Tackling deforestation and building sustainable futures
The LEAF Theory of Change
The science is clear and the need is urgent. The climate crisis cannot be solved without halting tropical deforestation. Many factors drive deforestation, but the root cause is the lack of economic incentives to protect and restore forests. Tropical forest governments that successfully reduce deforestation do not currently receive financial benefits. Indigenous peoples and local communities whose livelihoods depend on the forests they inhabit receive no reward for their efforts to preserve some of the world’s most valuable carbon sinks. Conversely, many economic incentives exist to clear forests and put the land to other uses such as agriculture and mining. The only viable way to halt tropical deforestation is to reverse these misaligned economic incentives, ensuring forests are worth more alive than dead. LEAF aims to mobilize public and private sector finance with forward purchase commitments to reward forest governments for reducing deforestation, while catalyzing a wider market for high-integrity forest carbon credits.
Driving action with the jurisdictional approach
Raising the funds at the scale needed is only a part of the solution. These funds must be channelled in a way that ensures real and additional impact on the ground. This can be achieved by working directly with governments who have the power to drive change. This ‘jurisdictional approach’ uses results-based payments, providing the economic incentives that will support forest governments to deliver ambitious programs to cut deforestation via:
Policies and legislation which address the causes of deforestation
Active participation of Indigenous Peoples, ensuring their rights are respected and they receive a fair share of the rewards.
Provision of financial incentives to landowners to protect forests.
Enforcement of laws and regulations to prevent illegal deforestation.
LEAF aims to ensure the highest levels of environmental integrity & social safeguards.
The LEAF Coalition only purchases forest carbon credits issued by the Architecture for REDD+ Transactions (ART) that meet the requirements of The REDD+ Environmental Excellence Standard (TREES). This internationally recognized standard is specifically designed for jurisdictional programs and guarantees the high environmental and social integrity of the credits. In particularly TREES includes specific safeguards addressing Indigenous peoples' and local community rights and participation, based on the Cancun Safeguards, the only internationally recognized set of safeguards developed with sustained IP&LC consultation. ART is the independent organization that oversees the registration and issuance of carbon credits from jurisdictional REDD+ programs that conform to the requirements of TREES.
Private-sector buyers can only take part in LEAF if they meet a strict set of criteria that demonstrate their real commitment to deep reductions in value chain emissions, including science-based targets, in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
LEAF recognizes the critical role of Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IP&LCs) play as forest stewards. LEAF will not fund jurisdictions that do not respect the rights of IP&LCs, ensure their full participation or meet strong social safeguards, as required by the ART TREES standard. The Coalition is committed to working closely with IP&LCs to ensure that all groups and communities fully understand the LEAF process and how they can participate. LEAF is committed to open dialogue with IP&LC groups and is keen for feedback on how it can communicate more effectively.
Reinvestment in sustainable development
Strong fund management and reporting frameworks seek to ensure that all proceeds from the sale of credits are channeled to initiatives that support further sustainable development, creating additional impact and improving the lives of people in tropical forest countries.
How LEAF works
Access our full list of LEAF documents and resources below: