This year, in an international climate summit, three states and nine enterprises have announced their new coalition, called LEAF. The foundation aims to mobilize and raise $1 billion in 2021 to protect tropical rainforests and enable sustainable development. Among the states participating in the initiative are the US, Norway, and the UK. The coalition also includes companies like Amazon, Nestle, Unilever, Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline, and Airbnb.
Enabling sustainable practices
LEAF or Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest finance is an enormous effort shown by global companies to save tropical rainforests. Its goal is to make businesses, governments, and NGOs pay for high-quality emissions reductions from forests, verifying against an independent standard. The coalition brings a new approach that will protect rainforests by offering countries financial assurance to push sustainable environmental policies. According to Manish Bapna, the CEO and Interim President of the World Resources Unit, “With local-level involvement, this approach can be a triple-win: for the climate, tropical forests and for people that depend on them.”
Preserving the tropical forests
The new organization is expecting more participants to join in the coming months. Senior VP of Environmental Defense Fund Nathaniel Keohane said, “This is a game-changer in the fight to save tropical forests—a new model for catalyzing finance, at a scale that is truly up to the challenge.” Keohane also feels that the LEAF will set high standards for corporates to cut down on their emissions by investing in an additional reduction of emissions from tropical rainforests. It will also ensure that “the rights of indigenous peoples who have and who continue to protect these forests are respected and fulfilled,” said Keohane.
This new financing model is likely to channel billions of dollars’ worth of investments to protect nature on a large enough scale and counter the climate crisis by meeting world climate goals.