildlife Works”.

Job creation
The team started out by setting up a T-shirt factory in the heart of the project area. The eco-factory originally hired seven local women, but has grown to employ over 75 members of the community. The staff are now proud to produce beautiful garments under the Wildlife Works label, all carbon neutral and made from organic and fair- trade cotton. They also create garments for Puma.

Many new job-creating activities have since been set up to address other social and economic needs of the local community providing over 400 members of the local community with jobs, for example, conservation rangers, horticulturalists, teachers, carbon monitors, construction workers, community liaison staff and administrative personnel. Wildlife Works sees empowering local people with sustainable livelihoods as the key to protecting the forest in the long-term, and uses part of the proceeds from carbon offset sales to fund entrepreneurship activities and support various local social groups. The carbon offset programme also funds a community trust from which the community makes investments in other projects of critical importance to them.

Supporting the local community
Illegal charcoal production is one of the main causes of deforestation in the area and indeed throughout Eastern Africa, so Wildlife Works has set up a sustainable charcoal production facility. Here, twigs and sticks no thicker than a finger are pruned from specific trees in certain areas, burned to char in barrels, and then compressed into bricks that burn more efficiently and at no cost to the nearby forests. This process directly addresses deforestation in the area and creates a viable economic alternative through a small enterprise business opportunity.

Lack of water is another major underlying cause of deforestation and poverty in this region, and it lies at the heart of many other nutrition and health issues. Families who are unable to produce a crop on one plot of land because of dry soil will cut down a neighbouring area of forest in the hope that the next plot of land will provide a better harvest. Wildlife Works has therefore set up a number of agricultural intensification programmes and repaired and built several projects that improve access to water. The Sasenyi Rock Catchment, for example, was completed earlier this year and now provides water for up to 8000 people on a weekly basis. Women and children no longer have to walk many miles and waste hours on a daily basis in search of water, so their time   can be better spent looking for alternative income-generating activities and attending school. With better quality water, the health and hygiene of local families is greatly enhanced.

It is not just the local people that receive help: Wildlife Works have a vast area of animals and birds to look after. Since they have been in Africa, the team has witnessed first-hand the increase in ivory poachers. Over 100 brave rangers diligently patrol the project area unarmed, and regularly come face-to-face with sophisticated gangs who kill the elephants and sell the ivory to satisfy demand for religious icons, trinkets and jewellery.

It is vital that we all support the next generation of Kenyans. Children in the Kasigau Corridor project area know the importance of school and highly value education. They are fiercely ambitious, having seen how much their parents have to sacrifice to pay their school fees and having witnessed how education and a job can truly transform quality of life. Prior to this project, it was very rare for students to attend university. Last year alone, Wildlife Works funded more than 1800 promising young Kenyans into secondary school, college and university, and have built and renovated over 20 local classrooms.

“Projects like the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ exist and thrive thanks to the support of people like you, who choose to offset their emissions with projects that protect the environment and improve lives,” explains ClimateCare Director Edward Hanrahan. “This offset scheme gives you a chance to participate and support a project that proves rural communities can sustainably grow, change, improve, and create the future they want, while protecting precious environments and wildlife.”

About us: ClimateCare
ClimateCare mobilises the power and scale of private finance to deliver projects with positive environmental and social impacts around the world. We combine the vision of a social enterprise and the commercial experience of an investment bank. Leveraging mainstream funding, we profitably deliver some of the largest, most successful corporate sustainability initiatives in the world.

From offices in Africa, Europe and Asia Pacific we help many of the world’s leading brands, organisations and governments scale up the impact of their initiatives. By investing their resources in projects that directly combat climate change and poverty, improve health and increase community welfare, we build better futures for millions of people around the world. • Find out more at www.climatecare.org

Wildlife Works
Wildlife Works is the voluntary carbon market’s leading REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) project development and management company. REDD+ is an essential climate change mitigation strategy originated by the United Nations, designed to help stop the destruction of the world’s forests.

Over a 17-year history, Wildlife Works has established a successful model that uses the emerging marketplace for REDD+ carbon credits to protect threatened forests and endangered wildlife while at the same time uplifting impoverished communities.

The essence of the Wildlife Works REDD+ conservation strategy is based on job creation. Jobs create a viable alternative for people who have previously had to destroy their environment just to survive.

Wildlife Works has developed a sustainable and scalable business model that delivers unprecedented environmental and social benefits to seriously impoverished parts of Africa and the world that are in need of the transformational change that Wildlife Works REDD+ projects can bring.