Sustainable economic growth depends on a healthy planet. Winrock facilitates and promotes the use of solar, wind, hydro, biofuels and other increasingly cost-effective sources of clean energy as a way to protect natural resources, address climate change and promote long-term economic well-being and health. Our collaborative approach focuses on creating the investment and policy environments necessary for clean energy markets to flourish.
Guinea has plenty of farmable land and water, a large youth population, and three quarters of its labor force employed in agriculture. But despite these advantages, the nation is still one of the poorest in the world. One reason is the lack of opportunity that prevents women and youth from contributing significantly to the economy. Guinea’s Strengthening Market-Led Agricultural Research, Technology and Education (SMARTE) is enhancing the nation’s agricultural strengths by working with these populations, boosting education, promoting agricultural extension and introducing new technologies.
Winrock has long recognized the threat posed by climate change. The American Carbon Registry (ACR), founded in 1996 and operated by Winrock, is dedicated to the belief that markets are the most effective tools to tackle climate change. As such, ACR has developed transparent and science-based methodologies to incentivize carbon reductions in agriculture, transportation and other industries. ACR is also a partner in assuring that California’s landmark Cap-and-Trade Program can manage, verify and credit carbon offsets effectively.
Pay for performance (or P4P) isn’t just a way to incentivize sales professionals. Winrock has spearheaded approaches that financially reward farmers for reducing the amount of phosphorous that makes its way into rivers and lakes. Though phosphorous in fertilizer and manure helps crops grow, its runoff from fields also creates harmful dead zones and causes algae blooms in waterways. P4P lets farmers decide the best ways to limit water pollution.
Northern Ghana has a new ally in its struggle against climate change. The USAID Feed the Future Ghana Agriculture and Natural Resource Management Project (AgNRM) is protecting both food security and the region’s natural resources. It’s doing this in a holistic way: boosting incomes from natural products such as shea nuts; improving food security through household gardens, cook stoves and improved water management; securing land tenure, especially for women; and strengthening environmental stewardship.
Smallholders produce around 40 percent of Indonesia’s palm oil, an amount that is expected to increase due to the lack of land suitable for new large-scale plantations. However, a lack of resources and technical capacity often leads to extremely low productivity and unsustainable management at small plantations. With funding from IDH, Cargill and Costco, this project will create a protocol that provides step-by-step guidance to smallholders and tengkulak (middle men) about how to identify and manage peatland areas in existing plantations and around new plantings. It will also supply instruction about management methods to restore areas not suitable for replanting. By working with farmers to apply this protocol, the result will be increased sustainability and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
Millions of people in Nepal have no access to electricity and rely on firewood, kerosene and cow dung for lighting and cooking. The resulting conditions harm human health, are damaging to the environment and make economic development more challenging. To address this, Winrock is working with a range of stakeholders — including the Asian Development Bank, the Government of Nepal, and businesses and communities — to promote smart partnerships and policies to increase the availability of clean energy.
Mitigating the impact of climate change requires tapping the power of markets. Winrock propels that approach by facilitating carbon offset trading and developing scientifically rigorous methodologies to measure and verify reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
Tanzania has relatively abundant water resources, although population growth and poor management has made shortages increasingly common. The goal of this project is to use market-driven approaches to support sustainable access to water, particularly in poor and rural areas. Part of the solution is to increase the number and effectiveness of entrepreneurs engaged in water supply, sanitation and hygiene activities in remote villages. Also important is the implementation of a multiple-use water services (MUS) approach that bases planning and financing strategies around a community’s many domestic and commercial water needs.
Asia’s forests are a critical economic and environmental resource for its people. Yet logging, farming and other human activities are accelerating deforestation at an alarming rate. This USAID-funded program developed a regional approach that promotes sustainable land use and establishes financial incentives for preserving critical forestland.
Encouraging private enterprise in Liberia’s agriculture sector is critical if the country is to lower its high rates of unemployment and poverty. Progress will require extensive changes — everything from bolstering the country’s road infrastructure and weak institutions to promoting the importance of women and youth in agriculture. As a partner on this USAID-funded program, Winrock provides technical assistance to help increase farmer productivity and profitability.
Indonesia has become the largest palm oil producer in the world, making the industry a vital cog in the nation’s economy. Additional economic and environmental benefits are possible if the liquid waste generated during the palm oil production process is used to make renewable biogas. The USAID-funded Capacity for Indonesian Reduction of Carbon in Land Use and Energy (CIRCLE) program helps the owners of palm oil mills produce renewable energy and improve the overall sustainability of their facilities.
Economic signals and the ingenuity of farmers are a powerful combination when it comes to reducing the environmental impact of agriculture. This program seeks to slash the amount of pollutants that enter the air and water as a result of the activities of Maryland farmers. This includes conducting research into credits farmers can earn and sell for reducing the environmental impact of their operations.
Puerto Rico depends on agriculture for food security and the health of its rural economies. But farming activities are also a major source of nitrous oxide emissions and water pollution caused by agricultural run-off. This program creates a pathway for farmers to participate in environmental markets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve water quality.
The vast majority of Colombia’s citizens are connected to the power grid and receive electricity from low-emissions sources like hydropower and natural gas. That’s a good thing. Unfortunately, many people in rural areas have no access to electricity or have to rely on dirty and expensive diesel generators. This program helps expand renewable energy and energy efficient technologies to underserved populations through technical assistance, project development and policy reforms.
Winrock provides ongoing technical support to the owners of rubber plantations in Guatemala to implement greenhouse gas friendly practices and to help assess their possible participation in climate change mitigation markets.
Vietnam has made remarkable progress in growing its economy and reducing the number of its people living in poverty. This success brings new challenges, particularly reducing the country’s consumption of fossil fuels and its emissions of greenhouse gases. By promoting energy efficiency in the construction sector through capacity building, policy advice, and technical assistance, this program helps Vietnam pursue a path towards green growth.
Climate change and a growing population are putting increasing levels of stress on Bangladesh’s forests, wetlands and other ecosystems. The USAID-funded Climate Resilient Ecosystems and Livelihoods program is helping to disseminate management methods that help communities better collaborate with local and national governments to balance biodiversity protection with sustainable economic development.
This program works to accelerate Vietnam’s transition to climate-resilient, low-emissions development by working collaboratively with policymakers, communities, and civil society. The USAID funded Vietnam Forests and Deltas program supports adoption of land use practices that slow, stop, and reverse emissions from deforestation and forest degradation through better land use and economic planning and improved funding that incentivizes sustainable practices. By helping local leaders plan for weather and climate risks, the program also increases the resilience of people, places, and livelihoods in Vietnam’s Red River and Mekong Delta regions.
Human health and the environment suffer when people burn wood and other solid fuels in rudimentary stoves and fires to meet their cooking and heating needs. The goal of this USAID-funded program is to create a market for clean, energy-efficient stoves. In Kenya, Winrock is helping to eliminate distribution bottlenecks by expanding cookstove distribution networks and increasing the availability of both consumer and distributor financing, which makes cleaner cookstoves more affordable and accessible to Kenyan consumers.
To reduce and reverse the loss of valuable forestland and biodiversity, Colombia is developing a national strategy for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, also known as REDD. This program aids that effort by providing technical assistance to accurately account for emissions reductions that result from conservation and by facilitating the participation of communities and the private sector.
Nepal’s rural poor urgently need clean and reliable electricity. This pilot project examines the potential of electrification through biomass gasification technology. The results of the effort are expected to help inform government policies to utilize the technology to deliver electricity to rural communities across Nepal.
Inefficient and outdated technology have made Macedonia one of the most energy-intensive economies in Europe. This program helps the country establish the necessary legal and investment frameworks to encourage implementation of renewable energy technologies and adoption of low emissions development strategies.
The vast majority of Nepalese living in rural areas lack access to electricity, a key ingredient for improving food security and economic opportunity. This program eliminates financial and technical barriers that stand in the way of rural communities reaping the benefits of renewable energy. Supported by the Dutch development bank and NMB bank, Winrock bridges the gap between end users and local financial institutions as well as the divide between local financial institutions and commercial banks. This is accomplished through a series of awareness campaigns, orientation programs and capacity building initiatives. So far, the effort has resulted in nearly 14,000 households receiving electricity from small solar, micro hydro and clean and efficient cooking solutions.
Farms are businesses, which means they respond to economic signals. That basic idea is behind this program’s approach to reduce the damage to water quality caused by agricultural run-off in the West Branch Milwaukee River watershed. Winrock works with water treatment plant owners, conservation groups and others in the area to devise pay-for-performance incentives that encourage farmers to implement practices that reduce pollution.
Cooking food is one of life’s most essential tasks. Yet, it can also be deadly. Pollutants from cooking with solid fuels in open fires or rudimentary stoves are estimated to cause 4 million premature deaths a year, while also contributing to global climate change. Inefficient traditional cooking also threatens natural resources. To address these problems, Winrock works with cookstove manufactures to help them design and build higher-quality, better-performing cookstoves that meet consumer’s needs. This EPA-funded project provides this support through trainings, webinars and study tours all over the world — and through support to international voluntary standards.
Millions of people in Nepal have no access to electricity and rely on firewood, kerosene and cow dung for their lighting and cooking needs. The resulting conditions harm human health, damage the environment and make economic development more challenging. Winrock’s expertise in clean energy makes the many benefits of reliable energy access available throughout Nepal.
As Georgia’s economy and industries grow, so too do the country’s projected greenhouse gas emissions. This is exacerbated by Georgia’s outdated and inefficient lighting, heating and energy systems. This program works with the national government, municipalities, businesses and others to develop and implement a national low emission development strategy. Among the tools being developed are municipal-level sustainable energy action plans, policies and guidelines that promote cleaner energy use, and the promotion of energy efficiency and green buildings to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions and improve its economic competitiveness.
Healthy and well-managed coastal areas provide local populations with everything from tasty seafood to protection from damaging storm surges. As part of the National Science Foundation’s Coastal SEES (Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability) program, this project analyzes and measures how utilizing best land management practices impacts the water quality in three watersheds in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay.
A lot of field work is necessary to truly understand the role of forests in climate change — both the benefits of preserving them and the impact of cutting them down. As part of a NASA-funded initiative, Winrock is spearheading the planning, collection and analysis of data to understand the impacts of selective logging on carbon stocks in the Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo.
The hilly city of Ilam in eastern Nepal is known both for its expansive tea production and its environmental consciousness. Those two themes come together in this public-private partnership to establish a new municipal waste management system. The project will establish a partnership between Ilam Municipality and the private sector that fuels commercially driven solid waste management. Funded by the European Union’s Switch Asia program and assisted by Winrock’s technical support, the sustainable solid waste management system includes small and medium-sized businesses that utilize compost for tea and vegetable cultivation and, as a result, create green jobs. Once successfully implemented, this innovate approach will be a model for Nepal’s other municipalities.
Improved cookstoves can reduce harmful indoor smoke and save time or money for families through fuel savings. But they are not readily adopted, often because the cookstoves available to families don’t fully meet their needs. To better understand and overcome this problem, the WASHplus project undertook consumer research studies in Bangladesh and Nepal that allowed families to try out cookstoves in their homes for several months and provide feedback. The studies also measured cookstove performance and helped gauge how willing families are to pay for them. Based on these studies, WASHplus developed a toolkit for other groups interested in undertaking similar research. WASHplus also supported the development of international voluntary standards for cookstoves; and worked closely with the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves along the way.
Years of agricultural run-off have deposited large amounts of phosphorous-laden fertilizer into Ontario, Canada’s Lake Simcoe. Though fertilizer can help boost crop production, its presence in rivers and lakes harms water quality. This program aids the Ontario government’s efforts to improve Lake Simcoe’s health by creating and developing incentives that encourage farmers to reduce the amount of phosphorous that makes its way into waterways.
Even though Nigeria is Africa’s largest exporter of crude oil and has some of the world’s largest natural gas reserves, over half of the country’s population lives in the dark. Access to energy and the many health and economic benefits it brings is particularly elusive in rural areas. This project aims to make clean energy more readily available through increased access to private sector finance. The project supports technical assistance for bank and project developers, and promotes policy changes that improve business conditions.
Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) is an effective approach to address climate change. But questions over how forests should be managed to balance economic and environmental priorities can lead to conflict. This program investigates instances of conflict in Mexico, Vietnam and Nepal with the aim of developing tools and approaches that can be used globally to promote cooperation and conflict resolution. The project is funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, the UK’s Department for International Development and the Conflict and Cooperation in the Management of Climate Change Fund.
Healthy wetlands have the potential to store large amounts of carbon. Winrock’s American Carbon Registry (ACR) is developing a methodology that will encourage wetlands restoration in California by allowing those who undertake conservation projects to generate offsets that can be sold on the state’s carbon market.
Ensuring that large tracts of forest remain undeveloped is a powerful tool to address climate change. Resisting unavoidable development pressure is made easier when conservation makes economic sense. Winrock provided technical assistance that helped the development company Green Assets Inc. qualify for California Air Resources Board Offset Credits and protect nearly 4,000 acres of South Carolina habitat.
Millions of people in Nepal have no access to electricity and rely on firewood, kerosene and cow dung for their lighting and cooking needs. The resulting conditions harm human health, are damaging to the environment and make economic development more challenging. To address this, Winrock is working with Ace Development Bank and local financial institutions, renewable technology suppliers, and others to make financing for the installation of renewable energy technologies more readily available. Financial support from the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) has led to nearly 11,000 households receiving sustainable forms of electricity from small solar systems and cleaner cooking solutions from improved cook stoves and biogas facilities.
Malawi’s forestland is disappearing. To counteract that trend, this project seeks to encourage improved land management practices. As part of a collaborative effort, Winrock will provide technical assistance to the Government of Malawi’s Environmental Affairs Department to create and implement its National Greenhouse Gas Inventory System. This improved system will supply information vital to understanding the climate change impacts of improved land management practices and policies.
Tibetans have long relied on the natural environment for their livelihoods. But climate change and other factors threaten the future viability of Tibet’s traditional herding and agriculture practices. The Support for Ethnic Tibetans in China Project engages Tibetan communities in the west and southwest of China and provides them with the scientific knowledge and tools they need to adapt in ways that preserve their natural resources, livelihoods and culture.
The problem of deforestation in Brazil, particularly in the Amazon, is well-known. Nike is working with Winrock’s American Carbon Registry (ACR) on a unique way to raise funds to support reforestation. Through this initiative, Nike sells the carbon offsets issued to the company from ACR and donates the proceeds to protect and replant Brazilian forests.
The demand for palm oil has provided vital economic opportunities to many Indonesians. At the same time, the conversion of forests and drainage of peatland to create palm oil plantations is a leading source of Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions. Winrock has designed two scalable and replicable pilot projects that demonstrate the feasibility of improving the management of peatland areas currently devoted to palm oil production — an approach that would reduce emissions while increasing long-term sustainability.
There is a measurable impact on greenhouse gas emissions when forests are cut down and replaced with plantations. As a contributor to the High Carbon Stock Study, a sustainability initiative launched by growers, traders and other stakeholders in the palm oil industry, Winrock reviews existing tools and equations used to measure the impact of turning forests into palm oil plantations.
Transitioning land from forest or grassland to cultivation for biofuels has implications for greenhouse gas emissions. As part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Renewable Fuel Standard 2 rulemaking process, Winrock is responsible for evaluating and analyzing the emissions implications of land conversion taking place around the world as a result of increased demand for biofuels
Because forests have the capacity to store carbon, land management is a critical tool to address climate change. Fact-based decision making relies on accurate measurement of forest carbon. Winrock has conducted field training and developed a measurement methodology and manual that is being to create the biomass equations necessary to measure forest carbon stocks in Laos. These equations will be used in the country’s National Forest Inventory.
The government of Liberia has embraced Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) as a tool to improve the management of its forests and capture climate finance opportunities that reward conservation. Winrock is assisting the government in its development of a REDD Readiness Program. In particular, Winrock provides training and technical assistance to develop estimates of both historical greenhouse gas emissions resulting from deforestation and expected future emissions in the absence of improved land use management. This information will then be used to demonstrate emissions reductions that result from improved land management.
Like many other developing countries, Mozambique is exploring how it can reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to land use. The country is also eager to participate in global Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) efforts, which provide countries financial incentives for sustainably managing their forests. As part of that effort, Winrock is providing technical assistance to Mozambique to help identify drivers of deforestation and forest degradation and to develop strategies to address the problem.
The palm oil industry has provided economic opportunity to small farmers in the West African nation of Liberia. To build on the progress and benefit even more smallholders, this program works to open up new markets and expand the products that can be made from oil palms. The project also emphasizes the importance of sustainable practices that reduce deforestation and other harmful environmental impacts.
Chile is investigating the role its forests should play in reducing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. With funding supplied by the World Bank, this program provides technical support to Chile’s National Forestry Commission as it formulates an emissions reduction program.
Because many Cambodians make their living from farming, logging and other pursuits that can lead to deforestation, the country struggles to protect its forests while maintaining economic growth. The USAID Cambodia Supporting Forests and Biodiversity Project empowers forest communities, government officials at all levels, NGOs, business interests and communities to become champions for sustainable forest management practices that benefit people and the planet. The project has conducted extensive assessments to support wildlife and biodiversity research and has improved planning and management of nearly 900,000 hectares.
Heavily forested Guyana is at the forefront of global Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) efforts. In particular, the South American nation has signed an agreement with the government of Norway that financially rewards Guyana for protecting its forests from development. This program enhances the agreement’s transparency and credibility by providing monitoring, reporting and verification services. Winrock has been working with Guyana since 2010 to design its approaches to account for past emissions from forests as well as emissions reductions achieved through REDD programs. These accounting approaches have enabled Guyana to receive performance payments from Norway.
Erosion and deteriorating water quality are just two of the negative consequences when fertilizer used to grow crops makes its way into lakes and streams. This collaboration between Winrock, Michigan State University, conservation groups and farmers establishes financial incentives to encourage farmers to improve their environmental performance in ways that simultaneously protect their livelihoods and Lake Erie.
Indonesia boasts the third-largest expanse of tropical forests in the world. Sustainably managing this unique economic and ecological resource is important to both the economic well-being of many Indonesians and a world community increasingly focused on climate change. As a partnering organization in this USAID-funded project implemented by Tetra Tech, Winrock’s role is to provide Indonesian government officials and the private sector with mapping, monitoring and other tools that clearly outline the impact of their development and conservation choices.
Delivering clean electricity to regions that lack reliable access to power addresses two interconnected challenges: climate change and poverty. As part of an overall effort to provide 100 percent renewable energy to the citizens of the Indonesian island of Sumba, this program delivers the technical expertise required for schools to install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Powering these schools with solar — and becoming a community charging station for solar lanterns — allows teachers and students to study without interruption and helps alleviate the poverty that arises when there’s no access to energy.
REDD, or Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, is one of those rare acronyms that actually spells out exactly what it means. But calculating the greenhouse gas impacts of REDD policies and developing strategies that provide livelihoods for local populations while conserving carbon-storing forests is anything but simple. Yet accurate accounting is essential to enable payments to cover the costs of these programs. Winrock provides technical assistance to help the Ghana Forestry Commission achieve these important objectives.
From hydropower to solar to biomass, Nepal is blessed with tremendous renewable energy potential. Yet the vast majority of the country relies on dirty and unsustainable fuel sources, such as wood and animal waste. The aim of this program is to increase access to renewable energy in poor households and improve individual incomes through energy savings.
Milk quality and valuable income are lost because over 800,000 smallholder Kenyan dairy farmers have no refrigeration to store their milk. As a result, over 40 percent of milk in Kenya is not processed and much of it spoils because farmers have no access to grid electricity or expensive diesel-powered generators. This innovative USAID program, which is assisted by technology partner SunDanzer, is changing that dynamic by pioneering affordable on-farm solar milk chillers in a first-ever pilot project. The project also works with local savings and credit cooperatives to establish financing for the solar milk chillers.
Reliable access to water is critical for Tanzania’s economy, food security, environmental sustainability and public health. Over the past two decades, the country’s government has implemented important national reforms to drive improved management of this critical resource. This program helps local communities implement Multiple-Use Water Services, increasing private sector participation and raising awareness about the importance of good sanitation and hygiene practices.
There is a high level of interest in Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) in Colombia. Winrock is helping to develop a document to provide guidance to project developers and other stakeholders to ensure that their activities can be efficiently and effectively incorporated (also known as “nested”) into governmental REDD+ initiatives.
USAID Mission Director for Vietnam, Mr. Michael Greene, applauded the implementation of energy simulation measures and the efforts toward energy…
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