REDD+ (Reducing Emission from Deforestation and forest Degradation) has become important element to offset residual hard to abate emissions in the decarbonization strategy of Eni that targets carbon neutrality in 2050.
REDD+ projects, implemented within the new mission aligned to the UN Agenda 2030, operate in a context of sustainable development, protecting local forests and biodiversity while also promoting the economic and social development of the hosting communities through diversification of subsistence means and returns of investments in the local economy.
Following specific sets of rules and requirements intended to ensure credible and significant integrated co-benefits, such projects can be sensitively designed to bring sustainable livelihoods to local people, reducing poverty while responding to climate change.
The payment-for-performance concept ("results-based") integrated in Eni REDD+ projects entails that the implementation, monitoring and verification of REDD+ activities that generate net positive benefits on forest carbon stock and biodiversity (environmental sustainability) are awarded through payments for the verified metric tons of net emission reductions achieved. Through its participation in the governance of such projects, Eni contributes to the selection and design of project activities that consider the risk of reversals, in order to guarantee the long-term financial and ecological sustainability of the project.
Based on such working plans, determined through multiple level stakeholder engagement, entities receiving such payments reinvest the proceeds in activities targeting local communities and fostering local development (socio-economic sustainability), through the diversification of livelihoods and income generating activities. These co-benefits are complemented by those benefits linked to the permanence of ecosystem services in the project area, thank to REDD+ activities, upon which many people still depend on.
This virtuous cycle emphasizes the importance of non-carbon benefits for the long-term overall sustainability of REDD+ projects. Actions aimed to ensure this shall indeed consider a minimization of the risks of reversals, which in turn requires addressing, among others, local socio-economic needs.
Within this context, the role of private sector is fundamental for its technology and innovation capacity needed for REDD+, as well as for its financial availabilities, in order to guarantee sustainable development and foster capacity building.
A deeper focus on specific case studies selected from Eni projects will be included in the paper to outline the applicability to the energy sector.