Description/achievement of initiative
Toshiba, a renowned manufacturer of multi-functional printers (MFPs), has teamed up with carbon offset projects developer co2balance to support projects that offset the CO2 emissions caused by the production and distribution of its machines. This ensures that customers receive a carbon neutral product whilst delivering livelihood and environmental benefits in Africa. The activities supported include distributing fuel-efficient cookstoves in Kenya and fixing boreholes in Uganda, activities which reduce CO2 emissions from the burning of firewood. Toshiba has also invested in various other projects through co2balance, and is currently supporting carbon sequestration through forest protection in the Brazilian Amazon.
Toshiba and CO2balance agree upon project activities and then CO2balance develops projects to generate the requisite carbon credits and deliver community-level benefits in the areas served.
CO2balance staff members in Kenya and Uganda conduct community-level consultations in the project areas targeted to assess community needs and current practices which allows projects to be designed which generate sufficient carbon credits and respond exactly to challenges in the communities served.
To implement Improved Cookstove project activities in Kenya, tests are conducted to determine how much wood is currently used by average households when cooking using traditional methods. CarbonZero stoves are ordered and produced in local factories, and then distributed in target areas. Households’ average reduced consumption of wood when using the CarbonZero stoves is then used to calculate the carbon emissions which have been prevented across the entire project area. This delivers benefits such as reduced deforestation, which is beneficial for soil fertility and carbon sequestration amongst many other benefits, and reduced respiratory problems caused by smoke inhalation.
In Uganda, communities are identified which have no access to safe water due to boreholes falling into disrepair. Such communities are usually using water for cooking and washing from unsafe sources such as streams and swamps. At the baseline, tests are conducted to ascertain how much wood households must burn to boil a certain volume of water to make it safe. Local mechanics are then recruited to repair boreholes, thereby ensuring a safe water for the communities served. Monitoring then takes place frequently to ensure that communities are using the safe water from the borehole and to ascertain the average volume of water used per household. Based on the calculation of the amount of wood that would be needed to boil the equivalent amount of unsafe water, carbon credits are generated. To ensure the sustainability of these activities, maintenance committees are formed and trained at the community level to conduct minor repairs to the boreholes, and a link is established with a trained water engineer to conduct more major repairs.
By supporting projects following these methodologies, Toshiba is able to work in a carbon-neutral manner and to bring tangible benefits to poor rural communities in Kenya and Uganda in the process.
Arrangements for Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer
The projects supported by Toshiba and implemented by CO2balance emphasise capacity building to ensure that project activities continue beyond the timespan of the project and reach a wider constituency than the direct project beneficiaries.
In Kenya, local producers have been trained to produce the fuel-efficient cookstoves, which are specifically designed to suit local conditions and cooking techniques. Building the capacity of local producers to build and market this product enables them to profit above and beyond the project activities and to continue promoting fuel-efficient technologies in local communities.
In Uganda, when boreholes are repaired, maintenance committees are established and trained at the community level. Committee members are trained to conduct minor repairs to the borehole when necessary. To ensure that communities feel a sense of ownership and responsibility for maintenance of the boreholes, the committees are empowered to collect small monthly donations from each household which is put towards maintenance work. Committee members can also contact a trained borehole mechanic who can be summoned to carry out more major repairs.
Additionally, when boreholes are repaired, communities receive WASH training to ensure that they have in-depth knowledge of the dangers of using unsafe water and have excellent knowledge of sanitation and hygiene techniques.
Coordination mechanisms/governance structure
Toshiba communicates with CO2balance to designate the type of projects that it is willing to support to generate carbon credits, and to decide upon the number of credits that will need to be generated for it to offset the CO2 emissions caused by its business activities. CO2balance UK staff then either develops and instigates appropriate projects or identifies credits generated from partner projects.
In the case of projects developed by CO2balance, implementation is the responsibility of CO2balance staff members in Kenya and Uganda. This entails conducting community consultation and training, conducting surveys and monitoring, and in-country procurement of resources and human capacity, including ordering cookstoves from manufacturers and recruiting engineers to repair and maintain boreholes.
The projects team at CO2balance’s UK office coordinate and technically support the activities of staff members in Kenya and Uganda. They are also responsible for completing and submitting documentation and reports to the Gold Standard Foundation, the body issuing tradeable carbon credits. Once the Gold Standard has received satisfactory evidence of the completion of carbon offset activities, it issues carbon credits to CO2balance.
Toshiba purchases carbon credits that CO2balance has either generated from its own projects or sourced elsewhere. This ensures that Toshiba’s production and distribution of multi-functional printers is a carbon-neutral activity. CO2balance invests the income received from Toshiba into continuing the projects and developing new projects to deliver livelihood benefits to communities whilst generating more carbon credits.
Toshiba TEC Germany Imaging Systems, CO2balance