The Rejesha Principles
Compassionate Carbon (CC) approaches landscape restoration projects with two primary objectives: Holistic Restoration and Direct Partnership. We design our projects to generate substantive benefits for the local community, regional biodiversity, and global climate. Secondly, we implement our projects directly with the local communities who depend on the resources being restored.
With this in mind, CC has designed a core set of principles intended to guide our work and set us apart from other restoration and nature-based solution providers. These principles are based on decades of field-based experience with pragmatic restoration solutions, and although they are broadly aligned with groups such as the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration’s Task Force on Best Practices, CC’s commitment to our principles goes further, ensuring that long-term benefits are concentrated on the communities where the actions are taken. Furthermore, these principles go beyond industry standards and thus position CC’s projects as examples of best practice globally. We call them The Rejesha Principles (kuRejesha in KiSwahili means to restore). These principles form not only the basis of our mission but are foundational in adding value to every project we undertake.
Community-based for community benefits: Fundamental to CC’s model is people-centered restoration. This means that the purpose and strategies for restoration activities are centered on communities adjacent and/or dependent on the forest and the resources and services it provides, and the accrual of benefits. Community stakeholders and institutions are active stakeholders in every carbon project and are partners in project design, implementation and operation, including in the development and administration of benefit-sharing arrangements.
Environmental Integrity: All projects under the banner of CC will prioritize environmental integrity. This is not only a commitment to ensure that emissions reductions and removals are real, verifiable, and permanent but that the pathways to achieving those reductions and removals have been implemented in a way that prioritizes ecological context and is itself restorative. For example, all CC projects will use only indigenous seedlings in restoration, and other inputs in restoration activities, appropriate to the environmental context in which they are being planted. Additionally, wherever possible, a supply chain of seeds and other local inputs will be established in the adjacent communities, to continue to build value for local forests, and provide local economic opportunities.
Social Capital: All projects associated with CC and Eden will have a long-term commitment to the landscapes and the communities in which they are working by funding long-term site maintenance and ongoing employment to ensure monitoring, preservation, and conservation activities. This includes in how we recruit for project staffing, and that commitment will build social capital and the transformative economic impacts of CC’s mission, as well as ensure that CC projects meet the thresholds of permanence required by carbon standards and the Paris Agreement.
Holistic Restoration: All projects under the CC and Eden banner will focus on a holistic definition of restoration. This requires monitoring of a full suite of ecosystem services with the aim to restore ecological function. This goes beyond simply reforestation and will include ongoing conservation activities, biodiversity monitoring and enhancement, hydrological monitoring, and socioeconomic programs and monitoring. Best practices such as those developed by the Royal Botanical Society will guide all restoration activities, and as new evidence emerges, CC will continue to adapt to new approaches.
Adaptive management: In all projects, we will practice a system of adaptive management, through an iterative, data-driven approach to continuous improvement. This includes restoration techniques, community engagement and partnerships, monitoring tools, communicating lessons learned, and quantifying impacts. Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification are an essential part of ensuring transparency in carbon projects, and our approaches will be based on not only satisfying standards, but ensuring management decisions are guided by rigorously generated empirical evidence.
Best practices for inventories, quantification, and GHG estimation: Projects developed under the CC banner will use country-approved methodologies for quantification and project development in line with the best practice (i.e. IPCC Good Practice Guidance), in both voluntary and, where applicable, regulatory contexts. Where an appropriate approved methodology does not exist, CC will collaborate with credible research organizations to develop a rigorous, defensible approach, and will continue to update these approaches as refinements are made.