Cambodia’s National Biodigester Programme (NBP), which started in 2006 and has seen close to 20,000 household biodigester units distributed across the country, has reached a point where it is generating its own funding through carbon finance.
The NBP was initiated by the Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) with support from SNV Netherlands Development Organisation. The Hivos Climate Fund has supported the programme since May 2008, when an “Emission Reductions Purchase Agreement” was signed with MAFF.
The programme markets locally produced domestic biodigesters to rural farmers. Biodigesters convert manure into biogas, a clean and convenient cooking and lighting fuel, which eliminates the need to use non-renewable fuels such as wood and charcoal and reduces greenhouse gas emissions, amongst other benefits.
The NBP recently received its third consecutive issuance of tradable Gold Standard carbon credits for its nationwide programme. The credits are sold on the international carbon market to those wishing to offset their environmental footprint.
A particularly rigorous certification process makes The Gold Standard an internationally recognised premium quality label for both the Kyoto and voluntary carbon markets. Its ‘results based finance’ approach – in which individuals, corporations and governments buy credits against verified emission reductions and sustainable development outcomes – is channeling more than half a billion Euros globally into over 1000 low carbon development projects.
“Carbon finance supports the nationwide, sustainable dissemination of clean energy technology that improves the livelihoods of rural farmers” said H.E. Nou Muth, programme director of NBP.
Harry Oppenoorth from Hivos added, “Through carbon finance the programme has its own funding, allowing the programme to grow in a sustainable and robust way.”
Carbon credits each stand for a tonne of avoided carbon emissions. In the period May 2009 to December 2012, the Programme has reduced154,687 tonnes of CO2 emissions from being released into the atmosphere. This is the equivalent of taking nearly 32,226 cars off the road for one year.
The big vision of the NBP is the establishment of a self-sustaining, market driven, national domestic biodigester sector in Cambodia. According to statistics from the programme, roughly 25 percent of the approximately two million rural Cambodian households could benefit from biogas over the next few decades. This offers numerous commercial opportunities for biodigester entrepreneurs.
The Programme attracts interest from carbon credit buyers, cooperation, companies and individuals, who want to purchase credits from a project that not only helps the environment but also has a positive impact on local communities.