Risk and ecosystems researcher Alan Laubsch explains why now is the time to make a savvy investment, both for the future of your finances and for that of the planet.

“The Climate Conference in Paris in December 2015 gave us hope for the future. But in order to keep temperature increase under 2 degrees C, there is an urgent need for immediate action. In addition to reducing emissions, mitigating the CO2 already in the atmosphere is equally important. Protecting the world’s rainforests and restoring lost mangrove forests are essential in reaching the desired goals. One of the countries with the greatest need for mangrove restoration is Myanmar.  Worldview International Foundation’s pioneering project, “Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park”, with 2 million new trees and millions more to come, is an example of a practical solution to the biggest challenge of our time.” – Eric Solheim, head of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)

Long ignored, natural capital now offers the most promising long term investment opportunities compared to any other asset class (bonds, equities, currencies). Increasingly, the world’s most sophisticated investors are recognizing that nature is the real gold, and making profitable investments which turn ecology into economy.

Wonderfruit and Lykke are proud to support an exceptional project by WorldView International Foundation (see www.wif.care) to restore critical mangrove ecosystems in Myanmar. Since 2012, WorldView has worked with the government, universities, and local communities to restore mangrove forests in Myanmar, where over 80% of mangroves have been cut down (mostly for charcoal).

Mangroves are miracles trees that can grow in salt water, sequestering up to five times the CO2 of dry forests. They prevent soil erosion and the flooding of communities, and filter water for coral reefs and sea grasses, which act as an important carbon dioxide sink. In addition, they are a critical biodiversity nursery, boosting fish stocks and providing valuable ecosystems services for the community.

Recognizing the benefits of restoring mangroves, the government of Myanmar granted WorldView free land to replant up to 17 million mangroves. WorldView is able to plant a new mangrove tree for just $1, which can grow up to four meters in a year. A single mangrove can sequester up to a tonne of CO2 over 30 years. Community and ecosystems benefits, meanwhile, can exceed $664 per tonne of CO2 mitigated according to a  2014 landmark study.  Community benefits include sustainable employment, education, and solar power. WorldView is currently undergoing an independent audit, which determines the amount of Verified Carbon Units (VCUs) that can be sold annually as the forest grows.

Starboard, a leading watersports firm, sponsors a mangrove for every SUP and surfboard sold, in order to be Climate Net Positive. Watch their beautiful video about Heyerdahl Climate Park, calling for a Tree-volution to plant a billion mangroves.

While prices have been volatile, the demand for carbon credits is projected to increase substantially. To meet the targets agreed upon at the 2015 Paris COP, paid global emissions should increase from 12% to 55%. Norway has already made a multi-billion dollar bet to save rainforests. Canada is the latest nation to introduce a carbon tax (currently at $10 per tonne and set to increase to $40 over time). Furthermore, leading organizations such as Google, Microsoft, Adidas, and Puma buy voluntary carbon credits, and recently the global aviation industry has pledged to become carbon neutral, which alone could triple the demand for carbon credits annually.  

Lykke is designing the Heyerdahl Mangrove Coin (HMC) – a digital token like Bitcoin, but backed by natural capital. Each HMC coin represents the planting of a new mangrove seedling, and will entitle the owner to a share of future carbon credits across the entire project (which means no one suffers a specific loss if a tree dies). The local community is incentivized to take care of the trees by receiving a 50% share of carbon credit sales. Currently there are 2.5 million trees (planted in 2015) in healthy growth, and independent annual audits will determine the amount of Verified Carbon Units (VCUs) that can be sold. HMC has the potential to appreciate substantially as demand for carbon credits increases and as the global HMC community grows. As with any investment, there are many risk factors to consider, most importantly the ability for WorldView to execute the project and keep the forest in healthy growth.

To find out more, sign up to get information at www.tree-volution.com, and download the Lykke Wallet available on iOS or Android.

Get an even greater insight at Alan’s Scratch Talk on natural capital at Wonderfruit.