SAN FRANCISCO and RUKINGA, Kenya, December 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Today in the midst of the debate on climate change in Copenhagen, Wildlife Works Carbon LLC announced that their Kasigau Corridor REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) Project in Kenya has just been awarded the first GOLD level validation in Africa, under the Climate Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Alliance's REDD Standard. In addition they have entered into a contract with a major South African bank, Nedbank, to sell the Voluntary Emission Reductions (VERs) generated by the project.

The Wildlife Works REDD project brings substantial benefits to local communities in education, job creation, environmental protection and direct financial rewards, while protecting precious biodiversity at the same time, and proves that well designed, well managed REDD projects can succeed in Africa.

This is a milestone in the progress of REDD towards achieving legitimacy in the global carbon marketplace, and sets a positive example for those millions of Africans who have the potential to gain financial reward from REDD to help them move forward with sustainable development in the face of massive and growing pressure to their livelihoods caused by climate change. We believe this demonstrates clearly that REDD is ready for prime time in Africa, says Mike Korchinsky, Wildlife Works' Founder and President.

Alfred Gichu, a Senior Assistant Director and Head of climate change response programmes at Kenya Forest Service (KFS), and Kenya's National Focal Point for REDD Projects adds, KFS is very pleased that Kenya is pioneering in the efforts to utilize REDD as a tool to protect and restore our valued forest resources, while bringing significant financial and environmental benefits to the poorest sectors of our rural population. We plan to build on this success working closely with Wildlife Works Carbon, to assist us and Kenya's rural landowners to manage the technical complexity of the global carbon market and to engage the global carbon offset buyers in our efforts to protect our wilderness heritage, while contributing to global efforts in climate change mitigation.

The project was validated by independent verifier Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) against the CCB Standard Second Edition. SCS conducted both desk and field-based assessment activities and found that, in addition to conforming to the 14 required criteria, the Kasigau Corridor REDD project meets two additional, optional CCB criteria qualifying the project for Gold Level status.

We congratulate Wildlife Works for successfully implementing this multi-attribute CCB project in Africa and are pleased to lend our extensive international experience certifying forest management projects to validate projects like the Kasigau Corridor REDD Project, said Dr. Robert J. Hrubes, SCS Senior Vice-President and head of SCS's Greenhouse Gas Program.

The Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance is the most rigorous standard for ensuring communities and biodiversity benefit from climate change projects. The Project will also seek validation and verification under the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS).

Wildlife Works Carbon is a new venture of Wildlife Works, Inc. a global leader in applying innovative market based solutions to the conservation of biodiversity.

Wildlife Works has been a leader in using the power of the consumer marketplace to conserve biodiversity and protect forest habitat, and we see the emerging Voluntary Carbon Marketplace as a logical and exciting extension of our 12 year history, said Korchinsky.

We are very pleased that we have been able to demonstrate that the carbon marketplace is ready to support projects that will bring broad benefits to rural Kenyans while ensuring protection for Kenya's magnificent biodiversity, says Colin Wiel, co-Founder of Wildlife Works Carbon.

Wildlife Works Carbon was established to help local landowners in the developing world to monetize their incredible forest and biodiversity assets whether they are governments, communities, ownership groups or private individuals. As an organization or consumer wanting to do your part by reducing your carbon footprint wouldn't you love to have carbon credits that protect natural forests, endangered species and the livelihoods of Africa's rural communities? asks Korchinsky.

About Wildlife Works Carbon, LLC

Wildlife Works Carbon, LLC is a joint venture of Wildlife Works Inc. and Colin Wiel Enterprises, and was established to pursue the use of the emerging marketplace for REDD Carbon Offsets as a sustainable and scaleable funding mechanism for rural economic development and biodiverse forest protection. The company's first project in Rukinga, Kenya, builds on a successful 12 year track record, of bringing much needed jobs to a community that was being forced to destroy their magnificent wilderness in order to survive. Wildlife Works teaches local people to make sustainable products as part of an alternative livelihoods strategy. The products will be sold through Wildlife Works Retail, directly to consumers. Wildlife Works also founded an organic greenhouse to promote healthier farming practices, to provide local farmers with cash generating citrus trees and free agroforestry trees to use for building and fuel wood. Wildlife Works Carbon will provide the financial additionality to ensure long term sustainability of Wildlife Works efforts in Kenya and beyond.

About Nedbank Group

Nedbank Group, a subsidiary of the Old Mutual Group, operates as one of the four largest banking groups in South Africa. It is the only African bank to be included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index., The company's ordinary shares have been listed on the JSE Limited since 1969.

Nedbank offers a wide range of wholesale and retail banking services through three main business clusters, namely Nedbank Capital, Nedbank Corporate and Nedbank Retail.

About Nedbank Capital

Nedbank Capital comprises the Nedbank Group's investment banking businesses that together manage the structuring, lending and underwriting activities and all trading and broking activities in the equity, capital, interest rate, and foreign exchange and derivative markets across the African continent.

To position Nedbank and its clients appropriately for a carbon-constrained future, Nedbank Capital has a dedicated Carbon Finance Team that views carbon dioxide and other emissions holistically. The team looks at emissions end to end, using a five-pronged approach that draws on cross-functional expertise in finance against the backdrop of a value proposition comprising the following:

- Sustainability - devising carbon strategy and policy. - Carbon advisory and footprinting services. - Identification and development of Clean Development Mechanism projects. - Identification and development of carbon projects for the voluntary carbon market. - Carbon trading - trading of certified emission reduction and verified emission reduction certificates and providing client brokerage services to monetise carbon benefits or to obtain carbon neutrality.

About The Kenya Forest Service

The Kenya Forest Service as the national REDD focal point, is currently spearheading a local multi-stakeholder effort to among other things develop a national strategy for implementation of REDD activities in the country. This will be done in close liaison with the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources which is mandated to coordinate climate change activities in the country. The Ministry has been very active in enlisting support from the private sector towards climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts.

About Scientific Certification Systems (SCS)

SCS has been providing global leadership in third-party environmental and sustainability certification, auditing, testing and standards development for more than 25 years. The SCS Greenhouse Gas Verification Program provides verification of project-based emissions reductions, project design validation and pre-assessment analysis. SCS is accredited to ISO 14065 for GHG validation and verification by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and, under this accreditation, offers Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) and Climate Action Reserve (CAR) offset verification services. SCS also offers offset verification services under the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) standards.

SOURCE: Wildlife Works Carbon LLC

CONTACT: Gerald Prolman, +1-415-883-3393,, SKYPEgerald_prolman; or Kevin Whitfield of Nedbank Capital, +27-(0)-82-901-5846,