SAO PAULO, March 18 (Reuters Point Carbon) – The Walt Disney Company and Latin America’s largest air carrier, Latam Airlines, bought 444,000 carbon offsets from Peru-based projects for between $7 and $8 per ton in separate deals last week, giving a boost to South America’s burgeoning voluntary carbon market.
Both companies will use the credits to offset a portion of their greenhouse gases.
Entertainment company Disney bought 437,000 VCUs (verified carbon units) issued by the Alto Mayo Initiative, a project funded by the Peruvian government and NGO Conservation International (CI) to protect 2.8 million hectares of rainforest in Peru's northern San Martin province.
In a separate deal, Latam Airlines Group, the new airline formed out of the merger of Brazil’s TAM and Chile’s Lan Airlines, announced it bought 7,000 VCUs from a reforestation project run by project developer Bosques Amazonicos in Peru’s eastern province of Ucayali.
The deals have given regional carbon market players hope of better demand for credits in the voluntary market, since buyers have largely abandoned the oversupplied United Nations’ regulated offset market, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).
The prices fetched in the two deals were significantly higher than prices for CDM credits, which are valued around $0.42 in the secondary market.
Pedro Gamboa Moquillaza, head of Peru’s National Service for Protected Natural Areas (Sernanp), said Disney’s $3.5 million investment in the Alto Mayo Initiative is the largest to date.
“The proceeds will be used to partly fund our policies to protect the area,” he said.
Disney has a long-term goal to become carbon neutral, using energy efficiency programs, low-carbon fuels and “high-quality” offsets to reduce its emissions.
The company’s Climate Solutions Fund invests in several projects, including the ones to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).
Gamboa said Alto Mayo is the first REDD project in the country with direct participation of the Peruvian government. Two more are in the works.
The project, validated under Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), will generate some two million credits. Disney will retire the credits it buys.
In the case of Latam Airlines Group, the company is seeking to offset only its ground operations in Latin America, not emissions from flights to and from 150 destinations in 22 countries.
The company’s environmental manager, Enrique Guzman, said the group plans to buy preferably offsets from forest-based projects in Peru and in other countries it operates, including Brazil.
By Marcelo Teixeira – firstname.lastname@example.org; editing by Valerie Volcovici