In an article in NRC on June 3rd, Michel Schuurman and Erik van Zadelhoff (chairman and secretary of the REDD+ Business Initiative, respectively) argue that while the trade in carbon certificates is rightly criticized, it is too important to abolish. They assert that the voluntary trade in carbon certificates is too important to be left to the market alone.

Read here the Dutch article online (only for subscribers of the NRC)

Read here the article in pdf

According to new data from the University of Maryland, accessible through WRI’s Global Forest Watch, the loss of primary forests in 2023 amounted to 3.7 million hectares, an area comparable to that of The Netherlands. Although this marks a 9% decrease from 2022, the rate of loss in 2023 closely mirrored that of 2019 and 2021. The cumulative loss of these forests resulted in the emission of 2.4 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon dioxide in 2023, equivalent to the total emissions of the EU in 2022.

The disparities among countries were notable. Brazil and Colombia saw significant reductions in primary forest loss between 2022 and 2023, with decreases of 36% and 49% respectively. However, these achievements were offset by steep increases in forest loss in Bolivia, Laos, and Nicaragua, along with more moderate rises in other nations.

Latest analysis deforestation trends

Achieving climate neutrality in Europe by 2050 necessitates significant greenhouse gas reductions and carbon removal to offset unavoidable emissions. Brussels has initiated the Carbon Removal Certification Framework (CRCF) to amplify carbon removal efforts and combat greenwashing, enabling businesses to demonstrate action with certified units. Temporary carbon storage from farming, forest restoration, or soil emission reductions is distinguished from ‘permanent’ removals under the EU scheme, requiring CO2 sequestration to last at least five years for certification.

The scheme faces criticism on several fronts. Firstly, the EU’s exclusion of international carbon credits to meet its climate targets may disadvantage developing countries. The breakdown of talks at COP28 in Dubai regarding voluntary action under the Paris Agreement (Art.6) partly stems from conflict with CRCF. Secondly, concerns arise over the applicability of the EU’s high standards for developing countries, potentially excluding them from much-needed external funding. Thirdly, RBI is particularly alarmed by the scheme’s disregard for certifying avoidance action, further marginalizing forest and peatland conservation efforts by the EU.


In January 2024, the SBTi prioritized revising its Corporate Net-Zero Standard, aiming to provide additional guidance on addressing scope 3 emissions. On April 9th, SBTi’s Board of Trustees stated that, with proper oversight, offsetting with environmental attribute certificates (carbon credits) could serve as an additional tool for mitigating climate change. The Board emphasized the need for SBTi to define guardrails and rules for the valid use of these certificates, aligning with mitigation hierarchy principles.

Despite internal concerns, the Board reiterated on April 19th that this proposal is part of the revision process of the Net-Zero Standard. Following stakeholder consultations, SBTi plans to issue a first draft of rules by July 2024.

RBI welcomes the Board’s proposal, as it’s crucial for companies to achieve their net-zero targets. It will bolster the VCM, subsequently aiding forest conservation efforts.

Statement from the SBTI Board of Trustees


RBI’s public event on March 27th delivered invaluable insights to its 25 participants and garnered high praise. Thomas Leneveu (Tarkett) and Jop Weterings (McKinsey) exemplified how REDD+ can be integrated in corporate strategies, spotlighting the dynamic evolution of the voluntary carbon market (VCM). They underscored that critique should not impede market progress but rather catalyze regulation for transparency and growth of the market.

Jennica Gordon (WBCSD) elaborated on the NCS Alliance’s global endeavors to fortify the VCM in collaboration with RBI. Vera Olgers (Ministry EZK) elucidated the “Joint Statement on the VCM”, a significant governmental initiative of The Netherlands aimed at enhancing market structure and advancing climate goals. The statement, endorsed by seven EU countries including Germany and France, was unveiled during COP 28 in Dubai.

RBI has warmly embraced the Statement and joined the Good Climate Practice initiative, urging Minister Jetten to collaborate with companies already dedicated to the same objective. The initiative’s call and commitment declaration will be presented to Minister Jetten on May 16th.

In a report released just prior to COP28, Ecosystem Marketplace (EM) reveals that the Voluntary Carbon Market’s value remained at just under $2 billion in 2022. Despite a doubling of prices and a halving of volume compared to 2021, market conditions appear depressed in 2023, signaling a necessary regrouping before an anticipated acceleration. EM cites two reasons for projecting continued growth.

Firstly, the urgent global need for climate solutions to achieve the 28% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, as mandated by the Paris Agreement. EM emphasizes the pivotal role of project-based and jurisdictional REDD+ carbon markets, along with innovative solutions like engineered removals.

Secondly, the commitment of buyers still in the market is evident in the marginal drop in prices from 2022 to 2023. Notably, credits with co-benefit certifications such as the Climate, Community, and Biodiversity Standard commanded a 78% premium, reflecting confidence in the market’s ability to enhance quality. Additionally, the higher pricing of new credits over older vintage credits underscores trust in market improvement.

Indonesia has achieved a significant reduction in primary forest loss, surpassing all other countries in recent years, according to the World Resources Institute (WRI). The WRI concludes that government policies and corrective actions have played a crucial role in this reduction, aligning with Indonesia’s target to make the forestry and other land-use sectors a net sink by 2030. These actions include intensified fire prevention and monitoring efforts, the imposition of a moratorium on granting new licenses for primary forest and peatland use, and enhanced law enforcement. The renewed commitment to protect and restore peatlands, coupled with efforts to rehabilitate mangroves, has resulted in fewer fires and less primary forest loss.

The relatively wet conditions in Indonesia may have contributed to the successful suppression of fires. On-the-ground community efforts to prevent fires, along with mandatory and voluntary corporate commitments, have also played a significant role in achieving these positive outcomes.”

Top scientists have submitted a rebuttal to the West Et Al paper (August 2023) to Science for peer review, and urged the retraction or major revision of the study which discredited avoided deforestation projects.

Prof. Ed Mitchard (Space Intelligence) and colleagues affiliated to ao NASA, Conservation International, UCLA and the University of Edinburgh’s School of Geosciences found major flaws in the research of West et al. A pre-publication of the West et al paper earlier this year, lead to critical articles in The Guardian and Die Zeit, which had a serious impact on the market. The findings of Mitchard et al are therefore highly relevant.

Key flaws found by Mitchard et al include issues with the comparison sites chosen, the global deforestation datasets used, and the incorrect calculation of carbon benefits from projects. They conclude that West and colleagues made numerical errors when calculating the carbon benefits of projects. Two different calculation errors meant together that the proportion of credits that represented real carbon benefits should be increased from 6 % to 68 %.

Serious errors impair an assessment of forest carbon projects: A rebuttal of West et al. (2023)

The REDD+ Business Initiative is proud to announce that Heliox, an internationally operating company based in Veldhoven, the Netherlands, has joined our network. Michael Colijn, CEO of Heliox, stated, ‘We are proud to join the REDD+ Business Initiative as it clearly contributes to our efforts to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, with a contribution to the UN-SDGs, biodiversity conservation, and social responsibility as important added values. We strongly believe that working together and sharing knowledge with other like-minded companies, as in RBI, is the only way forward for impactful climate action.’

Heliox provides smart energy solutions tailored to and scalable within the fast-changing e-mobility landscape. The company is a market leader in fast charging systems for public transport, e-trucks, marine, mining, and port equipment. Michel Schuurman, chair of RBI, commented, ‘We are delighted that Heliox has joined the RBI network. It is an important player in the world of decarbonization, with a broad perspective on solving wider sustainability challenges’.

There is an interesting event coming up that I would like to invite you to. This is a public meeting of the REDD+ Business Initiative entitled

Forest conservation in the tropics; indispensable for achieving your climate goals

Date: March 27th, 2024, 15:30-17:30 uur
Place: Planetarium Meeting Center, Kroonwijkdreef 11, Amsterdam (Gaasperplas, metro 53)

As a company, you can make a significant contribution to tropical forest conservation while also advancing your ambitions in climate action, biodiversity preservation, and sustainable economic development.

The REDD+ Business Initiative (RBI) cordially invites you to a special meeting where you can learn from leading companies about their approaches to this crucial issue, as well as the benefits of joining the RBI network. Our network extends both nationally and internationally through partnerships such as the NCS Alliance of the World Economic Forum and the World Business Council on Sustainable Development. We will delve into developments in the voluntary carbon market, which is vital in realizing climate ambitions and is currently undergoing rapid development. In summary an afternoon of inspiration and motivation!


  • 15:00  Walk in
  • 15:30  Introductie to RBI Michel Schuurman Chair RBI/Treevive
  • 15:45  Company perspective
    • Thomas Leneveu Tarkett
    • Rudi Daelmans Heliox
    • Jop Weterings McKinsey
  • 16:25  Audience discussion
  • 16:25  Co-operation NCS Alliance Jennica Gordon WBCSD/WEF
  • 17:00  Lobby and Advocacy
    • VCM framework proposal NL/EUVera Olgers Ministry EZK
    • Good Climate PracticeAdriaan Korthuis Climate Focus
  • 17:20  Closing and drinks


To register your attendance, please fill in the form below or email .

The mission of the REDD+ Business Initiative is to support companies in integrating REDD+ into their business strategy, providing information and encouraging other companies and governments to participate and support our cause. The attached RBI Nieuwsbrief provides a recent overview of the most relevant developments in this area. If you would like to receive our newsletter more often, sign up here or by sending an email .



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