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Sign up for Innovation s Sustainability newsletter – a weekly round-up of Innovation Forum s latest events, analysis, and audio content.

IF is a purpose driven business based in London. Our people have collectively worked in sustainability for decades. Our mission is to help make sustainability mainstream in business. As a platform for change, we research, create, and facilitate debate-driven, focused events and discussions tackling the critical business sustainability challenges around the world. We support this work with online publishing, analysis and in-depth research into challenges we know are essential for business innovation towards sustainability, the circular economy, improved resilience and regeneration.

Audio only: in this 30 minute webinar, the latest in the From the Forest Frontlines series, hear from project members and community leaders at the Wildlife Works Mai Ndombe REDD+ project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Congo Basin is home to the world’s second-largest tropical rainforest and the largest carbon sink. The preservation of this forest is critical to mitigating climate change, as well as maintaining biodiversity and the livelihoods of 80 million people.

The Wildlife Works Mai Ndombe REDD+ project protects 300,000 hectares of rainforest and wetlands by addressing the drivers of deforestation and biodiversity loss while improving the well-being of local communities – which is achieved through the sale of verified emission reductions credits that are traded on the voluntary carbon market. An average annual reduction of 3.5m tonnes of CO2 equivalent now being achieved. The carbon financing that’s generated covers project costs and goes to the community, which funds activities including building schools and medical clinics based on their needs.

The emission reductions are verified by Verra’s Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and major socio-economic co-benefits by the Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) standard.

Over the past decade, agroforestry nurseries and sustainable farming crops and techniques have been introduced to relieve deforestation pressure on the local community. The project has so far built 10 schools – a total of 28 have been committed to – that are educating over 5,000 students. A new mobile medical clinic has treated thousands of patients who previously had little or no access to health care.

The project is an example of how private-sector investments and the voluntary carbon markets can support and finance community-led forest and biodiversity conservation, while helping companies meet their Sustainable Development Goal and net-zero pledges.

Welcome from: The Honourable Benjamin Toirambe Bamoning, secretary-general for environment and sustainable development, Government of Democratic Republic of the Congo

Panellists:

  • Prof Jean-Robert Bwangoy Bankanza Bolambee, DRC country director, Wildlife Works
  • Mme Chief Basabo Bolombala
  • M Chief Bola Bakali Ba Wema
  • M Engokulu Wanza, president of Grand LDC Lokanga
  • M Erasme Mboba, teacher at school funded by the Mai Ndombe project
  • Dr Bosenge Nswele, medical practitioner
  • Mme Anne Bokutu Bolekoka, community representative

The concept of regenerative agriculture is being hailed as the new paradigm in sustainable supply chains. While it is predominantly food brands that have acted fastest to make significant commitments to regenerative, the future of cotton production could be based on similar practices that aim to restore, renew and replenish the environment. However, big questions still stand on definitions, processes, outcomes, and crucially what this actually looks like on the ground.

In this hour-long webinar, we took a closer look at how regenerative practices can be applied to cotton farming. We discussed:

  • How regenerative apparel can be defined and how it differs from sustainable fashion
  • The opportunities and challenges for brands, farmers and partners in implementing such program
  • The key players in this transition and their roles in ensuring that these practices are scaled
  • How to determine the impact and specific outcomes of regenerative programs

Speakers included:

  • Alison Ward, CEO, CottonConnect
  • Rachel Kanter Kepnes, manager of supply chain social responsibility, farms & special programs, Patagonia
  • Sheetal Nischal, sustainability projects manager, Primark
  • Hanna Denes, Climate+ Strategy, senior manager, Textile Exchange
  • Peter Stanbury, senior associate, Innovation Forum

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