Carbon Project

The Carbon Project


The Carbon Project aims to support partners to develop carbon projects and build capacity for the generation of carbon credit financing in Ethiopia.


The Horn of Africa is, and will continue to be, significantly affected by the environmental fallout from climate change. Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and Djibouti have already been hit hard, and severe drought has pushed more than 3.5 million people in Ethiopia to the brink of starvation.

The Horn of Africa countries face a challenge to develop economically without using the many dirty technologies of the past. For example, Ethiopia’s Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) strategy sets out Ethiopia’s plans to achieve target growth via a carbon-constrained path.

Yet for Ethiopia, and the other countries in the Horn of Africa, the necessary upscale in clean technology to achieve green growth objectives is too expensive. However, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) introduced by the Kyoto Protocol offers a potential solution to offset the costs of developing clean energy in emerging markets. It allows developing countries to generate certified Carbon Emission Reductions (CER’s or carbon credits) through carbon reducing projects. These CER’s can be sold for profit to rich countries that cannot meet their carbon reduction targets. But so far, Africa is lagging behind other continents – of the 7,325 projects currently registered on the UNFCCC CDM online project bank, only 133, or 1.5%, are in Africa (Press Release ahead of the 5th Africa Carbon Forum, Cote d’Ivoire, 3-5July 2013).

A hindrance for carbon reducing projects in Africa is the limited capacity of project developers in the field of carbon credit financing. This element often requires specific skills, access to networks and a significant time commitment, all of which may be in absence. Because of this, many projects have missed potential opportunities to receive carbon credits.

The Carbon Project, and its Carbon Development Team (CDT) at HoA-REC&N, with the support of the Inter-Church Organization for Development Cooperation (ICCO) was launched on April 23, 2012.It will offer climate finance expertise and support to partners and project developers in order to develop carbon reducing projects, and build capacity to generate finance through carbon credits in Ethiopia, and the Horn of Africa region. The aim is that climate finance will be taken to rural communities to improve livelihoods, whilst the promotion of carbon-reducing projects will reduce degradation of natural resources in the area.

The project currently receives financing from ICCO but intends to be self-supporting in the future.

 Project Areas

The Carbon Project has started its activity in Oromia region, Arsi-Negelle, west Welega around Gimbi, extending to Anfilo, Yayu, Bonga, Yierga Cheffe and other parts of the country. Projects in these areas include those focusing on improved cook stoves and carbon-neutral coffee production.


Implementation Approaches

The Carbon Project requires close collaboration with partners and development practitioners. Communities and user groups are consulted at key stages and implementation approaches are designed to maximize the project’s long-term sustainability.

Project Components

Carbon project development

This element undertakes activities to fulfill the rigorous CDM requirements and procedures in order for a project to become accredited.

Networking with local and regional partners

The creation of a network of local and regional partners with expertise in carbon-reducing schemes and climate finance will enhance the successful development of carbon initiatives through knowledge and skills sharing.

Capacity building

This involves the ongoing process of building the capacity of partners and the CDT, and improving the management of The Carbon Project.

Current project: The Carbon-neutral Coffee Project

Ethiopia is believed to be the origin of coffee, andits finest coffee beans are grown in the shade of native trees, allowing the coffee cherries to retain moisture until they are ready to be harvested. Without shade, the coffee would be bitter tasting, inferior in quality, sold at a lower price and less productive, meaningless income for the farmer.

The Coffee Project has identified areas where deforestation is diminishing the potential for trees to provide adequate shade for coffee plants. The main factor driving deforestation is fuel wood collection for cooking with traditional stoves, a practice which is harmful to human health. Furthermore, the burning of hydrocarbon fuels, coal, charcoal, and even dung, contributes to the accumulation of greenhouse gases and soot, contributing to global warming. Intervention is required to introduce alternative fuels and improved cooking stoves into communities, as well as measures to increase and conserve forest cover.

The Max Havelaar Foundation (an independent Dutch fair trade certification organizationorganization), ICCO and HoA-REC&N are undertaking a project to improve and diversify the income of coffee farmers, generate climate finance from their operation, as well as protect the coffee forest. It will focus on the south-western part of the country where large areas of coffee forest are found.

 Major aims of the project:

  • Develop and disseminate improved cook stoves in the project area;
  • Livelihood diversification;
  • Forest protection and carbon credit generation through the UN’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) Program.

 Overall objective: Develop and market carbon-neutral coffee from the project area to the foreign market.

Project size: 30,000 coffee farmers/households

Proposed locations: Gimbi, Anfilo, Yayou, Bonga and Yirga Cheffe areas

 Interventions and locations

The project will focus on:

  • Introducing energy-saving technology including Fuel wood Saving Stoves (FSS);
  • Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP) (any useful substance, material or commodity obtained from a forest which does not require harvesting trees);
  • Forest protection activities e.g. REDD+;
  • Afforestation and reforestation of degraded and lost forest covers through participatory forest management systems (PFM)(a component of the CDM project);
  • Developing buffer zones around forest corridors;
  • Promoting innovative techniques to supplement farmers’ income.

 Yierga Cheffe is a coffee producing area with unique agro-forestry practices which could serve as a model for other coffee producing areas in the country. Therefore, the project will also build upon the existing traditional practices in this area and establish it as a learning hub.

Carbon credits will be generated by the use of FSS and also by avoiding further deforestation through the REDD+ program.

The project will quantify carbon emissions compensated by using FSS and REDD+ activities, and through these activities coffee producers can sell ‘carbon-neutral coffee’.

 Achievements to date

  • A proposal has been prepared for carbon-neutral coffee production in three thematic areas i.e. REDD+, Sustainable Energy Development and Livelihood Improvement through PFM, and steps have been taken to develop this as a project;
  • A Coordination Platform (CP) has been set up between the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperatives Union (OCFCU), Farm Africa, the Environment and Coffee Forest Forum (ECFF) and HoA-REC&N with the objective of mainstreaming the work of the CDT so that it is more relevant to all sectors. This platform will work closely with the Ministry of Environment and Forest, the Ministry of Water & Energy, the Ministry of Agriculture and the World Food Program (WFP);
  • An MoU was signed with the HoA-REC&N Kenya Chapter to strengthen the regional network and  help to develop CDM projects in the region;
  • A total of 11 HoA-REC&N staff and partners  took part in an exposure visit in India to share experiences about CDM projects;
  • The Project Design Document for the Gimbi Energy Project was completed – a step towards registering the project under the CDM;
  • The Arsi-Negelle Areke producer stakeholder consultation is being prepared, a project which could benefit more than 3000 people, mostly women who are involved in Areke production;
  • FSS are being manufactured and distributed in the Gimbi region.


Elmi Nure

Carbon Credit Officer