Eni and Zambian REDD+ project: two new classrooms in the Luembe Chiefdom

The agreement with BioCarbon Partners

In 2019, Eni signed a twenty-year agreement with BioCarbon Partners (BCP), a leading company in long-term forest conservation projects, to support the Luangwa Community Forest Project (LCFP) in Zambia. This project is developed according to the United Nations REDD + scheme, an acronym for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, aimed at incentivising developing countries to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere caused by deforestation and forest degradation processes.

The project involves 17 local communities - or 17 chiefdoms - making a total of over 200,000 beneficiaries. By purchasing the carbon credits generated, Eni guarantees the project on a long-term basis and supports the development of the area concerned, resulting in positive benefits for the territories and the environment.

Benefits of the project

One of the key aspects of the project is the involvement of communities through the Community Forest Management Groups, locally elected groups, which allocate the proceeds from the sale of carbon credits in local development projects, giving the forest and its protection direct, tangible value for local populations. The funds have so far been allocated to over 230 community projects, enabling access to clean water, health, education and professional training, best agricultural practices and micro-credit. In this respect, the direct participation of local communities in the safeguarding of forests through local development alternatives offered by the project makes it possible to bring sustainability and continuity to the initiatives.
According to data released by Biocarbon Partners, the Luangwa Community Forest Project contributed to an overall average increase in household income of more than 200% between 2016 and 2022. Moreover, according to the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standards report, the project has improved the ecological integrity and biodiversity of the area. Surveys conducted by local stakeholders show that, in the wildlife corridor connecting five national parks, which the initiative aims to preserve, biodiversity has remained at stable levels. In addition to this, wildlife has increased in the Munyamadzi area, according to regular monitoring carried out since the project began.
In light of the positive results of the project, in 2022, 5 new communities were added to the 12 that had initially joined the Luangwa Community Forest Project, bringing the current total to 17.


Monitoring of the project

The initial validation of the project, its design, the definition of the project area, the baseline, and other essential information on the matter, are verified by independent third parties (auditors) certified to perform this type of work. Reports are available for public consultation.
To ensure impartiality and transparency, periodic checks on the project (i.e. its compliance with quality and certification criteria and calculation of the credits to be issued) are performed by auditors other than those who initially validated the project.
For further protection, there is a mandatory rotation which prevents the same verifier from certifying the project for more than five years. Auditors authorised to conduct audits on this and other REDD+ projects must be accredited by appropriate professional registries, such as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Registries then conduct their own review of individual reports, before validating each verification.
The Luangwa Community Forest project obtained the highest appraisal of the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA): the Triple gold for exceptional impact on communities, climate and biodiversity.


Eni’s strategy for the reduction of net emissions

95% of the Eni target of achieving net zero emissions by 2050 will be achieved through a range of solutions identified to decarbonise its activities and operations. The company has adopted a holistic approach that will focus on energy efficiency, cutting-edge technologies and the development of existing businesses, for example renewables, bio-refning and sustainable mobility, further relaunched with the creation of two dedicated companies: Plenitude and Eni Sustainable Mobility. Emission compensation projects, the so-called "carbon offsets" contribute only 5% to the achievement of the goal of net zero emissions by 2050. Eni plans to offset its residual emissions by leveraging Natural Climate Solutions and Technological Projects, with the aim of progressively maximising the CO2 removal component.

In the short term, the protection of forests is - as noted by the United Nations, the EU institutions and the World Bank - one of the most effective, immediately usable tools for containing the level of CO2 in the atmosphere, considering that every year deforestation results in emissions of almost 5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (according to Global Forest Watch).

For this reason, Eni has decided to launch its own compensation plan through forest protection projects according to the United Nations Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) scheme, and validated according to the highest international standards for certification, not only in relation to the reduction of carbon emissions, but also to obtaining positive socio-environmental results.

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