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History was made in Brazil last month when the State Secretary of Environment for Amazonas (SEMA), on behalf of the State Government of Amazonas, and the Amazonas Sustainable Foundation (FAS), delivered its first-ever certificate of carbon emissions reduction Marriott International.
The presentation took place during the Climate Summit of the Americas in Guadalajara, Mexico. It’s the first time in Brazil where a certificate has been issued by a partnership between state government, a private company and a non-governmental organisation.
The certificate demonstrates the reduction of 400,000 tons of carbon dioxide (tCO2) by activities at the Sustainable Development Reserve (RDS) Juma, municipality of Novo Aripuanã, between 2006 and 2013, through the partnership and support of Marriott International, FAS and the Government of Amazonas. The Juma REDD+ project aims to curb deforestation and associated greenhouse gas emissions in a 2,770-square-mile area with significant land-use pressure in Brazil’s north western Amazon rainforest. To date, 96 percent of the Juma reserve – home to over 2000 residents in 39 communities - remains covered by rainforest.
Amazonas State Secretary of Environment, Antonio Stroski said, “The Environmental Services Law of Amazonas State allows these kind of investments to be executed in benefit of traditional communities residents in Conservation Units (UCs) as well as to develop innovative strategies of conservation and deforestation control.”
Virgilio Viana, director-general of FAS said, "This project is a milestone for the Amazon. In addition to curbing deforestation, it also helps to improve education, health, energy and income generation for the riverine communities. This delivery opens doors for new fundraising for environmental conservation and sustainable development in the Amazon.”
Marriott’s support for the project began in 2008, with a donation of USD 2 million to help protect the reserve, in addition to additional in-kind support and fundraising efforts. Marriott hotels in Brazil in particular continue to support the project and are exploring opportunities to expand the products from the reserve that they feature in their hotels. Brazil nuts appear on several of the hotel menus. In the next phase of the project, clients will also have the opportunity to offset their carbon emissions around the world.
Niki Zoli, Director of Social Responsibility and Community Engagement at Marriott International said, “Marriott’s long-term environmental strategy is focused on supporting innovative conservation efforts that extend beyond our hotel doors. Marriott was an early supporter of the Juma project and we continue to see the benefits of investing in protecting the Amazon - for the thousands of people living in the Juma community as well as our planet.”
The Juma REDD+ project was the first project in the world certificated at “gold level” in the Climate, Community and Biodiversity standard (CCBS). The goal of the project is to support the Juma SDR as part of an overall strategy to stop deforestation in the state of Amazonas, consequently avoiding the emission of approximately 3.6 million tons of carbon (2006-2016), which would be caused by illegal logging. By 2050 it’s expected to reduce about 190 million tons of CO2.
The evaluation of the project by the State Government demonstrates that the partnership has shown positive results by decreasing CO2 emissions, improving riverine communities’ welfare, and making the Juma REDD+ project an international model to inspire other countries and communities.