Beyond carbon credits: a blueprint

After prioritising internal emissions reductions first, funders can turn to nature-based investments and use the new blueprint to help direct their search for high-quality interventions for climate mitigation. The new blueprint focuses on forests, including mangroves. Image credit: Joel Vodell from Unsplash

Beyond carbon credits: a blueprint

In the aftermath of COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has released a new report with guidance on implementing high impact and high-quality nature-based solutions for climate mitigation.  

In the wake of increased interest and pledges from both the public and private sectors to scale nature-based solutions, WWF has released a new report with guidance on implementing high-impact and high-quality nature-based solutions for climate mitigation.

A Blueprint for High-Quality Interventions that Work for People, Nature and Climate, serves as a companion to WWF’s existing Blueprint for Corporate Action on Climate and Nature. This corporate climate mitigation blueprint, published in December 2020, describes the process for businesses to set and implement science-based targets compatible with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5℃ before making financial commitments that aim to impact climate and nature.

After prioritising internal emissions reductions first, funders can turn to nature-based investments and use the new blueprint to help direct their search for high-quality interventions for climate mitigation. The new blueprint focuses on forests, including mangroves. Many of the same guidelines and considerations can also apply to nature-based solutions for climate mitigation deriving from other ecosystems, such as marine environments, grasslands, and agricultural lands.

“When implemented effectively, nature-based solutions for climate mitigation can help reduce vulnerability, build resilience, and enhance rural livelihoods and the valuing of forests and other critical ecosystems,” says Josefina Braña Varela, Vice President for forests and forest climate solutions lead at WWF-US. “This blueprint emphasises that we must put people at the center. This includes providing the conditions for the full participation of Indigenous peoples and local communities and demonstrating the diverse benefits of these interventions in a measurable way.”

To produce impact at the scale required to meet global climate objectives, unprecedented, deliberate and targeted investment is needed. Funders should prioritise the highest-quality interventions that equally benefit people, nature and the climate.

With this in mind, the blueprint recommends the following set of guidelines to identify high-quality interventions:

  • By design, nature-based solutions for climate mitigation should simultaneously prioritise improvements to livelihoods and human well-being, the protection and enhancement of nature, and the generation of carbon reductions or removals.
  • Interventions should be implemented at a significant scale or clearly support an integrated landscape or jurisdictional strategy or program.
  • Funders should not make carbon credits a first priority when looking to maximise interventions’ impacts.
  • Funders should seek out best-in-class interventions that ensure quality, transparency, and equitable benefit sharing.

“WWF welcomes the rapidly growing commitment to nature-based solutions, which harness the power of nature to protect, restore, and sustainably manage ecosystems to address society’s challenges and promote human well-being,” says Vanessa Pérez-Cirera, WWF’s global deputy leader of climate and energy.

“It’s essential, however, to ensure that nature-based solutions for climate mitigation deliver real, meaningful and measurable benefits for people, nature and the climate and do so increasingly at subnational to national scales as envisioned in the Paris Agreement and recommended in our blueprint.”

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