Meet Beatrice Ahimbisibwe. She’s a widowed single mother and a school-teacher in Uganda. Plus she creates 5.7 tons worth of carbon offsetting credits annually for TetraPak UK, a company intent on reducing its carbon footprint.
Ahimbisibwe owns a little plot of land on which she grows some of the trees involved in TetraPak’s contract to produce fresh air for all the pollution caused by its production processes. A case study of the carbon sequestration project on EcoSystemMarketplace.com reveals interesting insights into the practices of an emissions offsetting program.
The study reveals that when TetraPak UK started to scour around for options to trade carbons in 2003, the company didn’t get far all by itself. It found outside help at the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Management (ECCM). The first elemental step in the carbon footprint reduction effort which ECCM consulted TetraPak on was the devision of a computer program calculating the actual damage done. TetraPak’s annual carbon footprint is now monitored, based on real data.
In 2004, TetraPak UK began to actively reduce carbon emissions, which had been determined at 11,780 tons for 2001. This is where Uganda comes in sight. A total of 80%, of TetraPak UK’s carbon program “materializes” from Ugandan projects. The remaining 20% comes from bio-mass and solar energy projects in India and Sri Lanka.
The program was successful. In 2004, a 13% reduction was achieved from the company’s 2001 footprint. There are no legal requirements guiding companies here, so TetraPak’s regime is more or less self-imposed. TetraPak said it would try for a 15% reduction target in 2005.
Ahimbisibwe was approached by ECOTRUST, a Ugandan NGO, to sign a carbon sequestration contract. She was not using one hectare of land that she owns and was interested in planting native species of trees on it for the benefit of the environment. The contract she signed provides her with an amount of $8 per ton of sequestered carbon. She’s expected to generate 57 tons over ten years. Ahimbisibwe is quite happy with this, also because she hasn’t signed away too lenghy a time span. She’s allowed to prune and sell the wood after 15 years.