Carbon finance is being used to fund a growing number of forestry projects and initiatives to improve access to energy for disadvantaged communities in the South. This kind of innovative funding is highly attractive, but requires specific expertise to navigate its complex and restrictive procedures. Returns on the initial (sometimes substantial) investment are by no means guaranteed and can take a long time to materialize; and some feel that the economic strategies and partnerships generated by this type of funding are inconsistent with the NGO ethos.
Do NGOs have a specific approach to carbon finance? What problems do they face in implementing development projects that mobilize carbon finance ? What safeguards are needed ? Is there such a thing as “social carbon”, and do the actors involved in carbon projects agree on a social approach to carbon ? How can the values that drive these projects be upheld and developed ?
Groupe initiatives (Gi) proposed a study day on the theme “Using carbon finance as a means of access to energy for the poor”. This took place on 19th October 2012, and was attended by nearly 80 participants working in development, research, the private sector and various institutions. The day’s proceedings are presented below as part of ongoing efforts to structure thinking about the way that development actors – and NGOs in particular – use carbon finance.