Global Peatland Fund launched in Bali

11/12/2007

Launch of Global Peatland Fund for large scale peatland restoration

Wetlands International and BioX Group have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly develop the Global Peatland Fund with the goal to invest in the restoration and conservation of peatland projects. With the fund, both partners aim for large scale restoration of degraded tropical peat swamp forests in order to prevent further greenhouse gas emissions. The Memorandum will be presented in a press meeting today.

Press Conference and Presentation of the Memorandum;
Monday 10 December 2007
15:30 – 16:00 PM (Bali time; -8 GMT)
NGO Press room Grand Hyatt (Wind), Bali, Indonesia

The projects supported by the Global Peatland Fund will generate Voluntary Emission Rights (VERs) by reducing carbon emissions from the destruction of peatlands. The sale of these VERs will generate a good return for the investors while the remaining profits of the Fund’s operations, in line with its broader goals, will be invested in community development projects.

The geographical focus of the Global Peatland Fund will initially be on Kalimantan and Sumatra in Indonesia, where Wetlands International has successfully carried out community-based peat swamp forest conservation and restoration projects in cooperation with local governments, NGOs and communities. The target of the Fund is to restore and protect approximately 500,000 hectares of these peat swamps by 2012.

The conservation and restoration of tropic peat swamp presents one of the most cost-effective means to reduce carbon emissions. At the same time the Funds’ investments will reverse trends of rapid biodiversity loss and support alternative livelihood development.

The Memorandum of Understanding is a first step in collaboration between the renewable energy industry and a global conservation organisation towards developing sustainable practices in the palm oil sector by stopping development of new plantations on peat and optimally decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, for example by improving water management in existing peat-based palm oil plantations. Improving the sustainability of palm oil will enhance its potential for green energy production and help to mitigate climate change.

Jane Madgwick, CEO of Wetlands International said, “Wetlands International is excited by this innovative partnership with BioX Group, since it provides the opportunity to dramatically scale up the work of restoring tropical peatswamps through community-based initiatives, to benefit biodiversity and livelihoods while securing vital carbon stocks. By bringing investments in for these purposes and by promoting sustainable palm oil production, BioX Group and Wetlands International will demonstrate that conservation of tropical peatlands makes strong economic sense”.

Edgare Kerkwijk, BioX Group’s Managing Director, said, “We are very pleased to participate in this initiative with Wetlands International as it clearly signals that a corporate – non-governmental partnership could provide help to reduce carbon emissions in developing countries, while at the same providing support to local communities and interesting incentives to investors.”

“The VERs generated by the Fund represents a high level of sustainability to the investors. Not only do these VERs guarantee greenhouse gas emission reduction, they also significantly contribute to socio-economic development in some of the poorest regions in the world, as well as the conservation of globally important biodiversity’, emphasis Arjen Brinkmann, Sustainability Manager Europe of BioX Group.

It is intended that the Fund will be managed by a professional team comprising of experts from Wetlands International and BioX, assisted by other experts. Furthermore, global law firm, DLA Piper, has agreed to provide legal advice on the establishment of the Fund on a pro bono basis, while TFS Energy has offered to act as the VER broker and placing agent for the Fund.

For further information please contact:

Wetlands International Contacts:
Mr. Marcel Silvius – Senior Programme Manager
(during COP in Bali: HP (+62) (0) 813 1828 18 93)
E-mail: Marcel.silvius@wetlands.org / Tel. +31 (0)317 478854

BioX Group Contacts:
Mr. Edgare Kerkwijk – Managing Director
E-mail: edgare.kerkwijk@biox.nl / HP: +65 9682 2440

Mr. Arjen Brinkmann – Sustainability Manager Europe
E-mail: arjen.brinkmann@biox.nl / Tel: +31 613617883

About Wetlands International

Wetlands International works to sustain and restore wetlands, their resources for human well-being and biodiversity. Wetlands is an independent, not-for-profit, global organization, supported by government membership from around the world. Wetlands works through 18 offices in all the continents with a head office in Wageningen, the Netherlands. Our work is supported by tens of thousands of volunteers.

Organization website: www.wetlands.org

About the BioX Group

The BioX Group is an internationally recognized expert in the field of sustainable energy and is one of Europe’s largest and fastest growing suppliers of liquid biomass to the energy sector for renewable energy production, with offices in the Netherlands, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. The company is a leader in the supply of liquid biomass (“biofuels”) to the renewable energy sector in Europe and is developing its own liquid biomass power plants in the European Union and biomass plantations in Southeast Asia. In addition, BioX develops CDM projects together with its suppliers in Southeast Asia.

Company website: www.biox.nl

About DLA Piper

DLA Piper is a global legal services organization with offices across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the United States. Over 3,600 lawyers across 64 offices in 25 countries provide a broad range of legal services to leading international businesses. DLA Piper has an unmatched global presence that enables it to meet the needs of its clients in the world's key economic, technology, and governmental centers, including Beijing, Brussels, Chicago, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, New York, Paris, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, and Washington, DC.

Company website: www.dlapiper.com

About TFS Energy

TFS is part of Compagnie Financière Tradition (CFT), one of the world’s three largest brokers in OTC financial and non-financial products and number one in continental Europe. Headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, CFT has a presence in 18 countries worldwide. With over 2,000 employees, CFT services 7,000 clients, which include global banks, financial institutions, and local authorities, major industrial and commercial corporations.

Company website: www.tfsenergy.com

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