The distinguishing features of Plan Vivo: a Stockholm University student investigation

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The distinguishing features of Plan Vivo: a Stockholm University student investigation x

Nicole Jones Josefin Nilsson Clara Rosander Sjöberg

Executive summary Alternatives for companies and individuals to invest in carbon offsets have increased over the last decades. Buying carbon credits on the voluntary carbon market from projects working with carbon sequestration has gradually developed into a more common complementary method for actors to compensate for their GHG emissions or to exhibit Corporate Social Responsibility. Accordingly, the number of resellers of carbon offsets on the voluntary market has increased and the number of climate compensating project standards alongside that. The issue of climate compensation is however not unproblematic. The climate compensation market is widely criticised for several shortcomings. It is argued that compensation only sequesters carbon in the short term and thus only can be seen as a complement to other measures to reduce emissions within an organisation.1 Other criticism touches on the ethical aspects of allowing justification of wealthy countries to continue polluting if their mitigation is compensated for in usually in poor countries located in the Global South. Researchers have also pointed out the risk of climate compensating projects to operate under almost colonial structures where the local population, their knowledge about, and presence in the area are neglected.2,3 Due to these uncertainties, it is crucial to gain an understanding of the factors needed for a treeplanting project to be sustainable in the long term. The Swedish based company ZeroMission, one of the biggest resellers of carbon offsets through the Plan Vivo standard, has therefore requested an investigation concerning tree-planting projects related to LULUCF. This report investigates the distinguishing features of Plan Vivo compared to other tree-planting initiatives and standards to determine the main factors required for a sustainable and long-lasting project. The standards used for comparison will be assessed against the article ‘Ten golden rules for reforestation to optimise carbon sequestration, biodiversity recovery and livelihood benefits.’4 In addition, a SWOT-analysis was conducted concerning Plan Vivo’s distinguishing organizational features. Furthermore, interviews with different stakeholders within five Plan Vivo projects, together with researchers in relevant fields, have been able to present the following key factors as important for a well-functioning climate compensation tree-planting project: (1) collaboration and commitment, (2) context specific land management plans, (3) transparency and monitoring, (4) positive synergy effects and (5) long-term planning. The examined Plan Vivo projects demonstrate eminently measures in relation to the above-mentioned rules. However, certain rules do not apply to Plan Vivo’s cornerstones per se, and it can be argued that it is difficult for a project to fully comply with all rules. Plan Vivo scores notably higher compared to non-certified organisations and is consistent with other certified bodies. The greatest difference between noncertified and certified organisations is the level of transparency and documentation accessibility.

Glossary Afforestation: Planting of trees and seedlings on land which have not been previously forested A/R: Afforestation/Reforestation Agroforestry: A mix of sustainable agricultural land management and the integration of trees Baseline scenario: The initial site condition of the project area, before project launch Deforestation: Destruction of forest ESS (Ecosystem services): Defined as direct or indirect services to the human well-being Leakage: Unexpected decrease or increase of greenhouse emissions in tree-planting projects LULUCF: Stands for ‘Land Use, Land-Use Change, and Forestry’ and are human activities affecting the carbon cycle Natural regeneration (NR): The process of trees naturally reproducing and transmitting to the adjacent Non-timber forest products (NTFPs): fruits, medicinal plants, honey, mushrooms, i.e., products that does not include logging Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES): Reimbursement of provision for ecosystem services Plan Vivos: Land management plans formulated by smallholders in Plan Vivo projects PVCs: Plan Vivo Certificates REDD+: Is a UN programme that stands for ‘Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation’ Reforestation: Recreation of forest on a previously forested area Transparency: Presentation of online documentation, the content shows deficiencies and gains, representing all parts of the working process

Figure 1: Illustration of the ten golden rules. Accessed from Di Sacco et al, 2021.

Table of contents Aims and purpose ........................................................................................................................................................ 1 Methods and materials ............................................................................................................................................... 1 Analysis......................................................................................................................................................................... 2 What organisational factors are required to be able to conduct a sustainable, long-term climate compensation tree-planting project?.................................................................................................................. 2 How well does Plan Vivo’s projects correspond to the ten golden rules for successful replanting and carbon sequestration? ........................................................................................................................................... 4 What distinguishes Plan Vivo from other tree-planting projects? ................................................................. 6 Discussion .................................................................................................................................................................... 8 What organisational factors are required to be able to conduct a sustainable, long-term climate compensation tree-planting project?.................................................................................................................. 8 How well does Plan Vivo´s projects correspond to the ten golden rules for successful replanting and carbon sequestration? ........................................................................................................................................... 8 What distinguishes Plan Vivo from other tree-planting projects? ............................................................... 10 Key Takeaways ........................................................................................................................................................... 11

Appendix .................................................................................................................................................................12 1.

Plan Vivo projects ........................................................................................................................................12


Clarification of data subjects..................................................................................................................... 13


Methodology ................................................................................................................................................18


Interview guides ..........................................................................................................................................22

References............................................................................................................................................................ 24

Aims and purpose This investigation specifically targets the distinguishing features of Plan Vivo tree-planting projects, of whom ZeroMission resells carbon credits. The investigation was initiated and formulated by ZeroMission and conducted by students at Stockholm University attending the bachelors programme in Human Geography. Five tree-planting projects around the world using the Plan Vivo Standard were assigned to be reviewed to get a further comprehension of whether these projects tend to meet multiple goals to a higher extent than other similar projects and standards. And if so, what organisational factors distinguish Plan Vivo from other resembling projects? ZeroMission wished for this to be analysed against the report Ten golden rules for reforestation to optimise carbon sequestration, biodiversity recovery and livelihood benefits.5 In regard to this, the following questions constitute the premise of this investigation: 1. What organisational factors are required to be able to conduct a sustainable, long-term climate compensation tree-planting project? 2. How well does Plan Vivo´s projects correspond to the ten golden rules for successful replanting and carbon sequestration? 3. What distinguishes Plan Vivo from other tree-planting projects?

Methods and materials The investigation method is divided into two principal parts; 1) an in-depth analysis of the five stated projects affiliated documentation, PDDs and annual reports, 2) the pursuance of digitalheld and written interviews with entrusted persons within the projects. In addition to the two main parts, literature studies of related academic research and dialogues with scholars in the field have been conducted to gain further insight to the questions at hand. Collectively, the collected data has been set against the academic report: Ten golden rules for reforestation to optimise carbon sequestration, biodiversity recovery and livelihood benefits. Said report was used to assess the feasibility of A/R tree-planting projects. The report does not cover agroforestry, of which some of the Plan Vivo projects partly consist of. However, the foundation in the report comprises of ten rules that strike both social, economic, and environmental sustainability dimensions. These ten rules were determined to act as a suitable guideline and coding method when evaluating the buoyancy of the five Plan Vivo projects against other certified standards, constituting CDM, Gold Standard and VCS, as well as the noncertified organisations, Better Globe, One Tree Planted and Treedom. Responsible for the noncertified organisations used for comparison were contacted and asked to participate, all but one answered. The certified organisations were not asked to participate. As a complement to the above-mentioned methodology, a SWOT analysis was formulated, summarising the main characteristics of Plan Vivo. The purpose of the SWOT analysis is to clarify possible defects and potentials within Plan Vivo and the tied projects in comparison with the other evaluated organisations in this report.6 1

Analysis What organisational factors are required to be able to conduct a sustainable, long-term climate compensation tree-planting project? This issue is largely subjective and relates to background and ideology. Responses from the project entrusts often concern experiences from their specific projects, while the researchers´ answers relate to theoretical and general structures. Consequently, the data will be presented in two parts: 1) Project entrusts, and 2) Researchers. The researchers’ three most important recommendations for a long-lasting, sustainable tree-planting project reliant on carbon credits are listed in no particular order.

1. Collaboration & commitment A frequently named factor for a successful tree-planting initiative is cooperation on different levels and between different stakeholders. Main stakeholders that are mentioned are farmers and partners and the ability to exchange knowledge between and within groups of stakeholders. Within the analysed projects and organisations, the certified standards have a strong emphasis on workshops, various trainings, farmers unions and such to further establish a collaborative ground. Commitment is related to the entire project cycle and is by Saramento7 described as something needed to be able to establish and maintain sustainable and long-term projects where all participants are involved, enthusiastic, and honour their respective responsibilities.

Relying transparency & monitoring Transparency is raised in relation to monitoring project activities. Mechanisms and plans to evaluate and assess implemented activities are according to entrusts transparency building, both towards smallholders and potential buyers. When assessing the project documentation, the certified standards use third part monitoring and verification at frequent intervals, assuring that standard objectives are followed. Monitoring also serves as a guide for future project development, ongoing plot monitoring is central in the work of Plan Vivo and can be combined with interview evaluations with participants concerning social outcomes. Ecological monitoring is done in relation to plot monitoring but otherwise this issue is not well developed, the presence or return of threatened species can be monitored through interviews. Additionally, most of the monitoring data is available for external stakeholders in the annual reports, depicting both prosperities, setbacks, and working processes. This project insight not only indicates sincerity but also increases the standard's reliability.

Long-term planning For projects to last long, they must undertake an adaptive management approach that uses local knowledge and favours smallholders preferred land management style. Planning involves reacting to somewhat unforeseen happenings such as weather conditions, arising project barriers8, and political disturbances and to improve the project's resilience to such events. Longterm planning is also of relevance in relation to evaluating the future revenue of planted trees. To be able to make an accurate ESS estimation, project managers need to schedule for and take into consideration certain climate changes that will change ecological conditions for the trees, and 2

hence lower their revenue.9

Context specific land management plans The Plan Vivos are developed by participating smallholders and oftentimes through so-called Community Led Design.10 Consequently, plans and methods are often adapted to context specific site characteristics, and smallholders decide what to plant and how their plot is going to be managed. Opportunities are given to plan the management in a way that ensures variable economical beneficiaries in the long term, in addition to the incentives for payments for carbon credits.11

Local technicians Local technicians help drive projects forward with their local knowledge. In some cases, as for Scolel´te, technicians have earlier been participants in the programme and therefore talk and act out of experience. They work closely with smallholders and form a bridge between them and other stakeholders, by speaking native languages and sharing cultural values. This helps to facilitate communication and problem solving.12

Selection of suitable tree species The selection of tree species is a key part of the Plan Vivo projects and their technical teams. Tree species must be chosen in accordance with several universal aspects, such as soil quality, water accessibility, beneficiaries for smallholders (NTFPs), among others. If working dynamically, it is possible to identify that some species have a higher ecological adaptability and socio-economic benefits in the long-term, and therefore these tree species should be prioritised.13

2. Rural development researcher: 14 1. Look at the bigger national picture when it comes to issues such as social context, democracy, values, and tenure rights. 2. Include social science research in project implementation and documentation. 3. Work with the entire local population, including marginalised groups (women, youths).

Ecological economist researcher: 15 1. Projects should be part of a positive sustainable ecological development, enhancing biological diversity, ESS and resilience. 2. Provide positive social and economic benefits for smallholders through variable financial structures, which only can be created through clear ownership structures. 3. Enable for projects to scale up and contribute to both the national and international scope by knowledge exchanges.

Forestry and land use researcher: 16 1. Provide financing structures other than carbon credits: NTFPs, selective logging, tourism. 2. Clarify ownership structures for both land and trees to avoid misunderstandings or conflicts, and give management rights to the local population. 3. Develop a clear incentive for why the project is better than any other land management alternative, not only in the short term, but also in the long term.


All researchers agree that the socio-economic aspect of tree-planting projects are of utmost importance and should be put in forefront comparatively to administrating carbon credits. Both Ostwald and Hahn underscore the necessity of creating income diversification for smallholders. Similarly, Hajdu stresses that the needs of local communities should be a core value in the projects. She expresses remarks about the I am not saying that tree-planting is a bad carbon complexities surrounding social and societal storage method, it is possible to do a lot within contexts in tree-planting projects in general and forestry. On the other hand, you should not mix it points towards a larger context where projects [carbon storage] into projects where money is to rarely count on factors beyond their control e.g., be kept and transferred. democratic or social disorder in the project areas. In turn, projects risk undermining these schemes which may result in disservices in the end.

Madelene Ostwald

Another issue addressed by most of the researchers is the tendency for organisations to simplify and overlook issues of social context (e.g., leakage, political climate, history) when implementing a tree-planting project. In the same manner, general criticism is directed to simplification in project documentation, regarding statements about difficulties, barriers, and failures. However, these tendencies are of lesser relevance for certified standards which have set guidelines and strict rules for the execution of projects. Accordingly, the importance of working with local organisations, responsible for the execution and supervising of projects, is put forward. However, using local coordinators and infrastructure is no guarantee for projects to be sustainably successful. It is simultaneously argued that there is no guarantee for certified projects to be sustainable in the long-term either, since these rely on strict monitoring, rules, and reporting, which in turn equals higher operating costs. None of the researchers have sufficient experience of the Plan Vivo standard to give further comments on its distinguishable features, therefore this amplification must be seen as non-specific and general.

How well does Plan Vivo’s projects correspond to the ten golden rules for successful replanting and carbon sequestration? Below the ten golden rules are measured against the five Plan Vivo projects. Where the data collection consisted of both reading project documentation (PDDs, annual reports) and conducting interviews, the chart is more grounded. Interviews were conducted with all projects except Trees for Global Benefits. For more information about the rules, see appendix. The values are measured according to the following parameters: Figure 2: Point scale

All projects apart from CommuniTree corresponded to Rule 1. CommuniTree was rated as partly corresponding because there is no declaration of protecting existing forests first.17 However, the other projects had low initial focus on protective measures due to the level of forest degradation. But preventive actions are taken by all projects, as for Scolel’te biological corridors are rehabilitated.18 When it comes to Rule 2 all 4

projects scored high. There is a profound attention towards involving farmers in the projects. A high degree of local and global collaboration can be tied to the projects, including buyers visits and research institutes. Rule 3 is rather complex to evaluate since some projects are relatively young. However, all projects declare the matter to various extent and strive towards a beneficial ground for biodiversity recovery resulting in such as soil fertility, return of species, and erosion control. The project areas are initially selected (Rule 4) due to given natural preconditions. Socioeconomic factors tied to the selection of project areas are well elaborated in the PDDs. Special attention has been given to land tenure rights both before and during the proceedings, this is seen in the PDD of Halo Verde19 where notions are given to ownership structures and socio-economical vulnerable groups. Figure 3: Assessment of the Plan Vivo projects against the ten golden rules.

Only Halo Verde and Scolel’te scored a high figure in Rule 5. The other projects have in comparison a passive approach to natural regeneration, which is linked to natural characteristics and the degree of degradation. In terms of Rule 6, all projects were given a high mark, mainly because native species are being used and if not so, there is an extensive argument to bolster why exotic species are planted. In like manner, the use of resilient plant material and infrastructural plans for seed supply (Rule 7 and 8) is also discussed in the PDDs. The degree of forest resilience is mostly evaluated in terms of the current conditions of the project area and not so much regarding possible future environmental challenges. As for the infrastructural part of the seed supply, many projects have experienced difficulties with obtaining good quality seeds. All projects do have an established plan for seed supply, whereas they work closely with the local coordinator. All project documentations contain clarifications on how to implement knowledge exchanges (Rule 9), however, the execution does vary but commonly includes activities such as exchanges between farmers, trainings, meetings, compliant mechanisms or workshops covering specific forestry themes. Rule 10 presses the matter of an equitable allocation of disbursement to smallholders. All projects were given a high rating because they all incorporate a 60/40 ratio of the payment where the bigger share goes to the farmers. Additionally, enforcements of various kinds regarding supplementary income diversification for the farmers are either planned for or already established. This can be done through micro credits, timber sales, ecotourism or as for Uganda, trading biochar.20


What distinguishes Plan Vivo from other tree-planting projects? Six tree-planting organisations will be presented in relation to Plan Vivo and the ten golden rules. Firstly, three certified bodies are featured, thereafter the non-certified are introduced. For further information about the other six organisations and their respective structures, see appendix.


Figure 4: Assessment of certified standards. For individual scoring, see matrix in appendix.

4 3 2

1 0 Rule 1 Rule 2 Rule 2 Rule 4 Rule 5 Rule 6 Rule 7 Rule 8 Rule 9 Rule 10


Gold Standard

Plan Vivo


Please note that the assessment is based on different materials. The CDM assessment is based on PDDs from two active projects and website material, the same is true for VCS, while the Gold Standard assessment is based on project documentation and associated documentation.


Figure 5: Assessment of uncertified standards. For individual scoring per rule, see matrix in appendix.

5 4 3

2 1 0

Rule 1 Rule 2 Rule 3 Rule 4 Rule 5 Rule 6 Rule 7 Rule 8 Rule 9 Rule 10 Better globe

One tree planted

Plan Vivo


The assessment of the three non-certified organisations is based on information collected from their respective websites. Although One Tree Planted did participate through a written interview, the website information and interview answers conformed and no additional data from this interview has been included in the analysis. 6

The SWOT analysis is based on analyses of project documentation and conducted interviews.



• • • • • •

• Documentational effects of financial diversifying outcomes for

Accessibility Local coordinator Monitoring Participatory design Socio-economic values at the core Transparency

smallholders • Gender equality + Women´s empowerment • Leakage • Seed supply and nurseries

Plan Vivo



• Extension of existing global networks

• Climate change and resilience

• Openness towards outer persons (research institutes) • Substantial publicity potentials • Up-scaling of projects

• Credibility due to difficulties estimating bouyancy • Local-global political, democratic, and economic instability • Overall bouyancy in relation to other climate compensation initatives

Transparency and accessibility factors stand out compared to the other evaluated Strengths: organisations. Transparency is mostly evident in the execution and presentation of project documents where feasible, substantial aspects are discussed and outlined. Plan Vivo exhibits openness and accessibility for investors to actively participate, compared to other certified standards. Other distinguishing strengths is the focus on socio-economic aspects, execution of monitoring activities, participatory design and that local organisations often are responsible for the project. Contains considerations that do not only correlate with Plan Vivo per se and its Weaknesses: internal shortcomings, but with tree-planting projects in general. The marks are outlined regarding the interviews with scholars and the literature studies in this report. This is especially true for the question of leakage and the ability to carry out a long-term, sustainable seed supply. Regarding financial diversity, there is deficient documentation of effects and outcomes for the participants. A few of the analysed projects exhibit a lack of focus on social sustainability regarding gender equality and marginalised groups. Indicate that Plan Vivo has further potential to grow and strengthen their Opportunities: position within the climate compensation sector. This due to the mentioned organisational strengths in combination with a transparent openness towards both stakeholders and the global arena. A further possibility could be to involve schools, researchers and alike to further strengthen knowledge exchanges within communities, regions, and nations. External probabilities concern major influential events and processes that could have Threats: a negative impact on the organisation and projects. The threats spectrum resembles the weaknesses in the sense that these factors also tend to be more of the generic kind. Climate change, buoyancy of tree-planting in terms of long-term survival as well as societal instability all pose as threats for the coming undertaking of tree-planting projects. 7

Discussion What organisational factors are required to be able to conduct a sustainable, long-term climate compensation tree-planting project? When examining the results from the analysis, it is eminent that it is important to adopt a context specific approach and methodology, working bottom-up and involving stakeholders from a broad range, incorporating local knowledge firstly when initiating tree-planting projects. The projects must aim to improve the three sustainability pillars; enhance biodiversity building ecological resilience, build on and develop social relations and collaboration, and provide monetary incentives for all parties. Furthermore, there is to be found that the project incentives must be well-founded and stipulated for smallholders to weigh the long-term benefits of the land management change against the baseline scenario. This must be based on clear and well communicated land ownership where management rights are devoted to local smallholders. Projects must strive to add financial structures other than carbon credits, NTFPs, to make the economic incentives positive for the participating smallholders. Findings from the analysis also involves matters of acquisition. Local knowledge and participation are key factors, it is advantageous if project initiators and coordinators origin from the same local context as the initiated project or have been on site for a long time. This builds trust and understanding of local needs and aims. If a project can manage collaboration between stakeholders, using grievance mechanisms, workshops and knowledge exchanges, the capability for long term commitment and planning are higher. It can also be suggested that planning in advance with composed baseline scenarios and potential project outcomes, learning from previous projects alike merits and demerits, and incorporating social science research would be advantageous for the project's as well. Finally, the trees should alongside realisations of ecological values be able to contribute to the social context, enhancing the livelihoods of participating smallholders.

How well does Plan Vivo´s projects correspond to the ten golden rules for successful replanting and carbon sequestration? The fulfilment of Rule 1 is dependent on initial site conditions which set the basis for whether preservation is possible in the first place. All reviewed Plan Vivo projects in this inquiry focus on deforested areas which oftentimes involve areas that no longer hold forests or are somewhat fully degraded. In consideration of this, the emphasis on conservation activities may increase during the project life cycle. However, a part of this rule is to find and treat catalysts of deforestation among all stakeholders, this is done by Plan Vivo through preventive measures like fire control and live fencing. Additionally, Plan Vivo do run other projects whose focus is on protecting existing forests, of which were not reviewed in this report. This result is therefore only relevant to the single projects mentioned in this inquiry, and not for all of Plan Vivo’s projects. In the matter of Rule 2, all projects were highly ranked. This could possibly be a result of Plan Vivo’s core work with enhancing the socio-economic livelihoods of smallholders and 8

communities. Notable is that younger projects tend to include a wider social range in the project documentation first-hand. While projects with an older lifespan tend to include marginalised groups and educational issues subsequently. Rule 2 also identifies that local populations can’t be treated as one homogenous group. Plan Vivo actively promotes this through a keen inclusion of women, acknowledgment of power hierarchies between the genders, cultural differences and including native local knowledge and practices in the project. Rule 3 is a broad issue that could possibly include various project outcomes. It is especially difficult to evaluate younger projects' durability towards this goal as trees generally grow quite unhurriedly. For both younger and more senior projects it appears to exist a lack of reliable instruments to sincerely measure final biodiversity outcomes and in many cases, the projects rely solely on the smallholders reports on what changes they can see in the project area. Examples of such are the return of species, cooler experienced microclimate, or soil fertility. It could be suggested that establishing more reliable ways to evaluate and document tangible results from biodiversity recovery, could forward positive outcomes in the long-term. Natural conditions, climate and site characteristics are primary to Rule 4. This is much discussed in all the projects and is included in the project documentation together with other complementary site information such as tenure rights and the scope of degradation. Potentially, the project documentation could further develop somewhat in some of the projects and elaborate matter such as proximity to natural forest, potential leakage resulting from the project, information about historical and contemporary land management. Rule 5 is advocated as a cost-effective alternative instead of A/R. As for Rule 1, this rule is not something that the reviewed Plan Vivo projects primarily work with. Accordingly, it is a time-consuming activity which may not have the same social, economic, and ecological implications on the local population. Some of the projects work with assisted NR or high intervention NR in various forms. In some cases, NR is incorporated into running projects, implementing sample plots or collection of seeds from natural forests. This rule could therefore be said to be intimately connected to Rule 9, working adaptively. Rule 6 is a rather complex issue to evaluate, especially in younger projects, since it is difficult to estimate what impact species and their interactions will have on the project area in the long-term. This matter could be said to have a close link to, Rule 7, and will therefore be discussed in unison. Typically, Plan Vivo uses a mix of native or naturalised species, on a few occasions exotic species are selected because they are expected to create synergies. No invasive or GMO species are planted. A question that could be elaborated further in PDDs would be which species should be chosen in relation to climate change. In like manner, Rule 8 concerns the infrastructural part of the seed supply. As discussed, many projects have experienced difficulties in obtaining good quality seeds even though several plans have been initiated. It could therefore be recommended to review said plans to see if there are improvements to be made to improve the durability of the seed supply. The two final rules 9 and 10 are somewhat interlinked since they address both knowledge and economic returns for stakeholders. Plans for creating high yield returns in both economical and knowledge-based terms are discussed and accounted for extensively in the project documentations in all the projects. However, there is a definite lack of presentation of what impact the learning outcomes and the economic incentives has had on the individual participants per se and the communities in their entirety.


What distinguishes Plan Vivo from other tree-planting projects? Transparency and available documentation One of the biggest differences between Plan Vivo and the non-certified organisations is transparency. The issue of transparency can be divided into three parts: (1) some of the organisations do not share PDDs or annual reports on their websites, (2) the organisations present their projects in merit terms only, (3) contains low or deficient monitoring. In relation to this, Plan Vivo shows a great measure of transparency. They do so in terms of the way the project documentation and associated monitoring is presented and by extension, the availability of these on their website. This may be linked to the fact that Plan Vivo operates below a standard and therefore has stricter protocols to follow and report. This becomes apparent when analysing the other certified standards, which likewise show a high degree of transparency and lots of available documentation on their respective websites. Nonetheless, Plan Vivo distinguish from the other organisations in the way of how risks, difficulties, and failures is presented in the project documentation and through held interviews. This is something that could consequently strengthen their credibility in the sector and towards stakeholders.

Monitoring & Leakage Major differences exist between the degree of monitoring and presentation of this through the six organisations’ documentation. Plan Vivo and the other certified standards use independent third party monitors as well as internal project assessment on a consistent basis. The non-certified organisations on the other hand, express that they monitor their activities, but findings and targeted measures are not expressed in any detail. Due to this, it is difficult to do a fair comparison of the monitoring structures amongst the organisations. However, it is apparent that the clear exhibited monitoring activities in the certified organisations do present a higher degree of credibility. Leakage is affected on a general basis in all studied organisations. The certified standards do address this matter, but it is nonetheless conducted in a slightly modest manner. The non-certified organisations merely press this issue and only mention it in passing. Although there exist difficulties with estimating potential leakage on different scales, organisations that affect the question can be said to show greater transparency. However, we believe that the question of leakage could be addressed and developed by all organisations.

Degree of bottom up One of Plan Vivo’s greatest strengths is the participatory design, especially through the Plan Vivos, of which examples are given in some PDDs. The certified standards do work with this, but Plan Vivo put more effort into reporting this which can be seen in the formulation of the project documentation. For instance, Plan Vivo in some projects presents stories from participating smallholders available for everyone. The stories themselves, does not guarantee that the project design is participatory but do however represent a holistic perspective which focuses and lifts the smallholders up. Comparatively the non-certified organisations say to be working with smallholders generating a project design alike the above mentioned. However, this is hard to evaluate since there is low record of this matter in their documentation. Often grand words and striking pictures are used instead.

Application simplicity and promotion When visiting the websites of the non-certified tree-planting organisations, it appears rather easy to get involved in projects. Some of them even offer the possibility to buy trees through a 10

shopping cart. The target group of these organisations appears to be both individuals and companies willing to invest in climate compensation. Plan Vivo and the other studied certified standards do not firstly sell climatic compensation in this manner, this is instead often done through external resellers like ZeroMission. This can give the impression to external stakeholders that the application process is quite complex and difficult to enter. The certified standards appear to seek the attention of investments from companies to a higher degree. Companies investing in the non-certified organisations, obtain digital presence and promotion in return, while the certified standards are more restrained when it comes to highlighting investors and partners.

Key Takeaways Plan Vivo stands out amongst comparable organisations. Mainly in terms of extensive documentation with a high degree of transparency. Additionally, in their participatory design, approachability towards stakeholders, and inclusion of socio-economic values. In comparison to other certified standards, Plan Vivo has a slightly enhanced feasibility regarding the clientele's accessibility to projects, both in terms of the transparent documentation but also in relation to customers' possibilities to connect and integrate to projects. Plan Vivo greatly differentiates from the non-certified organisations. Due to shortcomings in available documentation, the non-certified organisations lack in terms of transparency, monitoring activities and presentation of project activities in general. The non-certified organisations may look good on paper and be useful for private individuals wanting to climate compensate. But a question for further research would be to assess if stakeholders investing in non-certified organisations do this primarily to get advertisement and credibility, and not to climate compensate and reduce their own emissions. Plan Vivo excels in the fulfilment of the ten golden rules. As discussed, all rules don't appear to be reachable in one and the same project. The reviewed Plan Vivo projects in this report had some shortcomings on Protect existing forest first (Rule 1) and use natural regeneration wherever possible (Rule 5). In case of a desire and an ability for the Plan Vivo standard to comply with the rules , the results advocate for more focus on protecting activities. Additionally, there is a need for bigger accessibility for individuals to climate compensate through the standard. As well as broader marketing opportunities to gain global awareness and visibility. Although this report has touched and recovered some substantial findings in the field of treeplanting, it is recommended that further studies in this area should be conducted to be able to thoroughly investigate what organisationally distinguishes different tree-planting projects.


Appendix 1. Plan Vivo projects 1.1


ArBolivia, a Bolivian A/R and agroforestry project has been operational since 2007. The project operates in settler areas and is described as a business-driven solution to deforestation aiming to reforest project sites, improve land use through agroforestry and silvopastoral systems, implement forest protection and natural conservation. In 2020, 2600 participating households were registered (with PES agreements), managing a total area of 503 ha.21 ArBolivia was firstly implemented as a CDM project but due to policy changes in the Bolivian government it was 2011 verified by the Plan Vivo standard. The local coordinator operating on project sites is Sicirec Bolivia.22 In the evaluation of ArBolivias effort towards the ten golden rules the project scored a total of 33p/50p.



The Nicaraguan CommuniTree is an A/R and agroforestry project initiated 2010. It aims to reforest project sites mitigating climate change, increase and diversify smallholder’s income, enhance biological diversity, reduce forest degradation, increase forest cover and water retention and make forestry gender mainstream.23 This is to be done on previously under-utilised land, which 2020 consisted of a total of 2523 ha run by 502 smallholders (with PES agreements).24 CommuniTree is run by the Canadian company Taking Root.25 In the evaluation of CommuniTrees effort towards the ten golden rules, the project scored a total of 36p/50p.


Halo Verde

Halo Verde in Timor-Leste was first initiated in 2010 and the project activities took off in 2011. The projects main goals include A/R, assisted NR, agroforestry, overall improved land management, enhancement of biological diversity and smallholder livelihoods. 26 By 2020, a total of 74 ha is under management with 116 smallholders with PES agreements. 27 Halo Verde strives to reach a total reforestation hectare of 322 by 2029.28 To date no PVCs have been issued. The Timorese organisation FCOTI (Fundação Carbon Offset Timor), in collaboration with the Australian GTNT works as local coordinators.29 In the evaluation of Halo Verdes effort towards the ten golden rules the project scored a total of 39p/50p.



The Mexican project Scolel’te was the first Plan Vivo project established in 1997. It aims to mitigate climate change through A/R, implement agroforestry, strengthen local capacities, manage community forest areas through restoration and conservation, conservation of biodiversity and watersheds, prevention of soil erosion, and generate sustainable livelihoods.30 12

Today the project involves 1422 smallholders (with PES agreements) on a managed area of 9434 ha.31 Since Scolel’te was first project to trade credits on the voluntary carbon market, it has been acting as a benchmark for other projects alike and has helped to develop the Plan Vivo system. Scolel’te is run by the Mexican non-profit corporation AMBIO.32 In the evaluation of Scolel’tes effort towards the ten golden rules, the project scored a total of 38p/50p.


Trees for Global Benefit

Trees for global benefit (TGB) is a Ugandan project initiated 2003. It is a community-based project aiming to reduce deforestation while increasing and diversifying income streams for smallholders. TGB specifically aims to reduce pressure on natural resources in protected areas, contribute to biological conservation and watershed functions, increase productivity for farmers through implementing community-based social institutions based on issues such as gender equity.33 Today the project covers 7644 ha under management operated by 8996 smallholders with PES agreements.34 TGB is coordinated by The Environmental Conservation Trust of Uganda (ECOTRUST).35 In the evaluation of TGB’s efforts towards the ten golden rules, the project scored a total of 35p/50p.

2. Clarification of data subjects 2.1


ZeroMission was funded 2006 as an extension of the work of U&We, and was built upon the interest in using tree-plantation as a method for carbon offsets. Through partnership with the Plan Vivo Foundation, ZeroMission highly contributes to the reselling of PVCs to Swedish companies.36 ZeroMission is an active player in the climate compensation market, engaging, communicating, and participating in the overall climate compensation debate.


Plan Vivo

Plan Vivo is a certification body initiated in 1994 where LULUCF projects can choose to certify their projects against and obtain a ‘Plan Vivo standard’. The aims of Plan Vivo projects are threefold; (1) carbon sequestration, (2) biodiversity preservation and (3) enhanced livelihoods for smallholders in low-income countries in the Global South, dependent on natural resources. To meet these goals, Plan Vivo intends to work with flexible methods that fit in various local contexts, while including stakeholders from all levels, local farmers to PVC purchasers. Land use changes and tree-planting, among other things, is expected to bring several benefits to the participating smallholders. The carbon sequestered through the work of the Plan Vivo project is then sold as carbon credits, PES, in the form of PVCs on the voluntary carbon market. Participating smallholders receive 60% of the obtained gains, while the project administration and operational costs are covered by the remaining 40%.37 13



The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) was initiated in the beginning of the 21st century as a part of the UNFCCC38. The mechanism, that is today’s biggest regulatory project-based mechanism, is said to stimulate sustainable development in the Global South and facilitate reductions in GHG emissions in the Global North. To fulfil these said benefits, CDM certifies projects within a different number of sectors, reforestation and REDD+ being two of them, which are meant to generate new and more sustainable technologies as well as creating new job opportunities and increased economic activity. Credits, called CERs and equivalent to one tonne of CO2, are then generated through the various projects and are both tradable and saleable. The project cycle contains seven steps which every project needs to undergo before being credited with a certification: (1) Introduction of project design, (2) National approval, (3) Validation by a third-party, (4) Registration, (5) Monitoring activities, (6) Verification and (7) CER issuance.39 This investigation evaluates two reforestation projects under a CDM certification based in Nicaragua and Bolivia, that are resembling the baseline of the Plan Vivo projects. 40,41 The two projects implement activities such as silvopastoral farming, sustainable timber production, agroforestry endeavours and replantation, using native tree species that are expected to improve the surrounding biodiversity and ecological corridors. Both projects also have an in-depth focus on the socio-economic situation of the participants, bringing multiple economic beneficiaries and activities to the rural population with their operations. In the evaluation of CDM’s efforts towards the ten golden rules, the project scored a total of 33p/50p.


Gold Standard

Gold standard is a non-profit foundation founded in 2003 together with other international NGOs such as WWF on a mission to build climate security and sustainable development through offering carbon sequestration while ensuring the projects bring benefits to their neighbouring communities. Closely working with the SDGs 42, they make the market progress towards the Paris agreement through environmental markets, encourage corporations to reduce GHG emission within and beyond their boundaries and increase the mobility of climate finance through attracting private finance to comply with the Paris agreement. Gold Standard operates within a few different sectors of which ´Land use activities- Land based solutions´ is one, and they perform activities such as: (1) A/R, (2) agriculture, and (3) blue carbon.43 The A/R focus on conservation, selective harvesting, and forest rotation, and can include agroforestry and silvopasture. For projects to be verified several principals are required: (1) Contribution to climate security and sustainable development, (2) Safeguarding principles, (3) Stakeholder inclusivity, (4) Demonstration of real outcomes, (5) Financial additionality and ongoing financial need. This investigation evaluates two reforestation projects in Kenya and Costa Rica, that are resembling the baseline of the Plan Vivo projects.44,45 The two projects are focused on tree plantation using native and mixed species, rehabilitating natural vegetation, conserving existing biological corridors and improve water resource management. In the evaluation of Gold Standards efforts towards the ten golden rules, the project scored a total of 37p/50p.




VCS stands for ‘Verified Carbon Standard’ which is run by the NGO Verra. Verra started in 2005 as an initiative by several NGOs and organisations such as World Economic Forum, IETA, WBCSD and The Climate Group to improve the quality and assurance in the voluntary carbon market.46 Together these organisations presented the VCS program which made it possible for projects under the program to transform their carbon emission reductions into carbon credits or VCUs (Verified Carbon Units), equivalent to one metric tonne of CO2. The aim of the program is to create clear rules and procedures to generate successful GHG reducing projects, promote innovation within GHG reducing technologies and measures, provide workable frameworks that can be used in other GHG reducing programs as well as creating more links between the carbon markets in the world.47 Some of the requirements that all projects and programs need to fulfil concerns the aspect of (1) additionality where the projects only can be regarded as an additional and not main course of action to reduce one’s GHG emission and (2) transparency within the project that makes GHG-related information easily accessible for external parts. Projects in the VCS program can be operational in several different sectors, of which ‘Agriculture Forestry and other land use’ is one. This sectoral scope touches on categories such as afforestation and reforestation, improved forest management and REDD. 48 This investigation evaluates two reforestation projects in Mexico and Tanzania, that are resembling the baseline of the Plan Vivo projects. 49,50 The two projects use activities such as land-use planning, establishing of forest reserves, plantation and promoting environmental conservation. In the evaluation of VCS’s efforts towards the ten golden rules, the project scored a total of 33p/50p.


Better Globe

The Kenyan private owned company Better Globe Forestry was incorporated in Kenya in 2004 and in Uganda 2009 as a commercial operation which strive to reduce poverty and fight corruption in Africa through social entrepreneurship and large-scale tree-planting. The mission of the company is to plant as many trees as the number of people on the planet and become the largest tree-planting company located in arid and semi-arid areas. Currently, the Better Globe Forestry is active on two project sites in Kenya and in northern Uganda and sell individual trees as well as donation packages to customers that, after five years, receive a dividend for their planted trees. The trees planted are of the drought-resistant species Mukau that have never previously have been planted commercially on a large scale. In return for planting the trees, the area is expected to gain improved soil health, reduce soil erosion, and give easier access to technical assistance for the farmers. The trees are owned by the customers and are taken care of by the workers at Better Globe Forestry until the ownership ends. 51 What distinguishes Better Globe from other tree-planting organisations and projects is their focus on semi-arid areas of Africa which, according to Better Globe, gives the worst possible circumstances for forestry and the inhabitants have the toughest living conditions. In these areas, infrastructure is poor, the number of jobs and access to education is scarce and through treeplanting, Better Globe aims to change that by creating more jobs. By giving microloans without 15

collateral requirement to smallholder families, they create opportunities for the families to expand their farming operations and increasing their income.52 No project design, appendix or any annual reports are available online, therefore it is difficult to get an insight into the projects and their actual effects and impacts. As an owner of a tree, you can participate in arranged trips by Better Globe to Kenya and Uganda to visit the tree plantations and see how Better Globe runs their business. News and updates about the program is also published through social media and in their own magazine.53 In the evaluation of Better Globes efforts towards the ten golden rules, the project scored a total of 17p/50p.


One Tree Planted

The NGO One Tree Planted was initiated in 2014 and is run as an environmental charity. They strive to make it easier for individuals and businesses to give back to the environment, create a healthier climate, protect biodiversity and help reforestation by planting trees.54 The organisation itself works as a third-party link between projects run by other companies than One Tree Planted and their customers and have thus far planted around 11 million trees. They state that they work with a selected group of reforestation groups around the world, and you can get the names of each of these if you click on the specific project on their website but it’s at first sight rather unclear whether it’s One Tree Planted or another organisation who runs the projects. These groups that they collaborate with have ongoing projects in North America, Latin America, Africa and Asia. To picture an example of these groups, we examined one of their collaborative partners called Sustinere who runs a project in Choco, Colombia. On their website, they state that the tree- planting project in Choco will restore 100 ha of forest, strengthen economic development and gender equality in the area.55 No project design, appendix nor any reports on the status of the project is to be found on their site. It is therefore rather difficult to get any further details or insight into the project. When it comes to the donation and monitoring process, they give a rather simplified, illustrative picture of this process on their website. As a donor, you will get further info and photos once your tree has been planted. One Tree Planted does not have any monitoring schemes themselves at the specific sites but they do state that they request info and photos once the trees have been planted plus, a follow-up report one year after the plantation has taken place. The key metrics that they evaluate the projects from are as stated: Total number of trees planted, species planted, survival rate, area under restoration and number of jobs created. Regarding specific objectives with the tree-planting, they say that they strive for better air and water quality, optimised biodiversity conditions, social impact, better health and climate. The paragraph about biodiversity and social impact can be said to be of special interest to our report but unfortunately, One Tree Planted does not elaborate much further on how they could or should achieve improvements in these fields or how it should be evaluated.56 In the evaluation of One Tree Planted’s efforts towards the ten golden rules, the project scored a total of 14p/50p.



Treedom is an online platform funded in 2010, where individuals and companies can purchase a tree and follow it online. Native trees are planted by local farmers and to date, 17 countries have been included.57 Tree species are presented in a purchase window with information about each 16

species, its benefits, usages, and carbon storage potential.58 Treedom describes what is included in the cost of a purchased tree. which among other things includes plant and seedling security and capacity, training sessions for farmers, and monitoring and follow up through photographs. Treedom strives to combat soil erosion and desertification, to sequester carbon, protect biodiversity, and reforest targeted areas. The socio-economic benefits are described as increased income for farmers, covering costs, participation in species selection, and opportunities in training and income. Treedom works with 10 SDGs and has its own standard that is aimed at small-scale agricultural and forest projects in rural communities. The Treedom Standard methodology consists of seven phases: (1) Project documentation, (2) Approval, (3) Forest plan, (4) Planting and geotagging, (5) Remote monitoring, (6) Spot checks, (7) Entry in the tree registry.59 In each country concerned, several projects and forests can be included, with different buyers such as H&M and Samsung, and on-site partner organisations. A short site description and project aims are presented in connection to each country.60 The standard operates on the voluntary carbon market and calculates carbon capture per tree, it can be applied to all projects that require tree-planting and all trees are registered to avoid double counting. Additionality, permanence, and sustainability are being gone through quickly. Those who can apply for the Treedom standard are farmers cooperatives, NGOs and companies, one applying individual becomes the project developer and is responsible for the project running. Project areas must be owned by the project developer. The project cycle consists of the following steps: (1) Request, (2) Planning, (3) Validation, (4) Operational, (5) Reporting, (6) Updating activities, (7) Monitoring activities. 5% of the trees in each project are being put aside in a “Project reserve” as a risk buffer.61 A summary document “Code of ethics” is available on the website and should serve as a complement to the standard. This document is less than four pages long. In the evaluation of Treedoms efforts towards the ten golden rules, the project scored a total of 16p/50p.


Figure 6: The organisations individual scoring on the ten golden rules

3. Methodology 3.1

Analysis of PDD: s and Annual Reports

All available project documentation regarding the five Plan Vivo projects has been obtained from Plan Vivo’s website and later reviewed. The five grading system was used when analysing the PDDs and annual reports in relation to the ten golden rules. The grading system was structured as follows: 1. Not corresponding: The issue at hand is not mentioned at all or/and contain noncontextual prerequisites. 2. Partly corresponding: The issue is addressed but not further elaborated or/and contain low transparency or no data to support claims. 3. Corresponding: The issue is addressed with modest elaboration or/and contains a mean degree of transparency 4. Corresponds well: The issue is actively addressed and with an expanded transparency. 5. Corresponds very well: The issue is vigorously addressed with manifested proof of outcomes or/and contains a high degree of transparency and ongoing evaluation and monitoring activities. The non-certified organisations were assessed based on the same grading system. However, said organisations do not expose documentation for individual projects. Instead, they tend to outline characteristics and designs for the projects in total. Therefore, this analysis will mainly be based 18

on the general information that are to be had on their respective websites. When asked for project documentation, the organisations declined to answer. This may have to do with the fact that we do not constitute as costumers or major critical reviewers. The certified standards were assessed on the same grading system. Due to greater documentation accessibility, two specific projects certified under each standard were randomly selected to gain understanding of how PDDs and annual reports are formulated and structured. These project examples were used when assessing the fulfilment of the ten golden rules. Requirements for the picked projects were that they consisted of A/R implementation and were situated in a similar geographical context as the Plan Vivo projects.

3.2 Interviews Interviews were conducted with different parties, both entrusted individuals from each project and researchers. Representatives from all but one of the Plan Vivo projects were interviewed, therefore the data collection could be said to be deficient. Researchers which in various forms are related to the field were contacted, for us to be able to broaden the viewpoints and data collection. Three researchers with knowledge on the subject were interviewed. Each of these moves within the three respective sustainability pillars, social, economic, and ecological sustainability matters. The three non-standardised organisations used for comparison were also contacted and asked if they wanted to participate in the study. All but One Tree Planted answered our questions, however, the answers did not provide any additional information from the material on their website, therefore this interview was not included in the report. All parties were offered to participate in the interview on their terms, in terms of date, time and format. All respondents were given access to the semi-structured interview guide in advance. Interviews with researchers were conducted in Swedish, the other in English, the written interview with Scolel´te was translated into Spanish.

Respondent Alexandre Saramento

Flora Hajdu

Megan Burkholder

Thomas Hahn

Madelene Ostwald

Working title



Chief executive officer, Halo Verde, Timor-Leste

20 April 2021

What's App videocall

Associate professor in rural development, Swedish University of Agricultural sciences

22 April 2021


Forest project developer, Taking Root, Nicaragua

26 April 2021


Associate professor in ecological economy, Stockholm Resilience Centre

30 April 2021


Docent and affiliated researcher in forestry and land use, Chalmers University

4 May 2021



Elsa Esquivel and Helena Barona Lauren Dalmatoff

Anko Stilma


Project manager and carbon offset manager, Scolel’te, Mexico

12 May 2021


T.R.E.E.S. School Program Coordinator, One Tree Planted

18 May 2021


General manager, Sicirec Bolivia Ltda, ArBolivia, Bolivia

27 May 2021


Literature study

Supplementary material in the climatic compensation research area have been included in the report. Reviewed sources have been prioritised and used to entail a critical viewpoint regarding other sources. This has helped to create an overall picture of the field. Before conducting interviews with the researchers, some of their publications related to climate compensation and tree-planting were read through. The report ‘Ten golden rules’ is the main literary source in this report. It is written independently by a collaboration between several research institutes, it was recently published and therefore it may not have reached that many. While the Ten golden rules are relevant in this analysis, they do run the risk of becoming too generalised or simplified in some manners, social and economic issues, and consequently, not applicable to all the different contexts that tree-planting projects are situated in.62 The rules can be seen as relevant but are at the same time impossible to achieve in the one and same project.63 We therefore want to emphasise the rules as a good basis for discussion.


Figure 7: Illustration of the ten golden rules.



The timetable presented in the project plan has mainly been followed. Due to communication barriers (holidays, high workload, language, time difference), the interviews became a longer process than expected. Below is the timetable corresponding to the actual work presented.



• Interpretition & problem formulation • Familiarization with project documentation


• Formulation of project plan • Reading of project documentation


• Interview guides • Establish contact with projects and researchers


• Early analyses of project documentation • Continual contact with participants






• Interviews and data processing • Interviews and data processing • Half time seminar • Interview and data processing • Confirmational meeting with ZeroMission • Interview and data processing • Compliation of report


• Preparation of visual representation • Completion of report & proofreading


• 2/6 final seminar and presentation • 2/6 presentation for ZeroMission

4. Interview guides A joint semi-structured interview guide was made for entrusted persons in Plan Vivo projects. For each researcher, an adapted guide was formulated based on their research and research area, these guides consisted of fewer questions. Interview questions, comparable to 4.1 was sent to the three non-certified organisations, all but one responded.


Interview guide for entrusted persons in Plan Vivo projects

1. How long have you been employed as a ___ at Plan Vivos project in ___? 2. Please elaborate on how you’ve come to choose the specific project area in the first place? 3. Are you in any way working towards protecting existing forests and if so, how is this carried out? 4. How do you work with natural regeneration in the project sites? 5. To what extent have you levelled between choosing natural regeneration or reforestation as the key part of the project? Benefits, costs, ethical aspects etc. 6. In your opinion, are the local communities put at the core of your project? And if so, how do you ensure that this is implemented and visually shown? 7. To what extent do you try to take advantage of the local knowledge before you incorporate scientific methods in the project area/plantations? 8. How would you say that the level of emphasis on strengthening the local community's vs mitigation of carbon emissions is divided in the project? 9. Can you describe how you manage collaboration between different stakeholders in the project (farmers, technicians, coordinator)? How do you handle complaints and misunderstandings that might arise? 22

10. Can you name some of the most common obstacles for the farmers in your experience? How do you tackle these contingent obstacles? 11. To what extent do you rely on workshops, respectively learning-by-doing and knowledge exchange between smallholders to enhance deepened knowledge? How do you evaluate and ensure presumed learning outcomes from individuals in the communities? 12. How do you ensure and develop a diverse, sustainable income stream for participating stakeholders? 13. Do you evaluate positive outcomes from the income gains for families any further that is shown in the reports? Who in the household tends to be the biggest beneficiary of this? 14. According to you and what you have heard from your colleagues, what has been the aspect that has worked best throughout the project? 15. What has been the least functioning aspect throughout your time in the project? 16. Could you please elaborate further how you plan ahead for seed capacity and seed supply system in the project? 17. In your opinion, what do you think characterises Plan Vivo and distinct it from other carbon offsetting projects and foundations? 18. In conclusion, could you name the three most important factors for a well-functioning treeplanting project according to you?


Interview guide for entrusted persons in non-certified organisations

1. How long have you been employed as a ___ at ___ ? 2. What do you believe distinguishes and makes your organisation unique to others alike? 3. In our work we use the newly published report: Ten golden rules for reforestation to optimise carbon sequestration, biodiversity recovery and livelihood benefits, to assess different types of tree-planting projects and organisations. Have you heard about the report and read it, if so, do you agree that your organisation comply with these rules? 4. Could you please elaborate on the criteria’s on your project sites? What are the main criteria's you are looking for on the land when deciding on whether to start a project/plant a tree? To what extent are you protecting existing forests first? 5. How important do you think monitoring and evaluation activities of the projects are for your organisation both as a whole but also for your individual buyers and businesses interested in your products? To what extent is your methodology dynamic and adaptive? 6. How do you work with local infrastructure and local people (etc. nurseries) in relation to seed supply and seed capacity, how do you plan ahead? 7. What level of transparency towards all involved stakeholders do you think is needful in your trade? In your opinion, are the local communities put at the core of your project? How do you ensure that collaboration is maintained between different stakeholders in the projects? 8. According to you, what is the best way to present the mentioned above activities to your paying customers? 9. How do you ensure that the project is economically sustainable? How do you ensure that the project income is evenly distributed throughout the different stakeholders? 10. In your opinion, how would you rank the importance of positive outcomes for social and economic actions vs climate mediation in the tree-planting projects? 11. What would you say is the biggest advantage with not being tied to a specific certification standard? 12. Have you experienced any negative outcomes from not being tied to a specific certification standard? 13. In conclusion, please name the three most important factors for a successful tree-planting project!


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