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Protecting rights.
Ensuring participation.
Sharing benefits.

The best stewards of the world’s forests

The LEAF Coalitions aims to ensure that Indigenous Peoples and local communities, have their rights protected, participate fully and receive a fair share of benefits. LEAF recognizes the critical role of Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IP&LCs) in stewarding and safeguarding the world's forests. When Indigenous rights are recognized and protected, deforestation decreases. Full IP&LC participation is essential to the long-term success of any forest preservation program. It is therefore an urgent priority to ensure that the climate actions, traditional knowledge, and land tenure rights of IP&LCs are incorporated into the design, development, and implementation of jurisdictional REDD+ (JREDD) programs. Governments must recognize, consult, include, and compensate IP&LCs for their essential role in protecting forests.


LEAF and Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities

The LEAF Coalition brings together public and private sector buyers to purchase large volumes of high-quality forest carbon credits from forest governments (national and subnational) which have implemented jurisdictional REDD+ programs to reduce deforestation. This provides a viable economic alternative to clearing forests for uses such as agriculture and can encourage governments to introduce policies to protect forests, enforce laws to stop illegal deforestation, and provide economic incentives to landowners to preserve forests. The LEAF approach is designed to provide forest governments and their people with access to long-term, predictable finance to support sustainable development, helping improve livelihoods today and tomorrow. Crucially, LEAF will not provide funding to governments that do not respect the rights of IP&LCs or meet strong 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 standard was selected, in part, because of its rigorous social safeguards, which require that governments adhere to the Cancun Safeguards adopted by the UNFCCC. The Cancun Safeguards were the result of sustained engagement with IP&LC groups and civil society actors. These include two specific safeguards designed to ensure that governments: 1.Respect the rights and traditional knowledge of IP&LCs. 2.Ensure the full and effective participation of IP&LCs in programs to reduce deforestation and generate carbon credits.

ART and the TREES Standard 

The Architecture for REDD+ Transactions (ART) is the independent organization that oversees the registration and issuance of carbon credits from jurisdictional REDD+ programs that conform to the requirements of the REDD+ Environmental Excellence Standard, commonly known as ART TREES.


TREES enables forest governments to generate verified emissions reduction and removal credits by meeting precise and comprehensive requirements.

TREES also includes rigorous processes to ensure:

TREES builds on early action pilot programs and is consistent with UNFCCC decisions including the Paris Agreement, the Warsaw Framework, and the Cancún Safeguards.​


It is important to note that the LEAF Coalition, Emergent, and ART are three entirely separate entities. ART is not a part of Emergent and the two organizations do not share processes or governance. The LEAF Coalition was formed several years after ART began and after TREES was published. ART is not part of LEAF processes or a stakeholder in LEAF. Questions regarding ART or the requirements of TREES should be directed to the ART Secretariat.

While the LEAF Coalition only buys TREES credits, these credits are not exclusive to LEAF and can be sold by governments to other buyers. From more information on ART and the TREES Standard please visit

Engaging with IP&LCs

Get in Touch

To find out more about how you can participate in the LEAF Coalition, please fill in the form to contact:


Carol Burga 

Director, Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities Stakeholder Engagement  


Thanks for reaching out, a member of the team will be in touch soon.

The LEAF Process

Forest Governments submit proposals, or Expressions of Interest, to supply forest carbon credits to LEAF buyers that will conform to the requirements laid out in ART’s TREES. Governments must notify all stakeholders located within the area covered by the proposal, including IP&LCs, of their intention to submit a proposal to LEAF and make this proposal publicly available to IP&LC stakeholders, in an accessible language, via culturally appropriate channels. 

The proposals are subject to a stringent independent technical review to assess the seller’s likelihood of meeting the requirements of TREES. This proposal submission and review process is completely independent from ART processes. Passing a technical review for the LEAF Coalition does not mean that the forest country has submitted any documents to ART or indicate that the REDD+ program will successfully complete validation and verification under ART.

Forest Governments whose proposals pass this technical review can then start negotiating a formal agreement with Emergent to sell forest carbon credits.

Emissions Reductions Purchase Agreements (ERPAs) are agreed and signed by Forest Governments and Emergent for the sale of forest carbon credits. The ERPA sets up the framework through which LEAF payments will be made once the credits are verified and issued by ART.

  • LEAF ERPAs include clauses to ensure Forest Governments comply with the Cancún Safeguards, and that any Safeguards violations must be addressed and remedied. Failure to do so can lead to the termination of an ERPA.

  • LEAF ERPAs also require that Forest Governments develop programs that comply with the requirements of TREES, including a requirement to implement programs to reduce deforestation and degradation or increase removals, developed in consultation with all relevant stakeholders, including IP&LCs.

Governments that successfully complete the ART process, including independent validation and verification will be issued TREES credits by ART. LEAF transactions with Forest Governments can only take place once governments have TREES credits issued by ART, which means, they have fulfilled all the criteria set out in TREES (including those relating to IP&LC rights, participation and benefits sharing).

Once the credits are issued, the Forest Government and Emergent complete the transaction for TREES credits agreed in the ERPA. Emergent then sells these credits to LEAF buyers (corporations and sovereign donors).

Emergent makes payments to governments via an approved, third-party, financial intermediary. These intermediaries allocate funds to program implementing organizations, or directly to beneficiaries, including to IP&LC groups where relevant, consistent with benefits sharing plans or mechanisms.

News and Updates


Access our full list of LEAF documents and resources below:

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