WWF China, South Pole Carbon & Climate friendly launch Panda program

“WWF has been working to protect the Giant Panda in China since the 1980’s. We are constantly looking for new ways to support them by protecting their habitat, while improving the lives of the local communities through sustainable technologies, while the energy-saving stove project piloted in Sichuan is one of the successful cases.” Liang Haitang, Head of WWF China’s Chengdu office said.

This new program is an excellent example of a “Win-Win-Win” scenario. Carbon finance, which is provided by COOP Switzerland as part of their sustainability program, is enabling the preservation of the Giant Panda habitat, improving the living conditions of Chinese villagers and serving as bridge to build understanding between the local nature reserve and the local villagers. Of course, it also reduces air pollution. This project exemplifies the extraordinary social, environmental and economic benefits that leading organisations are now drawing from their carbon programs.

This emission reduction project was developed by WWF China and South Pole Carbon. It currently involves 2,800 households in Sichuan Province, Southern China, in villages close to the Mamize Nature reserve that encompasses Giant Panda habitat. A team of 6 local experts, including conservation staff from WWF and carbon specialists from South Pole Carbon, has worked on the design, implementation and successful verification of the project for over three years. The key driver for the achievement of social and environmental benefits has been the replacement of inefficient wood cooking stoves with improved and smoke free versions for local villagers.

The traditional stoves require 20 to 30 tons of firewood per household to be collected from local forests each year, posing a risk to the nature reserve and Pandas, whilst the new ones require only 10. Most people spent 2 to 3 months to cut firewood, whereas it only takes about one month now. The most significant improvement has been on the air quality of the local communities. According to WHO, indoor air pollution from cooking fires kills around 2 million people every year, many of whom children. The removal of wood smoke from homes has immense health benefits: “Previously when I used the old stove, the room was turning black over time. Now that I use the new stove, there is no smoke at all. The room becomes bright.” QuemoWuzi, Local Villager

QeluoNvxi, a local villager who has one of the new stoves, sums it up when she says: “It saves a lot of work for me.”

One of the primary barriers for new nature reserves in areas like Sichuan Province is the relationship with the local people, where the goals of protecting natural habitat and the wellbeing of the locals can often be at odds. A project like this that improves the livelihoods of local people in a way that supports the nature reserve is a much preferable option to policing and law enforcement. “The relationship between the local people and us is getting better. It is very helpful for our conservation work.” Zhang Mianyue, Mamize Nature Reserve Officer.

South Pole Carbon’s local team of experts and WWF China has worked closely with the local communities for the installation of the new cooking stove, providing training and support to facilitate the transition from traditional to more efficient cooking technologies.

“Being on the ground and making sure that the new cookstoves are used properly and are well-accepted by the local communities is a fundamental component for the success of this project. It requires both technical proficiency and human skills: our partnership with WWF China has proved to be successful on both sides”. Caspar Chiquet, Principal, South Pole Carbon Beijing.

“COOP is serious about sustainability, that’s why we are continuously working to reduce our emissions. We are collaborating with WWF and South Pole Carbon to make sure that our offsetting projects really benefit those most in need.” Sibyl Anwander, COOP Switzerland.

“This project harnesses the expertise of WWF, Mamize Nature Reserve, South Pole Carbon and the local community to ensure that the carbon finance provided by COOP is delivering genuine, positive impacts for local communities and the environment. Since the establishment of our office in Beijing in 2007, this project represents the best example of our commitment to work with local communities and international NGOs to achieve the best of both worlds: emission reductions and improved living conditions. For us, it doesn’t get much more exciting than that.” Renat Heuberger, CEO, South Pole Carbon Group. 

Find out more about COOP’s commitment here
Find out more about the project here:
There is a video about the project available here:

Contact us for more information:
Ingrid Maier 
Communications and Marketing Director South Pole Carbon
+41 43 501 3552

Sally Castle
Marketing Director Climate Friendly
+61 414 099 534

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