Wild Asia and partners bring low-tech solutions to combat climate change
- A carbon removal project that engages smallholders, using low-tech methods to mitigate climate change and improve livelihoods.
- Oil palm waste transformed into biochar helps improve soil quality, crop yields and biodiversity.
- A projection of 1 million mt of carbon sinks within 10 years
KUALA LUMPUR, April 21, 2022 — Malaysia-based social enterprise Wild Asia is pleased to announce its latest initiative – WAGS BIOchar for Smallholders with its partners, Biochar Life, Ithaka Institute and The Pond Foundation. This carbon removal project supports small farmers to produce biochar from their palm wastes, then to use the biochar to regenerate their soil, and to supplement their income by selling carbon removal credits on global markets
Biochar is a charcoal-like substance that is produced by burning organic materials, like agricultural and forestry wastes, in a kiln to create a stable form of carbon that is long-lasting and less likely to decompose in the soils. Although biochar technology is one of the recent strategies for carbon sequestration, the practice of adding charred biomass to improve soil quality is rooted in a 2000-year-old tradition in the Amazonian basin.
Through estimates from our technical partner, Switzerland-based Ithaka Institute, for every tonne of biochar produced, we can store 2mt of carbon dioxide equivalent in our soils for at least 75 to 100 years. This project can potentially build at least 1 million mt of carbon pools over a decade. Ithaka Institute is one of the main players behind the European Biochar Certification (EBC), a global standard used by biochar producers to issue science-based carbon-sink credits.
Our EBC-accredited partner Biochar Life will help validate the project and certify our farmer groups by applying the EBC standard for tropical smallholder agriculture and biochar production. Not only will the carbon removal (EBC) certificates provide the farmers access to global markets and financial incentives, the validation will enhance their visibility and inspire more farmers to adopt regenerative farming practices. As one of the project’s first partners, Swiss-based, global non-profit The Pond Foundation will be able to offer the first certificates on their MyCarbonZero platform.
“This project is a breakthrough strategy to encourage the transition to regenerative agriculture in palm oil,” says Wild Asia Executive Director Dr Reza Azmi. “Using low-cost methods and financial incentives, this initiative incentivises smallholder farmers to shift towards chemical-free farming, and gives them the tools to improve soil fertility and the potential to create a real climate impact (based on the total production area of smallholder farmers in Malaysia).”
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WAGS BIOchar for Smallholders is made possible by our technical partners: Ithaka Institute, Biochar Life and The Pond Foundation, who share our values,” Reza adds. “This work is also supported through our SPIRAL network (Small Producer Inclusivity Resilience Alliance), where technical and industry partners come together to work to improve livelihoods, promote sustainable agriculture and combat climate change.”
About Wild Asia Oil Palm Initiative (https://oilpalm.wildasia.org/)
Wild Asia’s mission is to inspire change from within the private-sector, through partnerships with businesses, to support initiatives that shape a better future for our environment, biodiversity, and people. Wild Asia has been working over the last decade to understand the principles of sustainable oil palm production by educating growers and supporting their efforts towards the International RSPO certification. This has involved supporting some of the largest palm oil growers or agri-businesses, and over the last 7-years, our attention has been focussed on the smaller oil palm producers. We now manage one of the largest group schemes in Malaysia for independent oil palm small producers. Our work supports the national policy for sustainable certification for all oil palm producers but rather than focus only on market access, we want to show that sustainable production actually benefits the farmers.
About Ithaka Institute (https://www.ithaka-institut.org)
The Ithaka Institute is an international open-source network for carbon strategies. It is a non-profit research foundation with the Headquarter in Europe having independent offices in Germany, the USA, and Nepal. In the last decade, Ithaka became a leading research collaboration for carbon sequestration and cycling through agronomic methods. The Institute is known for its expertise in production, post-production treatment, and use of biochar. Ithaka established the European Biochar Certificate and developed numerous biochar based products. They are engaged in several food security, soil fertility, and reforestation projects in Eastern Asia and Latin America.
About Biochar Life (https://biochar.life)
An impact venture of Warm Heart Worldwide, Biochar Life cools the climate by helping to remove carbon from the atmosphere. We mobilize a huge previously untapped human resource, the smallholder farmers of the developing world, to convert currently burned crop waste, a huge, previously ignored source of greenhouse gasses, into carbon sequestering biochar. Biochar Life’s mission is to support the environmental and wellness needs of the general public via the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reduction of emissions. Our proceeds and future investments will be deployed to improve the lives of rural communities and uplift the underrepresented, which will be accomplished by removing still more carbon dioxide and reducing emissions further. We are committed to gender and income equality by employing fair and equal hiring practices for the once excluded.
About Pond Foundation (https://www.thepondfoundation.org/)
The Pond Foundation is a Swiss-based, global non-profit that exists to change the way the world acts on climate change. Its signature My Carbon Zero program supports individuals and businesses to take strong, credible climate action. It does this by calculating their Lifetime Carbon Balance before determining a series of actions – RRRI Actions – to Reduce annual emissions, Reduce emissions elsewhere, Remove carbon from the atmosphere and Inspire others to do likewise.