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Ecosur Afrique, the leading carbon finance group in Africa; Investisseurs & Partenaires (I&P), an impact investment fund dedicated to small and medium size enterprises in Sub-Saharan Africa and Volta cars Rental Services (VRS), a car leasing company operating in West Africa, have announced the first ever carbon credits transaction involving a seller and a buyer from West Africa.

Fabrice Le Sache, CEO of ecosur afrique
Fabrice Le Sache, CEO of ecosur afrique. Photo credit: APO

The transaction, which has been structured by ecosur afrique, allows VRS customers to offset the CO2 emissions of vehicles leased in Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal. Thomas Crand, the co-founder of VRS, states: “We develop a strong environmental strategy; CO2 emissions are at the heart of our concerns and we are pleased to offer our customers the option to offset their carbon footprint. The transaction, that took place on Monday, June 15, 2015, is pioneering and a unique choice, which distinguishes us on the West African market. We hope it will become standard in our sector.” VRS will aggregate the offset demand of customers taking part in the “carbon neutral” programme each quarter and for the whole fleet concerned. The carbon credit purchases will be made with same periodicity.

The carbon credits, or emission reductions, which are at base of the offset transaction, are generated from the dissemination of energy efficient cooks toves in Côte d’Ivoire. The cook stoves are distributed as part of the “Soutra Fourneau” programme financed and operated by ecosur afrique. They allow to reduce charcoal consumption of small entrepreneurial users such as restaurants or canteens. The use of charcoal and firewood for cooking purposes remains a major source of CO2 emissions and deforestation in West Africa. Beyond the environmental aspect, the benefits are numerous: redistribution of purchasing power to consumers, decrease of noxious fumes, reduction of meal preparation time by half.

Fabrice Le Sache, CEO of ecosur afrique, explains the background of this pioneering transaction: “The exchange of carbon credits involves traditionally their transfer from developing countries to industrialized countries. We are convinced that the future of the market lies in part in the development of the South / South transactions, particularly within Africa. We have been working for several years on our carbon credit offer in order to create sufficient liquidity allowing the emergence of such a market. With over 40 projects in 17 countries, we now have the largest portfolio of African carbon credits in terms of volume and diversity. We must now increase and expand the demand; Similar CO2 offset transactions are under negotiation with African hotel chains, carriers and agribusinesses.”

As a private investor of VRS, I&P played a major role in the operation. The fund began by offseting its own CO2 emissions in an exemplary manner and proposed this solution to some companies in its portfolio in the following, particularly to those, which are concerned by this topic (logistics, transport, distribution of fresh products). Jean-Michel Severino, CEO of Investisseurs & Partenaires, said: “I&P shows, once again, its commitment to pioneering entrepreneurial ideas, both to strengthen the business model of its holdings, to offer them distinctive solutions in their market and to assist them in environmental and social performance, a pre-condition of economic sustainability.”

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