Encouraging sustainable farming with the Meru and Nanyuki Community Reforestation project
Nearly 20% of global carbon dioxide emissions are caused by deforestation. So, to help prevent climate change, we’re supporting a tree planting project in Kenya. The project enables smallhold farmers in vulnerable communities to generate revenue from growing trees, while also teaching sustainable farming practices to prevent deforestation and soil erosion, improving the future availability of food. Farmers learn how to use efficient irrigation techniques, grow fruit trees and diversify income sources with activities like bee-keeping to produce honey – making life that bit sweeter.
Based near the slopes of Mt. Kenya, in the villages of Meru and Nanyuki, this project is managed by The International Small Group and Tree Planting Program (TIST) and our support is coordinated through The CarbonNeutral Company. It consists of over four thousand individual areas and eight thousand members who work on a rotating leadership structure, which promotes gender equality in the community.
In order to monitor the growth of the trees and assess the amount of carbon dioxide they remove from the atmosphere, the project uses an innovative data collection system consisting of battery-operated palm computers, Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers, and data and image internet uploads to monitor project activities. The data collection is conducted by trained local employees, called ‘quantifiers’. On average, the quantifiers visit each grove once per year, to count every tree and collect other data important for the carbon quantification. This project is validated and verified to both the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and Climate Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standard – two internationally recognised standards that guarantee the quality of the carbon reduction project and the benefits to the local communities and biodiversity in the region.
Although we’re working internally to ensure that we are using timber sourced from sustainable forests, and have built the world's first fully Forest Stewardship Council certified store on Ecclesall Road in Sheffield, we know that we still have progress to make on wood sourcing. However, by supporting projects such as this one in Kenya, we are ensuring that that there are well-managed, sustainable forests for years to come.