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COP26: Pioneering carbon credit initiative announced to restore and protect African ecosystems

Published in The Independent

Nov. 5, 2021 

The Green 14 project is a joint venture of investment banking group Bacchus Capital and conservation organisation Space for Giants.

A major new initiative to fund nature preservation in Africa led by a leading natural resources sector investment banker and the international conservation organisation Space for Giants has been launched at COP26, during an event hosted by Kenya’s President Kenyatta.

The Green 14 initiative - named after the carbon family group on the Periodic Table - will coordinate a major conservation initiative across Africa to underwrite the restoration and protection of key heritage landscapes to the highest environmental standards, by creating high integrity carbon credits.

Launched by Bacchus Capital and Space for Giants, it will bring together high quality global capital providers with leading conservation expertise to support visionary African governments as they put in place the policies and frameworks to benefit fully from the developing market in carbon credits.

Experts suggest that the voluntary market in carbon offsets might be on track for a 1,000 percent rise in less than a decade. Carbon offsets, or carbon credits, are bought by companies, organisations, individuals, or even countries to balance the greenhouse gases they emit. They are a key mechanism used to achieve carbon neutrality, as part of global efforts to decarbonise economies.

Peter Bacchus, chairman of Bacchus Capital, said “Where we are today is at the start of a journey to recognise nature and natural landscapes not just for the benefit they bring to the environment, but also for the economic activity they support through removing carbon from the global atmosphere and storing it. The carbon credit market provides, for the first time, a framework enabling global conservation to move on from being a short term focused hand-to-mouth cottage industry to an endeavour that can be systematically planned strategically over the long term.”

Green 14 has four overarching objectives. First, to combat climate change by reversing deforestation and degradation and restoring ecosystems and their sequestration capacity resulting in an authentic, verified, reduction in carbon in the atmosphere.

Second, to prevent future pandemics by tackling the illegal wildlife trade. Third, to protect critical habitats which hold the balance of life in which we all depend, including many endangered species. And fourth, to address rural poverty by generating meaningful employment and creating community enterprises.

It comes amid significant progress towards financing climate positive actions at the Glasgow summit.

Banks and pension funds with assets worth £97tn have pledged that all assets they manage will be aligned with net zero emissions by 2050. More than 20 countries and financial institutions promised to stop funding fossil fuel development overseas, and put the £6bn a year that saves into green energy. South Africa, the planet’s 15th largest greenhouse gas emitter, will be given £6.3 billion to help it move away from coal and go green.

Space for Giants’ founder and CEO Dr Max Graham said “If we rewire the madness of the current global economy by connecting the transformative power of the financial markets to restore and protect Africa’s carbon sinks then we have a real opportunity to pay for something that we all need; our children’s future.”

Bacchus Capital has deep expertise across highly strategic global natural resources, in particular those supporting the green energy and battery technology sectors.

Most recently, Bacchus Capital founded and established Yellow Cake plc, a company created in anticipation of the key strategic need to reduce energy reliance on fossil fuels, and listed this company on the London Stock Exchange. Within three years, Yellow Cake has grown to a market capitalisation of close to a billion dollars.

Peter Bacchus, Bacchus Capital’s chairman, was formerly Global Head of Natural Resources at Morgan Stanley, where he was responsible for some of the most transformational transactions in the sector.

Space for Giants operates in 10 African countries, and is dedicated to protecting the natural landscapes in which both large wild animals and people can thrive.

The Giants Club is an initiative of Space for Giants which helps achieve that mission: it unites visionary leaders of African elephant-range states, enlightened heads of major businesses operating in Africa, global philanthropists, key influencers and leading wildlife protection experts.

Together, these individuals provide the very highest levels of political action, financial investment, global influence and technical capacity that are needed to protect Africa’s most important natural ecosystems and the large wild animals they hold.

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