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New open-access FRESCOS Tool launched for accounting the carbon sequestration in forestry projects

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Four European development finance institutions (DFI) – CDC Group (UK), Finnfund (Finland), FMO (Netherlands), and Swedfund (Sweden) – together with Simosol, an IT company, have today launched the FRESCOS Tool, a web-based, open-access tool to account for the carbon sequestration of afforestation and reforestation projects.

The overall goal of the FRESCOS Tool is to better account and analyse the carbon balance of forestry and agroforestry projects. This information can then be further used to estimate the annual net emissions of an investment portfolio. However, the tool can be used by any organisation – such as a forestry company or investor – interested in gaining insights on carbon sequestration and a better understanding of the climate impact that forestry projects can have.

All four development finance institutions behind FRESCOS are committed to fighting climate change. With their funding, the tool is kept open-access and free to use. This allows for wide and scalable application of the tool – leading to the acceleration of positive climate impacts derived from increased understanding of carbon sequestration and leading more informed decision-making.

Based on IPCC Guidelines

FRESCOS is a web-based user interface, allowing improved user experience and effortless updates. The tool is also flexible in terms of user input requirements; depending on the user’s access to project-specific data, the tool can function with few input data using a broad selection of the IPCC default values, or users can opt for higher accuracy calculations. In addition, FRESCOS is flexible in terms of temporal scope, therefore serving multiple use cases. The calculations can be done either on an annual basis or over several years, even up to 100-year scenarios.

The included carbon pools are biomass, soil, dead organic matter, and harvested wood products. In terms of land-uses, the calculation covers forest land and cropland areas that are planted with woody crops, including agroforestry lands. The tool cannot be used for carbon credit estimations.

FRESCOS is based on the IPCC Guidelines for National GHG Accounting (2006), and the Refinement from 2019, in terms of the included pools and suggested default values. The methodology, available on the FRESCOS website, follows the general principles of the IPCC tiered methodology by suggesting a combination of the tiered methods for the available higher and lower levels of accuracy.

Amal-Lee Amin, Director Climate Change, CDC Group: “FRESCOS is an essential new tool for implementing a DFI’s Climate strategy as it enables us to calculate the emissions sequestered by forestry and agroforestry investments more accurately, and consider these as we implement actions to deliver on our pathway towards zero net emissions.”

Ilkka Norjamäki, Senior Investment Manager, Finnfund: “We can’t do without trees! All pathways to 1.5C require a significant increase in global carbon sinks. Finnfund is committed to work towards this goal through investing in sustainable forestry. This requires us to understand better the climate impact of forestry, and reporting that needs to be transparent and based on factual information. That’s why we have created FRESCOS together with our fellow-DFIs and Simosol.”

Jorim Schraven, Director Impact & ESG, FMO: “To stay within 1.5 degrees we will need the CO2 out of the air. Responsible forestry is an effective way to do this and the FRESCOS tool will help to measure our progress towards the Paris goal.”

Gustav Thorén, Investment Manager, Swedfund: “Swedfund is committed to the targets of the Paris Agreement and we are proud to launch this tool with our partners to contribute to a deeper understanding of the climate impact of sustainable forestry for improved decision making.”

Juho Penttilä, Head of Carbon and Earth Solutions, Simosol: "Carbon is as critical a variable for forestry and sustainable forest management as cubics. With FRESCOS, we are paving the way and lowering thresholds for capturing this value across the industry with transparent and globally applicable methodology."

FRESCOS is available at https://frescos.earth

More information:
Ilkka Norjamäki, Senior Investment Manager, Finnfund, ilkka.norjamaki@finnfund.fi, tel. +358 40 866 8642
Sam Nierop, Impact Officer, FMO, s.nierop@fmo.nl, tel. +31 70 314 9325
Corinna Hornwall, ESG Manager, Swedfund, corinna.hornwall@swedfund.se tel. +46 70 209 29 56
Juho Penttilä, Head of Carbon and Earth Solutions, Simosol, juho.penttila@simosol.fi, tel. +358407767945

Media contacts:
Andrew Murray-Watson, Head of UK Media, CDC Group, amurray-watson@cdcgroup.com, tel. +44 7515 695232
Kirsi Pere, Communications Manager, Finnfund, kirsi.pere@finnfund.fi, tel. +358 40 620 9767
Monica Beek, Media spokesperson, FMO, M.Beek@fmo.nl, tel. +31 70 314 9130

About CDC
1. CDC Group is the UK’s impact investor with over 70 years of experience of successfully supporting the sustainable, long-term growth of businesses in South Asia and Africa.
2. CDC is a leading player in the fight against climate change and a UK champion of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – the global blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for us all.
3. The company has investments in over 1,200 businesses in emerging economies and a total portfolio value of $6.2bn. This year CDC aims to invest up to $1.75bn in companies in Africa and Asia with a focus on fighting climate change, empowering women and creating new jobs and opportunities for millions of people.
4. CDC is funded by the UK government and all proceeds from its investments are reinvested to improve the lives of millions of people in Africa and South Asia.
5. CDC’s expertise makes it the perfect partner for private investors looking to devote capital to making a measurable environmental and social impact in countries most in need of investment.

About Finnfund
Finnfund is a Finnish development financier and professional impact investor. We build a sustainable world by investing in responsible and profitable businesses in developing countries. Each year we invest €200–250 million in 20–30 projects, emphasising renewable energy, sustainable forestry, sustainable agriculture and financial institutions. Today Finnfund’s investments and commitments total about €957 million, half of them in Africa. The company has about 90 employees. For more information, please visit http://www.finnfund.fi/

About FMO
FMO is the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank. As a leading impact investor, FMO supports sustainable private sector growth in developing countries and emerging markets by investing in ambitious projects and entrepreneurs. FMO believes that a strong private sector leads to economic and social development and has a close to 50-year proven track-record of empowering people to employ their skills and improve their quality of life. FMO focuses on three sectors that have high development impact: financial institutions, energy, and agribusiness, food & water. With a committed portfolio of EUR 9.3 billion spanning over 85 countries, FMO is one of the larger bilateral private sector developments banks globally. For more information: please visit www.fmo.nl.

About Swedfund
Swedfund is Sweden's development finance institution and aims to contribute to poverty reduction through sustainable investments in the world's poorest countries. Investments are made within the energy & climate and healthcare sectors while also focusing on reaching small and medium-sized companies. At the end of 2020, Swedfund had 65 investments in businesses, financial institutions and funds in 17 countries, with the majority being located in Africa. For more information: please visit www.swedfund.se/en

About Simosol
Since 2007, Simosol has provided advanced and customized forest planning and optimisation tools and services for the leading global forestry companies and other stakeholders. With our software and advisory services, we support our clients in understanding alternative scenarios and incorporating various objectives into forestry decision making and capturing the real value of forests. Simosol’s team consists of over 30 employees with PhDs and master’s degrees in forestry, computer science, and economics. Solutions support more than 15 million hectares of forest with net worth of over 40 billion EUR.