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Business News of Friday, 1 February 2013

Source: myjoyonline

Local innovations tap into carbon financing

Proponents of green initiatives geared towards mitigating the impact of climate change are exploring opportunities to receive support under the global carbon credit arrangements.

Carbon trading is a thriving economic venture as a result of global interest in issues of climate change.

Ghana has in times past failed to benefit from carbon financing as schemes like the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and REDD Plus are yet to rake in the needed revenue.

But there are new opportunities under the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for small businesses who are contributing to a reduction in carbon emission.

“Some organizations in Ghana have been able to access the carbon credit, especially collaborating with international organizations and now there is a breakdown of the cumbersome process which will help small industries to be able to benefit from the carbon credit”, says Lovans Owusu-Takyi, who coordinates a number of activities related to climate change, including the Ghana Alliance for clean cookstoves.

At the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in 2009, industrialized countries set a goal of mobilizing $100 billion per year by 2020 to support mitigation and adaptation activities in developing countries.

The Gold Standard certification scheme, recognized internationally as the benchmark for quality and rigour in both the compliance and voluntary carbon markets, is mobilizing half a billion Euros for high impact carbon offset projects.

The Standard certifies renewable energy, energy efficiency, waste management and land use and forest carbon offset projects to ensure that they all demonstrate real and permanent greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions and sustainable development benefits in local communities that are measured, reported and verified.

Sustainable development company, Ecosur Afrique, has been working with enterprises in sub-Saharan Africa with focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The firm has successfully registered a waste-to-composting plant with Zoomlion Ghana Limited which is expected to be included in the UNFCCC scheme for carbon financing.

Project Manager, Alexandre Dunod, says success has also been recorded with improved cook stoves which are receiving regular revenue from both the voluntary and regulatory markets of carbon financing.

Ecosur Afrique is currently supporting a Kumasi-based efficient cook stove manufacturer to sail through the Gold Standard certification.

Man and Man Enterprise has been contributing to a greener Ghanaian economy with the production and marketing of efficient biomass cooking stoves.

The “Holy Cook” stoves is helping to relieve pressure on the country’s forests and reducing harmful smoke emissions.

Product innovator, Michael Yaw Agyei, says the stoves, made from scrap metals with an in-built ceramic lining, have social, environmental and economic benefits – reducing charcoal consumption by 40%, creating jobs for the youth and reducing forest depletion.

According to him, attracting external funding would position the firm to be competitive with other firms who are accessing carbon credit. This, he noted will help grow the business and also minimize the cost of the stove for poor communities.

“Some of the credit will be used to increase our production and through the increase we can increase our profit margin and most of the money will also be used to subsidize the cost so that the end user can get it at affordable price”, Michael stated.