LEAF Coalition

The Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest finance (LEAF) Coalition’s goal is to halt deforestation by financing large scale tropical forest protection. In 2021, the Coalition mobilized $1bn in financing, kicking off the largest-ever public-private effort to protect tropical forests.

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Kenya becomes second African country to sign LEAF Coalition Letter of Intent 

Kenya has become the second African nation to sign a Letter of Intent (LOI) to supply high-integrity emissions reductions and removals credits to the LEAF Coalition. The East African country follows Ghana in pioneering progress to reduce deforestation, with the support of LEAF.

Read the press release here


A new window for forest governments to submit proposals to supply high integrity forest carbon credits to the LEAF Coalition will be open from May 1st 2023 to May 1st 2024.

To date, 24 forest governments have submitted eligible proposals to LEAF. Many of these are progressing towards signing binding Emissions Reduction Purchase Agreements.

To find out more details, review the Call for Proposals Terms and Proposal Template, and start the submission process click here

Call to action

Emergent invites all corporate climate leaders to participate in the LEAF Coalition. LEAF welcomes participation by any company that meets its high-bar criteria of commitment to science-based emission reductions in their own value chains, backed by mid-century net-zero targets. For companies, LEAF provides an opportunity to accelerate their climate commitments through high-integrity tropical forest protection, while making history by joining the largest public-private effort ever assembled to end tropical deforestation. Please contact leafcompanies@emergentclimate.com to join our coalition of climate leaders.

The importance of forests

Tropical forests around the world are under threat. The world lost more than 10 million hectares of primary tropical forest cover last year, an area roughly the size of Switzerland. Ending tropical and subtropical forest loss by 2030 is a crucial part of meeting global climate, biodiversity and sustainable development goals. Protecting tropical forests offers one of the biggest opportunities for climate action in the coming decade.

Harnessing public and private action

The LEAF Coalition can help reverse the trend by providing unprecedented financial support to tropical forest governments implementing forest protection, contributing to green and resilient growth through sustainable investments. The LEAF Coalition empowers tropical and subtropical forest countries to move more rapidly towards ending deforestation, while supporting them in achieving their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement. Reductions in emissions are made across entire countries or large states and provinces (“jurisdictions”) through programs that involve all key stakeholders, including Indigenous peoples and local communities.

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It is a priority for the LEAF Coalition that companies make deep cuts in their own value chain emissions. Purchase of credits through LEAF comes in addition to, and not as a substitute for, internal abatement in line with Paris. 

To join LEAF, companies must publicly commit to science-based targets (SBTi) or equivalent quantified and independently verified decarbonization targets, consistent with limiting warming in line with the long-term temperature goal of the Paris Agreement, with no or limited overshoot. Companies must have the targets in place before taking title to LEAF emissions reductions, no later than 2023. 

Click on each company’s logo above to view their decarbonization and sustainability commitments. Refer to SBTi’s website to access companies’ SBT language. 

Why is LEAF the right approach?

Working at scale

Engaging tropical forest countries and states to reduce deforestation on a jurisdictional level and supporting their investments in sustainable development

Robust social protections

Ensuring the full and effective participation of local and Indigenous peoples in line with the Cancun Safeguards

Raising ambition

Private sector support is in addition to, not instead of, deep cuts in their own value chains in line with science-based emission reduction targets

Environmental integrity

Using the independent and rigorous ART/TREES standard to ensure uncompromising environmental and social integrity

Results-based finance

Payments made by public and private sectors for demonstrated results that increase the speed and scale of forest protection

Mobilizing finance

Catalysing private capital at scale, providing an avenue for companies to go beyond individual efforts to support global action

Secure Fund Disbursement

Robust fund management, monitoring and reporting architecture, informed by guiding Principles that encourage funds be effectively channeled towards systemic change

How to get involved

Call for Proposals

Click here for the full 2023 proposal template and proposal terms on submissions.

The Coalition opened the first Call for Proposals window in April 2021. View the CFP and template from the first window in English, Spanish, Portuguese and French in our Resources page here.

Companies & NGOs/Governments

Click here to get in contact with us if you are a company.

Click here to get in contact with us if you are an NGO or government representative.

Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities

Click here if you are an IPLC representative and want to contact us for further information or to provide feedback.

For Stakeholders

Click here to contact us about engaging with the coalition.

Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities in LEAF

LEAF recognises the critical role of Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs) in stewarding and safeguarding the world’s forests, and the weight of evidence that, when their rights are recognised and protected, deforestation falls.  

LEAF will not fund jurisdictions that do not respect the rights of IPLCs or do not meet strong social safeguards. LEAF exclusively transacts credits verified by the ART/TREES standard. ART/TREES was selected, in part, because of its rigorous social safeguards, which requires that jurisdictions adhere to the Cancun Safeguards adopted by the UNFCCC. The Cancun Safeguards were the result of sustained engagement with IPLC groups and civil society actors.  

Credits will not be issued by ART/TREES – and therefore transactions will not occur – unless safeguards are maintained, consultation has demonstrably occurred, benefit sharing plans are in place and grievance mechanisms are working.  

Detailed benefits sharing plans will be developed as jurisdictions implement ART/TREES. Only those jurisdictions able to have effective benefits sharing plans in line with the standard – that benefits be distributed in a fair, transparent, and accountable manner – will be issued credits by ART. And LEAF purchase agreements will be contingent on the development of these mechanisms. 

The jurisdictional approach operationalized by ART/TREES is a crucial innovation in tropical forest protection. Attempting to stem deforestation on a site-based, often private sector-led basis, will not be enough. Drivers need to be addressed at the national and state-wide level.  

LEAF purchase agreements will ensure contractually that IPLC rights are respected by including termination clauses if jurisdictions breach the Cancun Safeguards (i.e., if there is evidence of violence, carbon grabbing, etc.) or if jurisdictions are in violation of anticorruption or anti-money laundering laws. 

More broadly, the LEAF Coalition is working to ensure that IPLCs and other stakeholders have a mechanism to have their views incorporated into the Coalition. The key stakeholder groups that have been included in the engagement process are IPLCs, tropical and subtropical forest jurisdictions, and civil society organizations– each with distinct relationships to the LEAF Coalition process.  

Emergent, the administrative coordinator of the LEAF Coalition, is working with civil society actors who have strong relationships with IPLC groups. With 23 jurisdictions eligible for purchase agreement discussions, engagement is being focused on them.  

This is critical work for the LEAF Coalition, and we welcome the opportunity to continue working to support Indigenous Peoples and local communities. 

If your organization wants to provide feedback to the LEAF Coalition on issues related to Indigenous and local communities, please email us at info@emergentclimate.com. 

Role of Civil Society in LEAF

The LEAF Coalition recognizes the critical role that civil society¹ plays in protecting forests and supporting the communities that steward and depend on them. Additionally, LEAF notes the important advocacy role that civil society plays globally, and the essential role civil society plays in facilitating the successful implementation of jurisdictional REDD+ programs in host countries transacting with LEAF. 

Apart from Emergent, which coordinates the Coalition and facilitates its transactions, civil society organizations are not direct participants in the Coalition. Nevertheless, LEAF remains committed to continued engagement with civil society to improve the effectiveness of LEAF’s operations and impact. The LEAF Coalition encourages civil society organizations to engage with LEAF in several important ways: 

  1. Commenting on LEAF jurisdictions’ implementation plans and benefit sharing plans, which need to be developed through participatory processes to be compliant with LEAF requirements.  
  2. Supporting delivery by serving as a Financial Intermediary or implementing entity (see below), to identify, execute and/or monitor the implementation of activities in LEAF jurisdictions.  
  3. Liaising with local stakeholders and communities to enhance knowledge and understanding of LEAF and better enable feedback from beneficiaries on the ground, 
  4. Commenting on LEAF policies and documentation provided in line with the LEAF Transparency policy. 
  5. Suggesting improvements to LEAF governance and decision-making processes and operations. 

More specifically, the LEAF Coalition expects a range of civil society partners to be critical in the delivery chain. Emergent utilizes a fund management system that operates through Financial Intermediaries (FIs).  CSOs (civil society organizations) may be eligible to act as FIs² for LEAF transactions. In addition to functioning as FIs, civil society may also be considered as implementing entities and/or beneficiaries of LEAF transactions. If your organization is interested in serving as an FI or implementing entity, contact the government agency responsible for the jurisdiction you are interested in supporting.  

If your organization is interested in engaging with the LEAF Coalition on issues related to Indigenous and local communities, please email us at info@emergentclimate.com. ​

¹LEAF defines civil society as a key stakeholder group that includes non-profit and non-governmental organizations, Indigenous peoples and local communities and affiliated groups, special interest groups including those focused on women and youth inclusion. Civil society only means non-profit actors, non-public sector and non-private sector. Industry associations and trade unions may be included, but for-profit project developers, business and industry groups are not included under this definition.  
²Eligibility is determined by accreditation by the Green Climate Fund, or delivery partner status for the Global Environmental Fund.

How it works

  • 1

    Jurisdictions reduce deforestation through national or sub-national scale forest protection programs

  • 2

    Emission Reductions (ERs) verified and issued by ART

  • 3

    Transaction of ART credits from jurisdictions purchased or paid for via intermediary after diligence and internal approvals

  • 4

    ERs will transact at a minimum price of $10 per ER via intermediary, as applicable

  • 6

    Payments to jurisdictions
    enable additional forest protection and increased climate ambition

  • 2

    Emission Reductions (ERs)
    verified and issued by ART

  • 5

    Funds channelled to
    according to fund management best practice

Information Disclosure

Emergent recognizes the importance of and affirms its commitment to transparency and accountability in all aspects of its operations. Emergent’s Information Disclosure Policy promotes public access and stakeholder participation through the effective dissemination of information. The Policy is based on 3 principles: Principle 1: Maximize access to information; Principle 2: Limited exceptions; Principle 3: Simple and broad access to information.All documents in Emergent’s possession are subject to disclosure as per this Policy, and will be released on the Emergent website or will be provided upon request, unless they fall under an exception. This is to provide the public with a clear picture of Emergent’s work and the way it administers financial resources received from public, private and other sources. It will take some time for Emergent to update the website according to the new Policy, which will be updated by end of Q1 2022.


  • What is LEAF and who is involved?

    The LEAF Coalition was launched on April 22nd by an initial group of governments and leading companies aiming to mobilize at least $1 billion in finance to support tropical and subtropical forest jurisdictions in making substantial reductions in their emissions from deforestation. This group of participants is growing, with new companies and governments able to join in the time leading up to the signing of final agreements by the end of 2021.

    Emergent, a US non-profit, is providing a platform to facilitate the transactions to provide finance to these programs, and will serve as LEAF’s administrative coordinator.

    Performance will be measured against the TREES standard. TREES is a high-integrity standard building on over a decade of progress in international support for reducing deforestation and ensuring social and environmental integrity. TREES is managed by ART, a voluntary global initiative hosted by Winrock International. ART also maintains the registry on which Emissions Reductions are issued, transferred and retired.

    ART is governed by an independent Board of Directors, the members of which represent a diverse group of objective, globally recognized experts.

  • How does the LEAF Coalition support substantial reductions in deforestation to meet global climate goals?

    This first Call for Proposals is just the start of what we expect will become a rapidly expanding market for high quality ERs from jurisdictional forest and climate programs. Over the next few years, such a market could channel much greater volumes of finance to tropical and subtropical forest countries that take rapid action to halt emissions from deforestation.

    The finance provided under this call for proposals will pay for high-quality Emissions Reductions generated during the 2022 – 2026 period, while allowing supplier countries to still use the underlying mitigation results towards ambitious NDCs (unless they elect to make a corresponding adjustment, which is not required under LEAF).

    The LEAF Coalition will thus ensure that ambitious tropical and subtropical forest jurisdictions have access to large scale, predictable performance-based finance, enabling them to further invest in reduced deforestation and sustainable rural development.

  • How are Emissions Reductions issued and transacted?

    ART will issue verified Emissions Reductions (called “TREES credits” under the TREES standard) to participating jurisdictions that reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Each of these represent one tonne of CO2e. The terms of these transactions are designed to accommodate voluntary purposes, such as voluntary corporate commitments to drive urgent climate action in addition to deep cuts in their own emissions in line with science-based emission reduction targets and aiming for carbon neutrality by 2050 or sooner.1

    1) Science-based targets (SBTi) or equivalent quantified and independently verified decarbonization targets, consistent with limiting warming in line with the long-term temperature goal of the Paris Agreement, with no or limited overshoot.
  • How can companies participate in the LEAF Coalition?

    Companies are invited to participate in the LEAF Coalition by purchasing high-quality emissions reductions as part of broader voluntary commitments to global climate action. These emissions reductions must come in addition to, and not as a substitute for, deep cuts in own value chain emissions. LEAF thus welcomes participation by any company that meets its high-bar criteria of commitment to science-based emission reductions in their own value chains.

  • My company does not yet have a net-zero commitment in place, but is planning one. Can we still participate?

    Yes. To participate, private sector buyers must meet four key criteria:

    – Publicly commit to science-based targets (SBTi) or equivalent quantified and independently verified decarbonization targets, consistent with limiting warming in line with the long-term temperature goals of the Paris Agreement, with no or limited overshoot. In addition, private sector buyers should aim to have set SBTi or equivalent targets (as above) before taking title to ERs, and have the targets in place no later than 2023.2 Private sector buyers must also publicly commit to mid-century net zero targets covering all three emissions scopes.
    – Join the UN Race to Zero.
    – Publicly report a greenhouse gas emissions inventory following the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHGP).
    – Separately report publicly any use of Emissions Reductions or other carbon credits, including purpose of use. Reporting should be independently audited.

    2) SBTI allocates 24 months for a thorough target setting process
  • Which jurisdictions are able to submit proposals?

    This is a global call. All eligible national and subnational jurisdictions (one level down from national level jurisdiction), tropical and subtropical, which meet ART/TREES requirements for forest area are invited to submit proposals.3

    3) Subnational jurisdictions are requested to indicate that the national government will provide the participant with a letter from the relevant national entity authorizing the Participant’s application to and participation in ART.
  • When can jurisdictions submit proposals?

    The second LEAF submissions window will be open from 13th May – 15th of September 2022. Full submissions templates are available in EnglishPortuguese, Spanish and French. Jurisdictions are highly encouraged to submit their proposals before July 15th to increase the potential to be considered for signing Letters of Intent in advance of COP27 in November 2022. 

    Jurisdictions that have not previously submitted a proposal as well as jurisdictions whose applications were not progressed in the first LEAF proposal window, are eligible to apply.  

    During the first LEAF Coalition submission window in 2021, a total of 35 jurisdictions submitted proposals.  A total of 23 successfully completed an initial technical screening process led by an independent panel of technical experts. 

  • How will proposals be selected?

    Proposals will be selected based on their ability to meet the ART-TREES requirements, and the demonstrated credibility of jurisdictions’ ambition and readiness to reduce deforestation and generate ERs while ensuring the full and effective participation of relevant stakeholders — in particular, Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

    Jurisdictions demonstrating political willingness to make or maintain durable policy changes that enhance ambition under the Paris Agreement would greatly strengthen their proposals. Proposals will be prioritized from jurisdictions with clear and credible pathways towards net zero emissions in line with the latest science, and have established, or have plans to establish as soon as possible, a 2050 Long Term Strategy to implement this global net zero goal.

  • How does implementing jurisdictional-scale programs work in practice?

    Following the jurisdictional approach, progress is measured by looking at emissions from the forests of an entire country or state/ province. A reference level is set based on the average of historical emissions, updated every five years. Results are measured relative to this reference level, with deductions set aside for uncertainty and leakage risks as appropriate.4

    Payments are made only after results have been fully verified by an accredited and independent body.

    Deforestation is reduced using various public regulatory-, finance- and enforcement tools, in conjunction with other public and private initiatives, targeted at the root causes of deforestation, the features of which will depend on country circumstances.

    4) The draft TREES 2.0 also includes removals, with corresponding guidance for establishing baselines for removals.
  • How does the finance mobilized through LEAF support Indigenous peoples and local communities?

    Proposals will be selected based on the demonstrated credibility of jurisdictions’ ambition and readiness to reduce deforestation and generate emission reductions, while also ensuring the full and effective participation of relevant stakeholders — in particular, Indigenous Peoples and local communities. Through ART/TREES, Emissions Reductions achieved under the LEAF Coalition must satisfy and go beyond the Cancun safeguards, which require respect for the knowledge and rights of Indigenous peoples and members of local communities, by taking into account relevant international obligations, national circumstances and laws.5 TREES requires third-party verification of conformance with the safeguards, and includes a series of detailed structural, process, and outcome indicators.

    5) Specifically through section 12 of TREES: Cancun Safeguard B – Transparent and effective national forest governance structures, taking into account national legislation and sovereignty (including land tenure rights and access to justice); Cancun Safeguard C – Respect for the knowledge and rights of Indigenous peoples and members of local communities by taking into account relevant international obligations, national circumstances and laws, and noting that the United Nations General Assembly has adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and Cancun Safeguard C – The full and effective participation of relevant stakeholders—in particular Indigenous peoples and local communities—in actions referred to in paragraphs 70 and 72 of decision 1/CP16.
  • How is environmental integrity ensured for Emissions Reductions transacted through LEAF?

    This is a results-based initiative. Payments are only made when emissions reductions have been verified in accordance with the independent ART/TREES standard, which embeds ambitious reference levels, strong requirements for managing uncertainty, leakage risks and permanence, as well as robust environmental and social safeguards.

  • How is transparency around Emissions Reduction use ensured?

    The LEAF Coalition includes four transaction pathways: There is one pathway for Sovereign contributors to engage in transactions (#1), and three pathways for private sector buyers to do so (#2-4). In #1, Sovereign contributors will not use Emissions Reductions toward their NDCs. Payments support mitigation efforts in the supplier jurisdiction.. The underlying mitigation may be counted once: towards the Supplier Country’s NDC.

    Private Sector buyers have three pathways:
    2. Private sector buyers provide results-based payments without taking title to ERs.
    3. Private sector buyers take title to ERs. Under this option the Supplier will transfer the ERs to the buyer on the ART registry. The supplier country may include the underlying mitigation in accounting for its NDC. The private sector buyer must transparently communicate that the underlying mitigation contributes to the Supplier country’s NDC implementation and achievement.
    4. Private sector buyers take title to ERs for which the Supplier Country is willing to make a corresponding adjustment. Under this option the Supplier will transfer the ERs to the buyer on the ART registry, and the supplier country will apply corresponding adjustments for the underlying mitigation in accounting for its NDC.

    For all pathways, the ART registry will clearly identify each issued ER for which the Supplier Country intends to or did carry out a corresponding adjustment for the underlying ERs in accounting for its NDC. In pathway 4, the application of a corresponding adjustment ensures the underlying mitigation is not double-counted.

    Coalition participants transacting under pathway 3 should transparently communicate in public disclosures (e.g. corporate websites, annual sustainability reports) that the mitigation underlying units purchased through LEAF counts toward the Supplier Country’s NDC implementation and achievement.​  

    These requirements – along with the buyer criteria detailed in the Call for Proposals document – will be ensured by the administrative coordinator through periodic checks. Should a corporate participant not make appropriate disclosures, the administrative coordinator will attempt to clarify the requirements with the participant. Following a notice period and a decision by LEAF Coalition participants, companies which continue to fail to disclose will not be able to continue to participate in the Coalition. 

    Standards and guidance bodies and the broader media and NGO community have a vital role to play in ensuring companies maintain their commitments.  Beyond internal mechanisms, LEAF Coalition participants will look to broader civil society actors to further support accountability, and to bring any issues to the attention of the Coalition to support the process above.  

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