Founded in 2021, CarbonoLocal is a start-up aimed at small farmers in Latin America who farm in an environmentally friendly way. To reward them for their small but significant contribution to climate protection, the CarbonoLocal team helps them join a grouped international carbon certification scheme and sell the CO2 certificates in Europe. In their pilot project in San Juan de Rio Seco in Colombia, the founders of CarbonoLocal Nataly and Laura Cubillos also promote the development of a local bioeconomy and the decentralised production of renewable energy.
ongoing since December 2021
- Phase: 9600 €
Preparation of a preliminary study for land classification and recording of the carbon reduction potential
Establishment of a tree nursery with native tree species and their transplantation
Creation of nature trails and business plan for green tourism
Curbing climate change is a global task. Numerous studies, such as the current one by Agora Energiewende (2020), show that to achieve the global temperature target of below 1.5°C and to achieve climate neutrality in Germany, three essential steps are needed to make significant progress:
- 65% reduction in emissions by 2030, as part of the EU Green New Deal.
- 95% reduction in emissions by 2050.
- Balance residual emissions through offset and negative emissions projects by 2050
In this sense, climate protection initiatives or offset initiatives in developing and emerging countries have the potential to make a decisive contribution to an emissions-neutral and climate-friendly economy in Germany.
Laura and Nataly Cubillos are two sisters who were born and raised in rural Colombia and graduated from the Technical University of Cologne. They put their acquired expertise in renewable energies, waste to X technologies, emissions accounting and carbon markets at the service of local communities in their home country and have founded the start-up CarbonoLocal in Germany for this purpose. Their mission is to help local initiatives in Latin America/Colombia achieve carbon group certification and organise the sale of the certificates on the growing voluntary international carbon market. Most small farmers and small forest owners practice sustainable, environmentally friendly agriculture or forestry. However, instead of being recognised for their contribution to climate protection, the preservation of their practices is threatened by increasing price pressure from conventional (large-scale) farms. The economic contribution that comes from trading CO2 certificates ensures the communities the continuity of their practices and the resulting ecosystem services that are important to all of us. (See here for a brief explanation how the carbon market and the certificaton process works.)
CarbonoLocal aims to make the positive socio-environmental impacts and emissions reductions generated by small-scale initiatives visible through carbon certification so that they are recognised and paid for.
In their pilot project, Laura and Nataly focus on smallholders of the dry tropical forest (TTW) in San Juan de Rio Seco in Colombia. Owning a total of almost 3000 hectares, these 20 families have decided to join forces to protect their remaining part of the forest. This ecosystem, which used to cover more than 9 million hectares in Colombia but of which only 8% remains today, is one of the most threatened ecosystems in the country. The community is struggling to find funding to further develop protection and restoration activities that have already begun and to more effectively address the threat to their immediate environment and thus their livelihoods. The situation is exemplary for the entire continent.
CarbonoLocal aims to support the San Juan community to certify their restoration practices in their TTW areas and benefit from tradable carbon credits on the international carbon market. This allows them to be remunerated for their contribution to mitigating climate change and to reinvest the revenues generated. However, this process requires a series of rigorous steps of planning, monitoring and verification, and poses a huge hurdle for local communities who cannot afford the high upfront costs of assessment and certification.
In this project, they are guided by the CarbonoLocal team throughout the certification and verification process. Investments will be made to scale up sustainability practices and to inspire neighbouring communities to join the action to protect the tropical dry forest and other important ecosystems.