24 September 2010

Sri Lanka Could Generate $100mn in Carbon Trading

23rd September 2010, www.island.lk

A new venture is to commence operations in Sri Lanka to help businesses minimise their environmental footprint and take advantage of carbon gains. According to officials, Sri Lanka’s potential for carbon trading could generate US$ 100 million a year.

With the consequences of global warming and climate change becoming apparent, carbon and environmental management have moved up the corporate agenda. This is driven by a combination of actual, and threatened, regulation, consumer pressure and an underlying desire to cut costs.

"At a time when Sri Lanka is looking at accelerating her development, it is imperative that we not only maximize the potential of our beautiful and bountiful environment but also protect it for our future generations.

As Sri Lanka looks to develop into a hub of ethical manufacturing and eco tourism, we need to equip our local businesses to take advantage of our huge carbon potential. Our companies and our products will need to be aware of their carbon impact in order to compete in the new Green Economy", said " Subramaniam Eassuwaran" one of the founder directors.

With a strong mix of both international expertise and Sri Lankan minds, the Carbon Consulting Company (CCC) was formed by two young entrepreneurs, Subramaniam Eassuwaran ( Deputy Chairman of Eswaran Brothers Exports) and Fazal Fausz (Managing Director of Rainco Pvt Ltd), under the guidance of Nobel Laureate, Professor Mohan Munasinghe.

Professor Mohan Munasinghe, who needs no introduction and is a director of CCC, will be actively involved in advising companies on how best to reduce carbon emissions and implement world class environmental management strategies.

CCC has formed a strategic alliance with the Carbon Neutral Company of the UK. They have been appointed as not only a reseller of carbon credits, but also as a third party verifier. The Carbon Neutral Company, a pioneer, is one of the world’s leading providers of carbon reduction solutions. CCC is also accredited by the UK Governement’s Carbon Trust as a product "Footprint Expert".

The Managing Director of The Carbon Neutral Company, Jonathan Shopley will be in Sri Lanka in the first week of October to address a select gathering of CEOs on the theme; "The Carbon Phenomenon : Adding Business Value" at a forum organized by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

"The Carbon Consulting Company has been created with the sole purpose of helping organizations reduce their environmental impact and maximize their CSR and marketing opportunities. We have seen many industry leaders take the first steps towards making this happen and our mission is to help these leaders develop the knowledge base and expertise required for the coming low carbon economy", said Eassuwaren.

"We don’t believe in using carbon credits as a license to pollute! We also help clients devise strategies to reuse and recycle the waste and we have brought emissions down by 20% in some cases." said Fausz.

The Carbon Consulting Company has also concurrently established the Conservation Carbon Company. Conservation Carbon was established with the mandate to use environmental finance mechanisms to help protect some of Sri Lanka’s most threatened ecosystems. Dr. Ranil Senanayaka, a founder, is a brilliant ecologist. With the best scientific minds and concerned businessmen joining hands, both companies intend making a difference to the environment and making a positive impact on the country.

It is estimated that Sri Lanka could generate more than US$ 100 million through carbon credit sales a year.

As at July 2008, about 40 projects, including the Upper Kotmale hydropower plant, were at different stages of obtaining their emission reduction certificates.

These projects have the potential of reducing carbon emissions by about 2.4 million metric tonnes a year, generating approximately US $ 36 million in carbon credit sales. Today, only eleven of these have been approved, officials said.

Sri Lanka has hundreds of statutes on conservation but they are far from being implemented, as economic activities tend to take precedence over the environment.

According to the IUCN, Sri Lanka, in a study published in 2009, with an annual loss of 33,000 ha of forest cover, was one of the eight hottest hotspots in terms of habitat loss in the world.

Sri Lanka is home to rich natural wealth in abundant fauna and flora. Approximately 40 percent of the indigenous inland vertebrates are endemic to the island and 30 percent of the indigenous flowering plant species are endemic too. Change in climatic conditions directly affect the distribution, abundance and life cycles of most species.

According to the 2007 Red List of Threatened Fauna and Flora of Sri Lanka, 72 flowering plant species were extinct. Sixty percent of them had been endemic species.

Twenty one amphibians found their way to the extinct list as well, and these species were all endemic to Sri Lanka’s wet zones.

33 percent of vertebrate species are nationally threatened.

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