Thousands of people from around the globe gathered at Arcos da Lapa last night to support the launch of Code REDD, an emergency action campaign to save the threatened forests of the world. The celebration of the Code REDD Campaign launch got under way as the historic Arcos da Lapa aqueduct in the heart of Rio was transformed by Obscura Digital with an architectural projection experience of visuals and sound followed by the premier of a Code REDD film that demonstrated Code REDD’s solution to stop deforestation now.
The event was designed to enlist widespread grassroots support for the Campaign. The film asked the crowd to demonstrate support by going online to coderedd.com/glow to make their phones flash red with a digital “emergency code.” The experience drew a parallel between the digital transformation of Arcos da Lapa and the way Code REDD aims to transform how corporations, landowners, governments and the general public unite to save the threatened forests of the world.
“Deforestation is an economic problem,” stated Karin Burns, Executive Director of the Code REDD Campaign. “REDD+ is a viable economic solution that can scale to meet the massive scope of this challenge.”
Earlier that day, on the eve of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, Burns and Mike Korchinsky, Founder of Code REDD, hosted a press conference at the Royal Tulip Hotel in Rio de Janeiro. UNESCO, major multinational corporations, REDD+ project developers, and representatives of indigenous forest communities came together to announce their participation in the global launch of the Code REDD Campaign.
At the press conference, Gretchen Kalonji, UNESCO’s Assistant Director General for Natural Sciences stressed the urgency of action against deforestation worldwide and the importance of public-private partnerships, such as the CODE-REDD Campaign. UNESCO’s network of Biosphere Reserves provides a platform for collaboration and exchange among local communities on novel models for climate change mitigation, protection of bio-cultural diversity and local economic development.
Other stakeholders from Corporate Champions to community leaders expressed support for the Code REDD Campaign and REDD+ as well:
“If the forest is gone, it is gone forever. So immediate action like the Code REDD campaign is crucial and Allianz is glad to be part of it,” said Martin Ewald, Investment Manager at Allianz Climate Solutions.
“REDD has really worked in our community of 150,000 people,” said Chief Pascal Kizaka, of Kasigau, Voi District, Kenya. “The project has greatly improved the standard of living through the funding of water projects, school bursaries and education, and job creation. There is more food, better hygiene and clothing and better access to medical care.”
“We assess all our projects on normal commercial project finance terms and they stack up, for the Bank, the communities, the trees and the animals. Simply, REDD+ is the right thing to do,” said Kevin Whitfield, Head of Carbon Finance at Nedbank Capital.
The Code REDD Campaign launched with the commitment of five corporate champions including multinational financial services provider Allianz SE, global luxury sport & lifestyle premium brands giant PPR, Dutch sustainable energy utility Eneco, German renewable energy provider Entega, and the leading South African bank, Nedbank.
Entega pledged to support ERA’s REDD+ project in the Democratic Republic of Congo, PPR has pledged to Wildlife Works’ Kenya project, and Eneco made a pledge to the Surui Project in Brazil. Each of these projects are being implemented by Code REDD’s global group of REDD+ Project Developers, including BioCarbon Pty Ltd. (Ecuador), ERA (Congo), Forest Carbon Offsets (Belize), The Surui Project (Brazil), Wildlife Alliance (Cambodia), Wildlife Conservation Society (Madagascar), and Wildlife Works (Kenya). The collective goal is to make forests more valuable alive than dead.
“It is inspiring to see these Code REDD Corporate Champions, NGOs and indigenous communities showing innovation and leadership to change the course of history,” said Korchinsky, Founder of the Code REDD Campaign and CEO of Wildlife Works.