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Eni's commitment to protecting and conserving forests

Forests cover 30% of the dry land on the planet and are a fundamental absorber of carbon from the atmosphere.

13 May 2020
4 min read
13 May 2020
4 min read

Protecting forests – a pillar of our decarbonization strategy

According to FAO data[1] , the years 1990 to 2005 saw a deforestation rate of 13 million hectares a year. Forests are degraded and the area they cover is reduced for unsustainable farming, illegal logging, unsustainable biomass for energy and building towns. All of these increase mankind's CO2 emissions and seriously reduce the Natural Carbon Sink, while emissions from industry continue to rise.

That is why Eni has made its forest conservation projects one of the pillars of its decarbonization strategy. We are therefore focused on protecting, conserving and sustainably managing forests, mainly in developing countries, which scientists consider the most internationally important for mitigating climate change. 

REDD+: Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation

The REDD+ scheme was devised by the United Nations (under its Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCC, ) and involves conserving forests to reduce emissions and improve the natural storage capacity of CO2, at the same time as helping local communities develop with socio-economic projects of sustainable management, forest use and nature conservation. Eni's work in forest conservation fits perfectly within this scheme. We help national governments, local communities and UN agencies in their REDD+ strategies, in line with the NDCs, (Nationally Determined Contributions), national development plans and especially Sustainable Development Goals 1 (no poverty), 5 (gender equality), 7 (affordable and clean energy), 10 (reduced inequalities), 13 (climate action), 14 (life below water), 15 (life on land) and 17 (partnerships for the goals), set out in the 2030 Agenda.

Over time, we have built solid partnerships with international developers like BioCarbon Partners, the Peace Parks Foundation, First Climate and Carbonsink, which allow us to oversee every phase of our REDD+ projects, from design to set-up to monitoring of whether emissions are reduced, with an active role in governance of the project.

Direct participation in these projects is fundamental, so that we meet the requirements of not only the REDD+ scheme, but also the highest standards for reducing carbon emissions and social and environmental effects (e.g. the Verified Carbon Standard-VCS, and the Climate Community and Biodiversity Standard-CCB), recognised internationally and consistent with the quality standards Eni wants to reach.

With this in mind, we work to reduce the causes of deforestation and degradation of biodiversity, always with absolute respect for local communities, and with their active participation. We come up with alternatives for local development that are in keeping with the local area. In the main, they involve economic diversification, with projects of sustainable farming and eco-tourism, initiatives for improving energy access and clean cooking, and programmes for education and vocational training.

Our first partnerships in Africa

Eni is currently considering a range of different initiatives in various countries. Currently, we have begun our first partnerships with governments and international developers in Zambia, Mozambique, Vietnam, Mexico, Ghana, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola, where we aim to compensate for all the direct emissions from our Upstream sector by 2030.

In Zambia, in particular, Eni has become active in the governance of the Luangwa Community Forests Project (LCFP), an REDD+ project.

Within the LCFP, we have committed to acquiring certified carbon credits under VCS and CCB standards until 2038, which guarantees the long-term success of this REDD+ project.

The LCFP was launched in 2014 and is managed by BioCarbon Partners in collaboration with the Zambian government and local communities. It covers an area of about 1 million hectares, involves over 170,000 beneficiaries and is currently one of the biggest REDD+ projects in Africa to have got the "Triple Gold" Standard Certification for its outstanding social and environmental impact.

The importance of these initiatives, within the wider scope of our activities, is shown by our choice to set up an organisational structure just for developing and managing them.