How to Work #TogetherWithNature

Published 31st July 2020 by ClimateCare

Today over 120 organisations around the world have committed to work #TogetherWithNature. We are one of them.

It’s exciting to see so many big names getting behind these principles and we look forward to working with some of them to put these principles into action.

We have been working with a similar ethos for many years. Our integrated Climate+Care approach puts climate action at the heart of delivering the UN Global Goals and means that everything we do is designed from the outset to tackle climate change, protect the environment and improve lives.

Tom Morton, Director of our Project Team, has over 20 years’ experience designing and delivering projects that work Together With Nature. We asked him to answer some of the common questions we get about this approach, and to share some of the lessons learned.

What does ClimateCare do?

We work with governments, NGOs and corporates to develop, finance and manage Climate+Care projects. Projects that both cut carbon, protect the environment and improve people’s lives. Some of these are in reforestation, protecting forests and reducing pressure on forests by reducing the amount of fuel used in cooking.

Since 1997, when we were founded, we have taken this holistic approach to developing projects as standard. The Together With Nature principles already underpin the robust methodologies and measurement frameworks we use and help ensure that the projects we develop deliver positive outcomes for people and the planet.

To date, working with our partners, we have reduced 43 million tonnes of CO2 and improved 41 million lives[1] over a variety of project types.

In doing so, we have delivered $29 billion of value[2] for people and the environment, including:

  • Fuel savings of $487 million
  • 8 billion litres of safe water
  • 10 million MWhs of clean energy
  • 3 billion extra productive hours
  • And protected over 200,000 hectares of forests

We are seeing ever increasing interest in our approach and have ambitious targets to scale this impact.

How do you design a project to ensure it delivers against each of the Together With Nature principles?

The principles are in a lot of ways complementary, so designing a project that delivers real, verifiable and significant reductions in emissions can often be tailored to deliver ecosystem, equity and ecological benefits – but these considerations must be made at the outset. Considering them an ‘add on’ will lead to a poorly-designed, unsustainable project.

Our Gola rainforest project, for instance, reduces global emissions by 500,000 tonnes CO2e per year by protecting 140,000 hectares of rainforest habitat – home to more than 1,000 animal and plant species. Importantly, it does this by creating alternative livelihoods and supporting micro-finance initiatives for the 24,000 residents of the rainforest itself, meaning they work with the trees, rather than needing to exploit them.

What mechanisms do you use to measure and monitor impact over time?

We have developed and use open-source approved project methodologies published by the UN, the Gold Standard and the Verified Carbon Standard to set baselines and robustly measure progress over time. Outcomes are independently verified.

We find that this transparency is essential to build trust in what projects are delivering and to allow our corporate and government partners to communicate their support for projects confidently.

What’s the most difficult thing to get right?

Projects have to be sustainable, which means that the host communities have to buy into it and find its outcomes valuable to them, in their day-to-day lives. This is a key part of project design, particularly as things such as cooking practices, for example, evolve over time. We need to adapt to ensure that projects remain relevant.

Is this type of integrated approach more difficult to deliver?

Tackling climate and sustainable development challenges together makes sense. Not just in principle – it works on the ground. Using the integrated approach, projects are more effective and more sustainable. In addition, by delivering multiple benefits for people and the environment means a greater impact per $ spent.

Signatories to the Together With Nature principles will be looking to make their ambitions a reality. What’s the best piece of advice you can offer them?

I think that the best advice is to be clear about your objectives and then work with an expert to help you plan and implement your chosen measures and activities.

No community, environment or project is the same. It is critical you select the right local and expert partners so that you can combine local knowledge and stakeholder input, with international best practice.

It can be tempting to push a particular technology or solution because it has worked well elsewhere. An independent partner can help you focus on the end objectives and outcomes, ensuring you deliver a bespoke approach that works best and deliver maximum value for people and the planet.

Contact us to hear how we can help your organisation work Together With Nature and take responsibility for your residual emissions by offsetting them.

[1] Using the London Benchmarking Group methodology.

[2] Calculated by applying value/tonne of CO2 figures from Imperial College Research.

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