Eline Kajim, Head of Certification at Acorn, talks us through the exciting Plan Vivo - Rabobank partnership. Eline discusses how Acorn aims to help smallholder farmers make a transition to regenerative agroforestry practices whilst providing access to fair and equitable carbon finance. 

 

  


   

It is astonishing to experience how the mix between the knowledge of Plan Vivo and the network of Rabobank can be combined to realize a world-first agroforestry smallholder-focused Framework. Over the course of last year, Plan Vivo and Rabobank’s initiative Acorn have worked closely together. The core of our collaboration so far has been to streamline the certification process by developing an Acorn Framework. It describes quality requirements that projects need to adhere to, monitoring principles, and provides project developers and farmers with an implementation structure.

With Acorn, we strive to help smallholder farmers in the Global South transition to more sustainable farming practices. In line with Plan Vivo’s philosophy, all projects within Acorn intend to improve the living conditions of farmers and their communities whilst restoring nature.

The Acorn framework differs from other standards in that it is specifically designed for smallholder farmers implementing agroforestry and performing biomass measurement using satellite data. Since the end of September this year, Plan Vivo has officially approved the framework, allowing certified carbon removal units to be realized. 

 

''The Acorn framework differs from other standards [...] it is specifically designed for smallholder farmers implementing agroforestry and performing biomass measurement using satellite data.''

 

Acorn aims to increase the resilience and improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers like coffee farmer Rosa, across the globe. 

 

One of the main reasons for developing this framework was the difficulty with which smallholder farmers could enter the voluntary carbon market. Certification costs were extremely high and the certification process was difficult for individual farmers and local project developers to follow. By combining the experience of Plan Vivo with the network and capacity of Rabobank, we hope to lower these barriers to entry. Certification of the Acorn carbon removal units by the Plan Vivo Foundation marks the next step in this fertile partnership and Acorn’s mission to improve the livelihoods of 15 million smallholder farmers over the coming 5 years. 

 

In light of COP26, we both express our intentions to roll out projects according to the framework and continuously optimize efficiency. This has been formulated in an official partnership agreement for the betterment of small-scale agroforestry carbon projects. Our collaborative aim is to scale up the number of projects rapidly and establish an internationally recognized position for high-quality nature-based carbon removal units.

   

''Acorn's mission is to improve the livelihoods of 15 million smallholder farmers over the coming 5 years.''

 

 Acorn aims to support and work alongside smallholder farmers, including coffee farmers in Quinchía, Colombia, to create more sustainable and regenerative farming practices and provide access to the voluntary carbon market. 

  

About the Acorn initiative 

Acorn stands for ‘Agroforestry CRUs for the Organic Restoration of Nature’ and unlocks the international carbon market for smallholder farmers in the developing world. To do this, Acorn introduces a scalable agroforestry and carbon sequestration monitoring system. Using remote sensing technology and AI brings down the costs of biomass measuring, making CO2 sequestration monitoring and monetization cost-effective and scalable while making it more transparent and data-driven. Unlike other carbon programs Acorn’s carbon removal units are fully traceable via it's platform. Each one is linked to an actual plot of land and the carbon the trees there have removed from the atmosphere.

 

Future outlook 

This year alone, we are linking 15,000 farmers to organizations such as Microsoft and Standard Chartered through the Acorn platform. We are confident that together we will continue to successfully stretch the importance of CO2 removal from the atmosphere by encouraging sustainable practices like agroforestry and making the voluntary carbon market a more inclusive and accessible market for everyone.

 

You can find out more about Rabobank's Acorn initiative here.