The Rejesha Principles
Compassionate Carbon (CC) approaches landscape restoration projects with two primary objectives: holistic restoration and direct partnership. CC collaborates directly with local communities that depend on restored resources to design and implement carbon projects that generate substantive benefits to local communities, regional biodiversity, and global climate.
CC has designed a core set of principles to guide the work and set it apart from other restoration and nature-based solution providers. CC calls them The Rejesha Principles (kuRejesha in KiSwahili means to restore). These principles form the basis of CC’s mission and are foundational in adding value to every project.
Based on decades of field-based experience with restoration solutions and groups such as the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration’s Task Force on Best Practices, CC’s commitment to these principles ensures that the long-term benefits are focused on the communities where activities are implemented. Furthermore, these principles go beyond industry standards and position CC’s projects as examples of best practices globally.
Community-based for community benefits: Fundamental to CC’s model is people-centered restoration. Communities and institutions are active stakeholders in every carbon project and are partners in project design, implementation, and operation, including in developing and administrating benefit-sharing arrangements.
Environmental Integrity: All projects under the banner of CC 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 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 Reforestation Projects (Eden) have a long-term commitment to the landscapes and communities they work with by funding long-term site maintenance and ongoing employment to ensure monitoring, preservation, and conservation activities. This includes the recruitment process for project staffing. Long-term commitments will build social capital and transformative economic impacts and ensure that CC projects meet the thresholds of permanence required by carbon standards and the Paris Agreement.
Holistic Restoration: Holistic restoration: All projects under the CC and Eden banner focus on a holistic definition of restoration. This requires monitoring a full suite of ecosystem services to restore ecological function. This goes beyond simply reforestation by including 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.
Adaptive management: In all projects, CC will practice a system of adaptive management through an iterative, data-driven approach to continuous improvement. This includes restoration techniques, community engagement, partnerships, monitoring tools, communicating lessons learned, and quantifying impacts. Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification are essential parts of ensuring transparency in carbon projects. CC’s approach will be based on satisfying standards and 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.