Project Platonia

Long-term conservation of the tropical forest on privately-owned land

Situated in northeastern Paraguay within the Gran Chaco ecoregion, where deforestation has advanced to the fringes of the property, and cattle grazing stands as the alternative to the conservation project scenario.

deforestation

Project Platonia

Rio negro river

Rio Negro national park

has advanced to the fringes of the property

is adjacent to the two green reserves to the north and south of the property, meaning the project maintains a continuous ecosystem of significantly over 100,000 ha

is demarcated by eastern side
of the property, which also functions as Paraguay’s border to Bolivia

borders the south-side of the property

Project Platonia

REDD+ proJect

is a

and is currently undergoing the verification
process with Verra

Project Platonia is fully aligned with the following:

platonia objectives

The primary objective, long-term forest conservation, is achieved by signing a 45-year lease on privately-owned property, which also enables the generation of carbon credits.

deforestation

Project Platonia

Rio negro river

Rio Negro national park

has advanced to the fringes of the property

is adjacent to the two green reserves to the north and south of the property, meaning the project maintains a continuous ecosystem of significantly over 100,000 ha

is demarcated by eastern side
of the property, which also functions as Paraguay’s border to Bolivia

borders the south-side of the property

Project Platonia

REDD+ proJect

is a

and is currently undergoing the verification
process with Verra

Project Platonia is fully aligned with the following:

platonia objectives

The primary objective, long-term forest conservation, is achieved by signing a 45-year lease on privately-owned property, which also enables the generation of carbon credits.

Improving livelihood
of local communities

Enhancing biodiversity
and wildlife

Avoid planned
deforestation

Generation
of verified
carbon credits

KEY BENEFITS

Key benefits are achieved through on-site project activities,
enabling PROJECT PLATONIA to obtain CCB GOLD LEVEL ACCREDITATION.

Property size:

Carbon stock:

Carbon credit potential:

Area eligible for deforestation:

50,000+
250+
7,000,000+
25,000+
t
CO2
e
ha
ha

Improving livelihood
of local communities

Enhancing biodiversity
and wildlife

Avoid planned
deforestation

Generation
of verified
carbon credits

KEY BENEFITS

Key benefits are achieved through on-site project activities,
enabling PROJECT PLATONIA to obtain CCB GOLD LEVEL ACCREDITATION.

Property size:

Carbon stock:

Carbon credit potential:

Area eligible for deforestation:

50,000+
250+
7,000,000+
25,000+
t
e
CO2
ha
ha

Forest conservation

Carbon credit
validation
and verification

Community livelihood development

OPERATING TEAM

Project manager

Walden’s responsibilities include project design, development and management, coordination of parties in the carbon credit verification and issuance process, local stakeholder engagement, monetization of carbon credits, and accounting and reporting.

Walden’s team combines relevant experience across financing and technology with a passion for climate and carbon markets.

The project operator has reforested several hundreds of hectares with Pongamia trees and counts international corporations, including Oil Majors, to its offsetters of Pongamia nuts for the production of biofuel.

The company has been active in the Chaco for over a decade and one of the earliest investors in the area. Furthermore, it has verified the largest REDD+ project in Paraguay to date.

In 2023, the group will commence a reforestation project of several thousand hectares for a French multinational.

Leads project sourcing
and day-to-day management

Leads investment structuring, credit monetization and reporting

Previously VP Product TIER Mobility and M&A at Morgan Stanley

Previously Head of Strategy at TIER Mobility and M&A at Rothschild & Co

Hendrik Hoelzer

Alexander Dietl

BA in Economics from Oxford, MPhil in Sustainable Development from Cambridge

BSc Philosophy, Politics & Economics from Warwick University

PROJECT ACTIVITIES

operating partner

The team behind Walden's carbon partner recently spun out of a reputable global carbon project developer.

The individuals have spent over 20 years in the carbon market across REDD+, IFM and ARR project types. They are amongst the most accomplished technical consultants in the industry more than 20 projects in over 10 countries.

Importantly, the team has been behind the existing REDD+ project in the Chaco, demonstrating their familiarity with the region, the specific methodology and the operating partner.

SUSTAINABLE
DEVELOPMENT GOALS

carbon partner

The team behind Walden's carbon partner recently spun out of a reputable global carbon project developer.

The individuals have spent over 20 years in the carbon market across REDD+, IFM and ARR project types. They are amongst the most accomplished technical consultants in the industry more than 20 projects in over 10 countries.

Importantly, the team has been behind the existing REDD+ project in the Chaco, demonstrating their familiarity with the region, the specific methodology and the operating partner.

SUSTAINABLE
DEVELOPMENT GOALS

carbon partner

What would be the likely alternative use of the property?

Cattle grazing is very prevalent in the region and would be the alternative to a conservation project.

Cattle grazing plots already extend to the fringes of the property on the west. The soil is not fertile enough for soy farming, which explains the comparatively low land price.

What actually happens on project site to make it a REDD+ project?

First and foremost the goal of the project is

to protect it from ownership by agricultural players

who would clear the land and use it for cattle grazing. Beyond that several active conservation measures are carried out including the building of signs and selective fencing to protect from illegal logging, fire protection through the construction of protective trenches, biodiversity monitoring through trap cameras, ecological studies with partner universities, ecotourism with a dedicated visitor center and selective forest management.

If you stop deforestation on that particular property would it not just go elsewhere?

This phenomenon is called "leakage" and is assessed as part of the project methodology under the project risk buffers.

Here, it is important to note that usage decisions are made at the property level to maximize value. Paraguay is not experiencing increased national demand for beef that needs to be accommodated for.

What happens after the 13-year project period?

The project manager, Walden, will make a decision toward the end of the 13-year investment period regarding whether to pursue either:

I.) a perpetual conservation agreement, in which the property will be placed in a trust and become the property of the Paraguayan state, or II.) the sale of the property with specific usage restrictions.

In both scenarios, the long-term integrity of the project will be maintained. The utilization of the property after 30 years will be contingent upon the chosen exit strategy. Under option I.), the property will be designated as a national reserve/national park and managed by the government. Under option II.), the property will remain privately owned and could be utilized for personal recreation or sustainable forestry (the annual growth is logged each year).

What is the track record of operating partners?

Walden maintains a remarkably close relationship with both the local operator and carbon partner teams.

Local operator: The local operator has reforested several hundreds of hectares with Pongamia trees and partners with international companies like Shell, who are offsetting their Pongamia nut production for biofuel. The company has been actively engaged in the Chaco region for over a decade, making it one of the earliest investors in the area. In 2023, the group will initiate a reforestation project spanning several thousand hectares for a French multinational corporation.

Carbon partner: The team behind Walden's carbon partner recently emerged from a reputable global carbon project development entity. These individuals boast a collective experience of more than two decades in the carbon market, having worked extensively on REDD+, IFM, and ARR project categories. Their expertise ranks them among the most accomplished technical consultants within the industry, having contributed to over 20 projects across more than 10 countries.

Importantly, these partners together have successfully implemented the most ambitious REDD+ project in Paraguay to date.

How long does it take to register the project with Verra?

We can anticipate registration of the project by the end of 2024.

On the other hand, considering the current project's presence in the region and our relationship with the VVB body, we aim to mitigate or, ideally, eliminate any unexpected delays on the Verra side.

How is the carbon assessment conducted and the amount of credits calculated?

We utilize the VM0007 methodology for REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) to assess avoided planned deforestation.

This methodology incorporates the VCS (Verified Carbon Standard) and CCBS (Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standards) from Verra. Our carbon calculation model is designed in accordance with the UN Clean Development Mechanism.

Why are credits generated from deforestation prevention more favorable than credits for reforestation?

Avoided deforestation holds the greatest potential for cost-effective emission reduction among nature-based solutions.

The reforestation of native forests is a costly and time-consuming endeavor. The process of carbon sequestration is gradual, particularly for native species that have slow growth rates. Ultimately, reforested areas cannot attain the same level of biodiversity as primary native forests.

Both avoiding deforestation and reforesting are important, but using the Climate Change Bathtub Analogy: In order to stop a bathtub from overflowing, you can start by pulling the plug (reforestation / emission removal), but it is more important to first turn off the tap (avoided deforestation / avoiding emissions).

What changes are anticipated in the regulation of carbon credits and verification standards, and how will these changes impact the generation of credits within Project Platonia?

Paraguay regulations: Paraguay is currently in the process of passing a 'Carbon Law'. Once the law is passed, Paraguay is poised to become one of the leaders in effectively regulating and advancing the treatment of carbon credits. This legislation aims to establish a national carbon credit registry to monitor the international transfer of carbon credits. In line with this, Paraguay will be obligated to reserve a portion of these carbon units to fulfill its own commitments under the Paris Agreement. As a result, the marketability and value of carbon credits produced in Paraguay are expected to witness a significant increase.

Verification standards: Standards globally are working to tighten their methodologies and to get rid of legacy projects and project methodologies with low claims to additionality and overestimated carbon figures. This is a favorable development for Project Platonia credits for two main reasons: firstly, it reduces the overall supply of credits available in circulation; secondly, it enhances the value of credits generated by new projects that have stricter methodologies and more accurate carbon accounting.

How is the Walden Platonia Green Bond secured?

The bond is issued in accordance with the Luxembourg Securitization Law and are supported by an independent project verification board (SUstainalytics).

The Walden Platonia Green Bond is backed by a robust security framework.

Investors hold the primary position in the waterfall payment structure until the bond reaches maturity. The security of the project is reinforced by a pledge of 100% ownership of the entity that owns Project Platonia. This entity holds complete rights over the underlying land and carbon credits associated with the project. Consequently, in a waterfall event, investors will be entitled to an equitable share relative to their invested amount of both the underlying land and the carbon credits. This allocation enables investors to utilize or trade these assets in the market without incurring any losses, particularly considering the appreciating value of the land and the upward trajectory of carbon prices.

What are the most significant risk factors?

Mitigating property-related risks: Paraguay maintains a strongly pro-business stance and has enjoyed political stability for several decades. The country welcomes foreign investment and imposes no restrictions on foreign ownership.

Mitigating risks related to carbon rights: When considering the likelihood, the most substantial risks are as follows: I) The potential for a lower-than-expected number of carbon credits, and II) Credits not holding the anticipated value outlined in the business plan. Let's address both of these concerns individually:

The most significant losses would arise in the event of property expropriation or the loss of carbon rights.

However, both of these scenarios are highly unlikely, given the current political and economic climate in Paraguay, as detailed in this FAQ.

I) The risk associated with the lower generation of credits because the standing biomass is lower than anticipated. The risk is low as on ground biomass assessments have been carried out in close proximity to the property previously and would be conducted on the property prior the lease. The operating partner also has a close relationship with the environmental consultants, and they have offered their view on the property which has gone into the existing carbon assumptions.

I) As for the concern regarding the value of credits, there are numerous regulatory changes underway that are expected to support carbon credit prices.

Forest conservation

Forest conservation efforts encompass a comprehensive assessment of the forest's composition, structure, and health. This process yields essential data for implementing SUSTAINABLE FOREST MANAGEMENT practices. Additionally, these efforts involve installing cameras and traps to monitor wildlife, constructing trenches to prevent the spread of fires, and generating quarterly reports to track progress.

The project also entails continuous security measures and site maintenance efforts. It employs a range of techniques to monitor deforestation such as forest guard patrols on site, camera traps, and regular reviews of satellite imagery.

Carbon credit validation and verification

Avoiding greenhouse gases emissions from deforestation plays crucial role in climate enhancement within the region. This objective stands as one of the primary goals of Project Platonia.

The validation and verification of carbon credits from avoided planned deforestation is carried out in accordance with the VM0007 methodology for REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). This methodology integrates the VCS (Verified Carbon Standard) and CCBS (Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standards) from VERRA, while our carbon calculation model is aligned with the UN Clean Development Mechanism.

Community livelihood development

Communities within the Chaco territory distributed unequally, making it challenging to establish essential infrastructure, particularly in sectors like healthcare and education. Project Platonia is addressing this issue by focusing on the construction of road networks and pathways on its land, alongside the implementation of the "Chaco Alert" program.

The “Chaco Alert” program's objective is to provide transportation services to healthcare centres for medical emergencies in communities throughout the Chaco. It also provides aerial monitoring of project areas to issue early warnings of events that could endanger the forest and local communities.

Additionally, Project Platonia plans a visitor center and forest management workspace, prioritizing gender balance with nearly half the staff being women. Comprehensive training, covering labor rights, workplace safety, and advanced technology, will further empower all employees.

NO POVERTY

Expect to hire 10-20 full-time employees, providing people living in poverty with access to good-paying jobs, such as local forest monitors (i.e., forest guards or rangers).

ZERO HUNGER

The Project is working to increase the communities’ incomes which will also help reduce hunger.

The Project has the potential to avoid 7,022,333 CO2 emissions, which would significantly decrease pollution levels. This improvement in air quality will benefit the local community by reducing respiratory diseases.​

The implementation of the “Chaco Alert” air ambulance service will provide an invaluable transportation service to remote communities in the Chaco, benefiting those with critical needs, ​no resources, and limited mobility.

GOOD HEALTH AND WELL-BEING

QUALITY EDUCATION

Provide training and education to community workers, who consist of around 50 people, about labor rights and workplace safety. The visitor center will also provide educational opportunities about the importance of forest conservation.​

Moreover, the community will receive advanced technology training on how to use drones, camera traps, and other technological devices to collect more accurate and comprehensive data on the biodiversity in the region.

GENDER EQUALITY

Nearly half of employees (around 25-50) are women which will have improved livelihoods, health services, and education.

Access to clean water and sanitation facilities will be provided to all guests and workers. In addition, the Project’s activities will reduce erosion and water runoff, including runoff from cattle ranches.

CLEAN WATER & SANITATION

The Project’s electricity will primarily be supplied from the Foz Iguazu Hydroelectric Plant. In the future, solar panels might be installed throughout the Project’s remote areas, ​ such as at the guard stations and the visitor center.

AFFORDABLE
& CLEAN ENERGY

DECENT WORK
& ECONOMIC GROWTH

The Project is working to increase the communities’ incomes by providing access to good-paying jobs, such as local forest monitors (i.e., forest guards or rangers).​ The Project will provide work to local communities and is developing a sustainable economic model for the region.​

Introduction of technology such as GPS, drones, wildlife camera traps, computers, smart phones, enables employees to perform their jobs safely and effectively.

INDUSTRY, INNOVATION
& INFRASTRUCTURE

The Project is developing a new, innovative industry for the region which is focused on giving financial value to standing forests.

REDUCED INEQUALITIES​

The Project is seeking to reduce inequalities by providing, amongst many things, good-paying jobs.​

SUSTAINABLE CITIES
& COMMUNITIES

The Project is seeking to protect the Chaco Forest and safeguard this important cultural and natural heritage. The Chaco Forest is under grave threat from deforestation.​
As part of the ‘Chaco Alert’ program, local communities are engaged in surrounding areas to establish an early warning system for forest protection.

RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION
& PRODUCTION

The Project, as a forest conservation project, is promoting sustainable management and efficient use of the area’s natural resources.

Reduce deforestation and avoid GHG emissions by protecting more than 56,000 hectares of primary forest. The project is instrumental in building awareness among individuals and institutions worldwide regarding climate change and ways to protect nature.

CLIMATE ACTION

LIFE BELOW WATER

The conservation activities will reduce erosion and water runoff, including runoff from cattle ranches, which will benefit local waters, the rich river ecosystems on and bordering ​the property, and the wider Pantanal.

LIFE ON LAND

Reducing deforestation will also conserve the rich biodiversity of the surrounding Chaco forests, saving 870 wildlife species, including critically endangered pumas, jaguars, and armadillos