In West Africa on Tuesday, the carbon finance group, Ecosur Afrique, announced the first carbon credits transaction involving a seller and buyer in close collaboration with Investisseurs & Partenaires (I&P), an impact investment fund dedicated to small and medium size enterprises in sub-Saharan Africa and Volta Cars Rental Services (VRS), a car leasing company operating in the region.
The transaction, structured by the carbon finance group, allows VRS customers to offset the CO2 emissions of vehicles leased in Ghana, Ivory Coast and Senegal.
Behind the offset transaction
The carbon credits, or emission reductions, which are at base of the offset transaction, are generated from the dissemination of energy efficient cook stoves in Ivory Coast. These stoves are distributed as part of the Soutra Fourneau programme financed and operated by Ecosur Afrique.
By using these stoves charcoal consumption of small entrepreneurial users, such as restaurants or canteens, is reduced. The use of charcoal and firewood for cooking purposes remains a major source of CO2 emissions and deforestation in West Africa.
VRS will aggregate the offset demand of customers taking part in the ‘carbon neutral’ programme each quarter for the whole fleet concerned. In turn, the carbon credit purchases will be conducted with same periodicity.
Setting an environmental standard
Thomas Crand, the co-founder of VRS, states: “CO2 emissions are at the heart of our concerns and we are pleased to offer our customers the option to offset their carbon footprint. [This] transaction is pioneering and a unique choice, which distinguishes us on the West African market. We hope it will become standard in our sector.”
Beyond the environmental aspect, the benefits are numerous: redistribution of purchasing power to consumers, decrease of noxious fumes and the reduction of meal preparation time by half.
Fabrice Le Sache, CEO of Ecosur Afrique explaines the background of this pioneering transaction: “The exchange of carbon credits involves traditionally their transfer from developing countries to industrialized countries. We are convinced that the future of the market lies in part in the development of the South- South transactions, particularly within Africa.”
Le Sache continues: “We have been working for several years on our carbon credit offer in order to create sufficient liquidity allowing the emergence of such a market. Similar CO2 offset transactions are under negotiation with African hotel chains, carriers and agribusinesses.”