Verra, the global carbon offset certifier, has lifted the ban on issuing carbon credits for the Kasigau REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) carbon projects in Taita Taveta County. The ban was imposed last November due to alleged malpractice, including physical and sexual abuse associated with the project’s staff. The ban followed complaints by the Kenya Human Rights Commission and the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations.

In response to the allegations, Verra suspended carbon credit issuance but has now concluded a successful review. Verra acknowledges Wildlife Works, the project proponent, for taking corrective actions, including terminating the employment of offenders, conducting gender sensitivity and sexual harassment training, and implementing new grievance redress procedures.

Verra has requested Wildlife Works to disclose information about its newly established gender equity task force within two months. This task force is mandated to investigate the reported sexual harassment and prevent future occurrences. Verra stipulates that within twelve months, evidence of implementing all actions specified in their review findings report must be provided by Wildlife Works.

The certifier warns that the Kasigau projects could be suspended if future reports indicate a lapse in implementing the required actions. Verra’s human rights policy emphasizes the prevention of discrimination and sexual harassment in project design and execution.

The Kasigau REDD+ Projects are recognized for their positive environmental impact, providing alternative livelihoods for thousands of Taita Taveta County residents. Over 130,000 livelihoods depend on the projects, with around 400 permanent employees engaged in various sectors. Last week, the project lead, Nick Taylor, reported the dismissal of two staff members following extensive third-party investigations into harassment allegations.

Taita Taveta County Governor Andrew Mwadime pledges close collaboration with the community and project management to ensure the strict implementation of Verra’s proposals. He highlights the projects’ role in reducing greenhouse emissions, fostering economic growth, and improving living standards in the region.

Leave a Reply