The VELUX Group and WWF embark on historic forest project estimated to contribute a saving of around one million tonnes of CO2 towards Uganda’s Paris Agreement pledge
The first VELUX funded forest project in its 20-year partnership with WWF International has now officially commenced.
The ‘Natural Forest Regeneration for Enhanced Carbon Stocks in the Albertine Rift’ (FRECAR) project will be led by WWF-Uganda in partnership with the National Forestry Authority of Uganda. A formal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in March 2021, and the Ugandan Government fully endorses the project.
WWF and the VELUX Group announce the official launch of an innovative forest regeneration project that will serve as Uganda’s largest ever contribution to its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). The approximately 34,000-hectare project is expected to provide a saving of around one million tonnes of CO2. All carbon emissions reductions or removals generated from the project funded by the VELUX Group, will serve as a contribution to the government of Uganda and help enhance the conditional NDCs.
The Natural Forest Regeneration for Enhanced Carbon Stocks (FRECAR) project is located in the Albertine Rift in Uganda, an area of exceptional faunal and moderate floral endemism which spans five nations. The forest regeneration project is the first of five such projects included in the 20-year long partnership between WWF and the VELUX Group launched in 2020.
The official launch of the Uganda FRECAR project took place at a virtual inception meeting, due to the on-going country-wide lockdown in Uganda. The successful meeting had participation from a large group of stakeholders including the National Forestry Authority of Uganda, representatives from the local communities, the carbon development consultancy, Face the Future, WWF Denmark, and WWF Uganda.
Led by WWF-Uganda, in partnership with Uganda’s National Forestry Authority (NFA), the FRECAR project will entail regenerating the Murchison-Semuliki landscape (Kagombe and Bugoma CFRs) in the Albertine Rift. A biodiversity hotspot, this region boasts 6,568 plant species and 1,833 terrestrial vertebrates in its tropical moist forests. However, the Murchison-Semuliki landscape has suffered a 66% decline in forest cover in the last two decades alone, one of the highest deforestation rates in Uganda. Despite most of Uganda’s protected areas being concentrated here, pressure from agricultural land use, illegal timber logging and human settlement have led to significant forest degradation. Unsustainable agricultural use alone has led to an 88% reduction of the forest area in the Kagombe region, while more than half has been lost in Bugoma.
The 20 years project period of the FRECAR makes it ideal for Natural Forest regeneration. It addresses biodiversity, climate and livelihood issues simultaneously and will be implemented in a region that has faced the worst forest losses in the last 20 years,
I am pleased that our forest conservation partner WWF has achieved this approval. Now its planned activities in Uganda can move ahead to help reverse forest cover loss. This is a first important step to deliver on our historical carbon capture. The FRECAR project is part of our wider 20-year partnership with WWF that will see us capture our historical CO2. This will enable us to become Lifetime Carbon Neutral and go beyond our 2030 company carbon neutrality goal and value chain reductions,
Commenting on the official endorsement and launch of the FRECAR project, Tom Okello, Executive Director of National Forestry Authority in Uganda, stated that he was excited about the project that is meant to reverse the forest cover loss in the project area. In fact, more than 60% of the forests in this region have been lost between 2005 and 2015v.
Following the formal kick-off meeting and specialised technical meetings held in July, it is expected that the tree planting will commence in Spring 2022. The validation process of the amount of carbon to be delivered by the Uganda forest project is expected to be completed in the first half of 2022.
The monumental FRECAR restoration and conservation project will serve as a cornerstone of Uganda’s Vision 2040 and National Development Plan III. By focusing on preserving forest corridors, it will play a significant role in supporting the Ugandan government’s efforts to return its natural landscapes back to 1990 levels.
To be delivered over the next 20 years, the FRECAR project is currently in the implementation phase. Future phases of the project will include a plan for planting trees to facilitate natural forest restoration. This will be implemented alongside REDD approaches – focused on addressing the drivers of deforestation and degradation of the existing natural forests, and carried out in close collaboration with local communities and other stakeholders in the landscape. WWF-Uganda will undertake a decade of monitoring in the Kagombe-Bugoma landscape. This will focus on determining the impacts of the project on carbon, biodiversity, communities, and individual households living in the area.
The WWF and VELUX partnership - working together to capture VELUX historical CO2
WWF International and the VELUX Group have launched one of the most ambitious corporate climate and nature actions seen, taking responsibility for both past and future carbon emissions. This commitment forms part of a historic 20-year global partnership between WWF International and the VELUX Group which will deliver a significant part of the company’s commitment to become Lifetime Carbon Neutral by 2041.
The VELUX Group has joined the Science Based Targets initiative, committing to the Paris Agreement’s most ambitious 1.5°C reduction pathway and by 2030 become a carbon neutral company and have halved the CO2 across its value chain. This commitment will see the VELUX Group’s historical carbon footprint – 5.6 million tonnes of CO2 including a 25% buffer (scope 1 and 2) emitted since it was founded in 1941 – captured in five forest conservation projects developed and run by WWF. In this long-term partnership, WWF and VELUX Group will drive conservation results based on our shared interest in protecting and restoring forests globally.
For more information on Lifetime Carbon Neutral and the forest conservation projects at the heart of the partnership with WWF, please visit Velux | WWF (panda.org).
About the VELUX Group
For more than 80 years, the VELUX Group has created better living environments for people around the world; making the most of daylight and fresh air through the roof. Our product programme includes roof windows and modular skylights, decorative blinds, sun screening products and roller shutters, as well as installation and smart home solutions. These products help to ensure a healthy and sustainable indoor climate, for work and learning, for play and pleasure. We work globally – with sales and manufacturing operations in more than 36 countries and around 11,000 employees worldwide. The VELUX Group is owned by VKR Holding A/S, a limited company wholly owned by non-profit, charitable foundations (THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS) and family. In 2022, the VELUX Group had total revenue of EUR 2.99 billion, VKR Holding had total revenue of EUR 4.29 billion, and THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS donated EUR 181 million in charitable grants.
For more information about VELUX Group, visit velux.com.