Mark Simpson, Managing Director, CO2balance UK Ltd
Welcome to our March newsletter, which marks the official end of winter and coming of spring - Daylight Saving Time will soon be upon us, in which the clocks will go forward 1 hour. In addition to giving us lighter nights over the summer, it also helps our UK team align much closer with our colleagues in East Africa who will now be only 2 hours ahead. We look forward to putting that extra hour to good use over the next 6 months!
February saw us successfully issue circa 30,000 Gold Standard credits from Shimba Hills improved Cookstoves, a project sandwiched between the Tsavo East National Park and the Shimba Hills National Reserve. Whilst this might sound like an enviable location for tourists, the presence of these iconic national reserves mean that farming communities have a small area from which they can legally gather wood to cook their fuel. This puts tremendous pressure on ecosystems and communities sometimes simply have no choice but to collect wood from inside the reserves. Thankfully, the work we have done by introducing improved cookstoves supported by carbon credit funding, has meant that wood fuel consumption has halved over the past 4 years, allowing the area a chance to recover.
In other news, we are happy to hear that our partner Vita is due to start rolling out their improved cookstove project in Eritrea this month, which we are looking to register in April. This project promises to be an exciting one, as it is our first in the country and we have already learnt so much about local cooking practices to date. For instance, we have learned that many people make their own charcoal in their homes from their wood fuel by dousing their cooking fires. The resulting homemade charcoal is then used in a special type of stove called a fernello to make tea and coffee!
Our Rwanda programme continues to go from strength to strength, the wood savings we predicted we would get on our in house designed stove proved to be an underestimate, so we are pleased to announce that we have now listed VPA 13 and 14 with the Gold Standard. Our originals plans were to deliver 12 VPAs, so we are very happy that the environmental impact of our work has exceeded expectations.
Keeping abreast with the UK carbon regulations, we attended a Business Breakfast in Bristol to find out about the government’s latest thinking on decarbonising large infrastructure projects. It was quite refreshing to hear that the government has fully latched onto the idea that less carbon generally translates to lower costs, which makes of course makes a good business case to move down a low carbon route. However it still remained unclear as to how the Government would incorporate low carbon requirements within the procurement process for large contracts and also provide the right incentives for the necessary technology and process innovation to flourish. Many people present at the meeting shared the view that some more joined up thinking was needed, but it was progress nonetheless.
I hope you enjoy this month's edition that brings you stories from our projects in Kenya, Cameroon and Uganda. If you would like to receive more regular updates about co2balance and other carbon related news, you can follow me on twitter @carbonduke.