Putting people and nature at the heart of development

Our Approach

“Carbon emissions have to decline by 45% from 2010 levels over the next decade in order to reach net zero by 2050. This requires a massive reallocation of capital. If some companies and industries fail to adjust to this new world, they will fail to exist.”

Open letter from the Governor of Bank of England Mark Carney, Governor of Banque de France François Villeroy de Galhau and Chair of the Network for Greening the Financial Services Frank Elderson.

The Congo Basin is home to the world’s second largest tropical forest – spanning Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. The area hosts world class biodiversity, including iconic flora and fauna, in one of Africa’s least densely populated regions. Native wildlife includes forest elephants, great apes and rare birdlife, whilst the landscape encompasses dense tropical forests, savannahs, montane ecosystems, estuaries and marine areas.

Tropical forest covers 85% of Gabon’s territory. The country has set an ambitious green growth strategy – Gabon Emergent – to develop the country’s natural resources sustainably to create jobs, diversify the economy and reduce dependence on oil revenues, whilst protecting its unique natural environment.

Grande Mayumba is a pioneering model for sustainable, principled green growth in the Congo Basin.

The project has been designed to reflect the principles of Gabon Emergent and to incorporate world-leading environmental and climate science standards and methodologies.

The Grande Mayumba Methodology

1. Intro 2. Land use optimisation 3. Sustainable Development Plan 4. Sustainable Development Credits 5. Natural capital approach

Grande Mayumba takes a holistic, integrated approach to economic, community, environmental and conservation rights to optimise land use and deliver sustainable, conservation-led development.

Our methodology is anchored in a detailed audit and rigorous analysis of current and prospective land use options, carbon stocks and biodiversity within the project area.

Through a process of iteration, the optimal allocation of land use rights across the whole ecosystem is determined. This is followed by the design of appropriate commercial activities to maximise investment returns whilst simultaneously contributing to the optimisation of environmental rights, maintaining terrestrial carbon stocks, fast-tracking economic transformation and supporting social upliftment in the region.

Grande Mayumba will be delivered consistent with relevant national imperatives in terms of the Paris Accord, international corporate governance best practices including the UN Global Compact and in strict compliance with local regulation. Monitoring of carbon stocks (measuring, reporting and verification) will take place on an annual basis and compared with a baseline derived from the agreed unplanned development scenario.

2. Land use optimisation

The project area was surveyed using satellite imagery, before an aerial study was conducted to confirm the existing land use classification. Carbon densities and stocks were mapped and calculated and the region’s ecosystems and species extensively audited to inform the design of optimal land use.

Commercialisation in areas with unique biodiversity and priceless ecosystems services delivered will be avoided entirely. Consequently, a third of the total project area has been set aside as a conservation arc, covering coastal, estuarine, montane and savannah ecosystems. This approach ensures pristine wilderness areas are protected and community rights are respected. Further measures will be adopted across the project to protect the area’s biodiversity.

Land use planning for the rest of the project area is based on a clear delineation of economic activities where Gabon has a significant competitive advantage and where industry can be developed sustainably, including forestry, timber processing, agroforestry, agriculture, fisheries, ecotourism and infrastructure. Government policies relating to food security, infrastructure development, renewable energy and biodiversity have been integrated into the project design and all existing land use rights - including community rights, traversing rights and riparian rights - have been documented with due consideration, as appropriate.

3. Sustainable Development Plan

Grande Mayumba has developed detailed risk mitigation strategies to prevent unplanned deforestation and degradation through proactive planning, sustainable design and responsible management of all infrastructure elements and influences on the forest landscape.

The approach is outlined in a comprehensive Sustainable Development Plan, which reflects Gabon’s Sustainable Development Law passed in 2014 and the principles of the Plan Stratégique Gabon Emergent, and sets out how the land use management plan will be delivered.

It includes the following elements:

- Planned and timely upgrades to the existing infrastructure of Mayumba town in anticipation of development roll-out;

- Provision of water, power, roads and municipal services (housing, education, health and sanitation infrastructure, storm water drains and waste management) to support the range of businesses developed by Grande Mayumba;

- Establishing a means of exporting from Mayumba to the rest of Gabon and beyond.

Infrastructure in the town of Mayumba is currently sufficient, but not optimal, for a town of 3,000 people. The population of Mayumba is expected to double in the short term and Mayumba can expect rapid growth to at least 10 times its current population over the medium to long term. Significant re-planning and infrastructure development will be needed as Mayumba grows into a much larger and dynamic town.

In line with Gabon’s Sustainable Development Law, urban planning for Mayumba will reflect international best practice and standards consistent with climate change mitigation and service provision. A needs assessment for water, electricity, roads, solid waste, sanitation and housing infrastructure has been completed, including modelling of three scenarios based on projected population growth.

4. Sustainable Development Credits

Sustainable planned development of the Grande Mayumba region avoids the potentially significant environmental degradation and terrestrial carbon losses that are likely to result from unplanned development.

Each business established under Grande Mayumba will be continuously assessed on its viability, risk profile and ability to provide environmental and social co-benefits. In line with Gabon’s Sustainable Development Law, projects and activities that deliver sustainable and measurable benefits against an agreed baseline are granted Sustainable Development Credits (SDCs), while those that don’t satisfy these criteria may be required to purchase SDCs or invest in remedial works or in sustainable development projects.

The underlying feasibility of each Grande Mayumba project and the quantum of funding required to deliver on each opportunity has been established based on traditional development capital financing principles.

5. Natural capital approach

The approach to natural capital applied at Grande Mayumba recognises the sustainable use of natural resources as a cornerstone of Gabon’s overall sustainable development trajectory. The applied natural capital methodology therefore comprehensively values the true worth of the land-use and ecosystem rights secured at Grand Mayumba. By developing a holistic asset pricing model that reflects the full risk and return dynamics of this integrated ecosystem to the sustainable development market, the inherent carbon security, biodiversity and ecosystem services can be fairly and accurately represented on the balance sheet. This natural capital approach incorporates multidisciplinary skill sets, is anchored in established real estate and corporate finance valuation principles and is fully compliant with the International Valuation Standards and International Financial Reporting Standards.

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