Application of REDD+ Carbon Credits to benefit Community Livelihoods

August 4, 2017

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Application of REDD+ Carbon Credits to benefit Community Livelihoods

About the Implementing organization

Name: Wildlife Works

Country: Kenya

Year of establishment: 1997

Type of organization: Legally recognized non-profit status, Community enterprise or business


The Wildlife Works Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project protect the critical ecosystem services maintained by 500,000+ acres of Kenyan forest in that it will result in the avoidance of over 1 million tonnes of CO2-e emissions per year for the next 30 years. The revenue brought in by the REDD+ credits has led to the creation of carbon neutral social enterprise that benefits local communities, and generates additional revenue by connecting products such as eco-friendly Fair Trade clothing to the global market. The enterprises supported by the REDD+ project also support food security (greenhouses), water security (via training and employment to provide water catchment systems and other infrastructure), wildlife conservation (through the training and employment of rangers). Other jobs created include factory workers in the clothing eco-factory, horticulturalists, machinists, seamstresses, foresters, carpenters, construction workers, drivers, and many others. Wildlife Works enterprises also produce sustainable coal briquettes, which are a more renewable energy source than other locally-available resources. And lastly, the revenue from the REDD+ project and associated enterprises has supported education, training, and infrastructure that have led to better health, food, water, environmental awareness and stewardship, and overall livelihoods for more than 100,000 people.

Nature Element

Forests / Wildlife

Type of Action

Protection / Sustainable use / Awareness and education

Sustainable Development Element

Jobs and livelihoods / Food security / Water security / Health / Renewable energy / Climate action

Related Sustainable Development Goal(s)

Environmental Impacts

"Wildlife Works' ground-breaking REDD+ initiative protects over 500,000 acres of highly threatened Kenyan forest, securing the entire wildlife migration corridor between Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks, and brings the benefits of direct carbon financing to more than 100,000 people in the surrounding communities.

The Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project was awarded the additional distinction of Gold level status by the CCB for exceptional biodiversity and climate benefits. The project area is home to a fantastic diversity of over 50 species of large mammals, more than 20 species of bats and over 300 species of birds and important populations of IUCN Red List species such as; Grevy's Zebra, Cheetah, Lion, African Wild Dog as well as over 2000 African elephants."

The creation of alternative livelihood opportunities through Wildlife Works has reduced the need for communities to turn to poaching or other unsustainable use.

Sustainable Development Impacts

The application of REDD+ credits in this context has led to the protection of critical forest resources, which protect watersheds, livelihoods, and the climate of this region. Additionally, revenue from the REDD+ project as well as local enterprise and targeted training has resulted in greater local capacity to develop food and water security. Water catchment systems, greenhouses, schools, and other infrastructure has been built. Health education, including reproductive health, eye clinics, and other resources are now available to the communities. Hundreds of people have job training and direct employment. Access to renewable energy, including sustainable charcoal and eco-stoves, is now available. Agricultural training, educational scholarships, assistance in financial planning, and many more resources are now benefitting thousands of community members. And as a result, the communities have gained a meaningful appreciation for their local wildlife and forest resources.


The area protected and benefitting from Wildlife Works initiatives is very large in comparison to many other conservation projects. The project itself is expanded to global supply chains through access to carbon-neutral products created at these local enterprises. Similar training and conservation-based enterprise could be expanded to the national scale, with regions focusing on the production of locally-appropriate goods and services (like certain agricultural products). Even in areas where carbon offsets may not be available, conservation enterprise can still generate alternative livelihood opportunities and protection for wildlife and other environmental resources (such as the enterprises certified through the Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network). Other conservation groups are piloting credits and offsets specifically for biodiversity and other types of natural resources, as well, which could provide similar investment as the REDD+ credits been used by Wildlife Works thus far.


Wildlife Works is working to expand their approach in Africa, Asia, Central and South America to protect millions of hectares of native forest. In total, this work will mitigate more than 25 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually and create thousands of sustainable jobs. One example of this expansion is an initiative in the Congo Basin, which will protect over 9 million hectares of forest, and will benefit 1.8 million people. They are working to create landscape linkages among these projects. Other groups could use a similar approach by using access to the REDD+ carbon market to benefit local environmental protection and sustainable development through carbon neutral community-based enterprise. Such an integrated approach that targets job creation, infrastructure, education, and the protection of environmental services is critical to environmental conservation. The use of REDD+ credits is a novel way to accomplish this, but could be replicated in any forest, coastal habitat, etc.

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