Fact check Tambopata

The fact check on the Tambopata forest protection project

The fact check on the Tambopata forest protection project

In the fact check, we review and refute foodwatch's statements on the Tambopata project using verifiable, rational and objective facts. 

The criticism of the foodwatch report on the Tambopata forest protection project is based on methodological errors and is not justified.

The requirements of VERRA's Verified Carbon Standard — in particular the criterion of additionality and the baseline assumption — are fulfilled and validated. The saved CO2e emissions have been confirmed through an independent analysis by the CO2 project rating agency, Sylvera, using satellite and geodata analysis. 

Insofar as there were delays or deviations in individual projects compared to the project outline submitted to VERRA in 2009, these were justified by the project developer, are plausibly as well as comprehensible and do not affect the value of the CO2e certificates issued. 

Independent analyses as the basis of the fact check

Renewed independent analyses consistently confirm the positive climate impact of the Tambopata project while observing high quality standards and regular certification.

  • Independent assessment by Sylvera, the internationally recognised expert on climate change projects. Sylvera specialises in assessing the effectiveness of climate change projects using geospatial data and artificial intelligence combined with deep methodological expertise. 
  • Re-verification of the entire project process - this includes the initial project outline, the validation of the basic project criteria and the verification and confirmation of the CO2 values by the independent, external organisations SCS Global Services and S & A Carbon (Validation & Verification Bodies).
  • Evidence from the local project developer Bosques Amazónicos (BAM) in Peru.


The fact check in a nutshell

Is the amount of emission certificates generated by the project appropriate?

Yes. The amount of emission reduction certificates issued by the project is adequate. This is confirmed by regular reviews of the project conducted by external auditors (SCS and S&A Carbon). 
Additionally, an independent analysis by Sylvera—based on satellite imagery and geospatial data—concludes that the amount of emission reduction certificates is realistic. 


Is additionality met?

In the case of Tambopata, financial additionality is given because without the revenues from the sale of emission reduction certificates, the project activities could not be financed. The environmental additionality of the Tambopata project has been confirmed several times by independent external auditors (S&A Carbon, SCS) and is clearly given by the forest protection, which is is given with the project and the associated avoidance of CO2 emissions.


Did the local project developer choose questionable sources for determining the baseline to make the amount of emission savings look good?  

No. The baseline scenario refers to the deforestation and the resulting emissions in the project area that would have occurred without the project activities. It is based on official data from the regional government that meets the quality requirements of leading international standards and has also been verified several times by the independent certifiers S&A Carbon and SCS. 

Note: The baseline calculation source cited in the foodwatch report did not exist in 2009, when the project was initiated.


Does the project protect the existing forest? 

That forest has been protected with the help of the project for more than 10 years. Data on forest loss in the project area and the neighbouring comparative area without forest protection clearly prove that externally certified forest protection is being successfully carried out here. The forest loss in the project area is undoubtedly provable many times lower.

The verification reports of the independent auditors and the data available from the geodata analyses on forest loss in the project area and the adjacent comparison area clearly prove the externally certified forest protection. Those are based on the internationally leading best-practice standard for forest conservation projects VCS. 


How do farmers become part of the forest protection project?

With the start of the project, the farmers were enabled to perform their existing land rights by identifying and marking the plots in the jungle for cultivation for the first time.

The foodwatch report neglects the local conditions in the tropical rainforest: just because a family owns land rights, it does not mean that they can perform those rights. Tambopata's project activities include the demarcation of concession areas. Only in this way, the farmers can know in which areas they should perform their rights and which part of the rainforest they should protect.


Is it true that the project has not brought any financial benefits to the farmers?

No. The families participating in the project benefit from the Tambopata project in many ways.

In the first years of the project, they received support in various ways. Project activities included training in the cultivation, harvesting and processing of Brazil nuts as well as the provision of machinery or the marking of plots in the jungle to enable the exercise of land rights. 

Since 2020, the project has been generating positive financial returns through the sale of emission reduction certificates and since then the farmers have been financially involved in the success. Each family has since received the equivalent of EUR 1,250 from the local project developer Bosques Amazónicos (BAM) in Peru. This was made possible in the first place by the increased demand for emission reduction certificates as a basis for financing the project. 


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