Africa’s Largest Carbon Market & Other Superlatives
After an audit of its first six months of operation, Vestergaard-Frandsen earned 1.4 Million CDM Gold Standard credits (equivalent to 1.4 million tonnes of CO2 emissions averted) for its LifeStraw Carbon for Water Program. The project is expected to average 2.5m tonnes annually over its 10-year duration. This is a big deal because:
- It’s the largest carbon project of any type in Africa thus far
- It’s the first ever safe drinking water project to be financed using carbon credits (drinking water is usually purified by boiling the water over a fire with non-renewable wood)
- It’s the first carbon project to monitor, report and verify actual health impacts of a technology (mostly reduced recorded instances of diarrhea in this case)
- It’s financially sustainable: the LifeStraws are distributed [and repaired and replaced] for free (the program distributed 877,505 Family water filters so far, in Kenya’s Western Province) and are financed through the sale of carbon credits
- In addition to providing safe drinking water, the project has other benefits. It aims to reduce extreme poverty, achieve universal primary education (since young girls are often tasked with finding fuelwood and must therefore miss school), empower women and girls, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, and combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases (as HIV/AIDS patients are more susceptible to illness from unsafe drinking water).