October 19, 2021
AXA increases its contribution to the restoration of the Sumatra Merang Peatland via the purchase of carbon credits.
With the Sumatra Merang Peatland Project, AXA is turning commitments into action, by supporting a project that is halting biodiversity loss, improving the resilience of communities that are vulnerable to climate change and reducing millions of tons of GHG emissions through ecosystem restoration in Indonesia.
Developed by Forest Carbon, the Sumatra Merang Peatland is a vital wetland habitat that AXA further supports with the purchase of carbon credits. From 2016-2020 the project achieved a remarkable increase in forest cover - from 1.4% to 23% - thanks to the project engineers that are building dams to prevent drainage and restore water table levels and forest patrols that are preventing fires and illegal land clearance.
The Sumatra Merang Peatland Project has several main objectives:
AXA is supporting a habitat restoration project that spans more than 22,000 hectares of wetland forest in Indonesia. The area is home to the Sumatran Tiger along with 100s of other unique species.
The Sumatra Merang Peatland Project leverages carbon markets to curb global biodiversity loss for critically endangered species, such as the Sumatran Tiger. Less than 400 Sumatran Tigers remain alive in the wild, the majority of which are in Indonesia.
AXA is supporting peatland restoration across 22,000 hectares in South Sumatra, Indonesia.
Peatlands are critical in the race to limit the effects of climate change and habitat loss. Less than 3 million square kilometers of natural peatland remain in the world, representing less than 3% of global land area. However, peatlands store up to 10 times more carbon than any other type of ecosystem, including forests.
88 people are provided with employment, teacher training, farming or fishing livelihoods and 24 are from the nearest village.
22 residents are enrolled in continuing education programs and 210 children are enrolled in after school programs. The project also launched a maternal and child health program to prevent stunting in infants with a target to reach 1,000 households, which was launched successfully in a physically distanced setting during the pandemic.
AXA is supporting biodiversity conservation and wetland habitat restoration efforts in the project area, where a camera monitoring program has recorded more than 210 unique species of flora and fauna across the wetland ecosystem.
Notable findings include 31 species classified as Threatened, Endangered or Critically Endangered, including the Sundanese Pangolin, Wrinkled Hornbill, Aglie Gibbon, Storms Stork, Sun Bear and the Sumatran Tiger.
Field cameras, hidden in discrete locations across the Sumatra Merang Peatland Project, continue to capture stunning photos of the Sumatran Tigers that roam the project area.
AXA’s involvement and support for the Sumatra Merang Peatland Project actually started in 2017, with funding for the startup and launch of restoration activities as part of AXA’s Impact Investing initiative, AXA IM Alts. AXA recently intensified its efforts to support conservation in this region by setting up a dedicated financing facility for future projects with developer Forest Carbon. AXA is therefore in a unique position to grow the restoration and conservation sector in Indonesia and wider Southeast Asia, by supporting a growing project developer, financing new projects and purchasing the resulting carbon credits as part of its environmental footprint management strategy.
As the most recent IPCC report highlights, carbon credits are critical mechanism to protect standing forests and biodiversity from deforestation and associated GhG emissions. Protecting standing forests and wetlands from degradation is essential to meeting Paris targets. A new report from Global Forest Watch Climate states that if tropical deforestation were a country, it would rank third in carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions, only behind China and the United States of America. The full report can be found here, which makes the case for long-term reductions in actual emissions coupled with immediate offsetting here.