Thai community forest growing carbon credits for business


A village that cares for a community forest in the northern province of Chiang Mai has found support from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Mae Fah Luang Foundation as part of a project that creates carbon credits for businesses while conserving the environment.

The village of Ban Ton Phueng has been caring for the community forest for years and in 2019, the Mae Fah Luang Foundation, established by Her Royal Highness Princess Srinagarinda, and the SEC, took notice of the village when they founded their carbon credit project.

While the villagers have been tending to the forest in a sustainable way – setting limits to what they need from it for the forest to continue thriving – their efforts will now earn them financial rewards as businesses purchase their carbon credits.

A carbon credit is a financial instrument that is equal to one ton of CO2 emissions. Credits are awarded to projects that store, avoid or reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, such as community forests.

The concept of carbon credit trading originated with the Kyoto Protocol on climate change in 1992. Businesses that reduce, but cannot completely eliminate carbon emissions, can trade or purchase carbon credits from projects that earn them.

“This project provides Thailand a great opportunity, as GHG emission rules are going to be part of the new global trading system.

Large multinational companies have already established bases in Thailand to conduct carbon credit trade,” said Smitthi Harueanphuech, Director of Special Projects at Mae Fah Luang Foundation.

The project is named “You Protect Forests; We Protect You.” Smitthi estimates that carbon credits produced by the 16 community forests that have joined the project are equivalent to 392,220 tons of carbon.

Under the project, the SEC gave Ban Ton Phueng village an $8,000 budget for the first 3 years to build weirs, check dams and other forest management devices. The improved water management has resulted in a near complete elimination of wildfires, according to the villagers.