DLA Piper helps African farmers set up carbon-trading deals

<a class=DLA Piper helps African farmers set up carbon-trading deals” class=”inline_image inline_image_left” src=”/pictures/web/images/7371_11_probono.gif” />DLA Piper’s international pro bono affiliate New Perimeter has begun work on a project helping subsistence farmers in Africa to sell carbon credits created by tree-planting projects.

Working with the International Small Group & Tree Planting Programme (TIST), the firm is advising small groups of farmers in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda on the legal issues inherent to launching and operating ‘carbon-trading’ schemes.

Carbon trading is an initiative set up to tackle global warming, under which high carbon-producing organisations are obliged to buy ‘carbon credits’ from carbon-reducing initiatives, or to buy surplus carbon credits from carbon-efficient businesses.

DLA Piper has advised the farmers on legal issues relating to their involvement in the scheme, including ownership and tenure, contracts, the sale of the credits, and the operation and regulation of credits sold on international markets.

DLA Piper pro bono partner and a director of New Perimeter Sheldon Krantz said: “This project responds to key environmental and economic issues facing farmers throughout Africa. Providing on-the-ground resources and legal counsel is the first step in bridging these issues.”

By assisting the TIST in managing the afforestation scheme, in which carbon credits are generated by planting trees in new areas, and the reforestation scheme, in which credits are generated by planting trees in areas that were once covered by forests, DLA Piper will also assist the East African farmers in tackling drought and famine.

In November last year Kenya hosted the UN Climate Change Conference in Nairobi. The conference is the first step in developing a policy to last beyond the expiry of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change in 2012.

DLA Piper hosted former US Vice-President Al Gore at a climate change seminar in its Sheffield office last week (7 February). The firm has also launched a firmwide initiative to reduce carbon emissions.