The background and motivation for CarbonWorx is based on the following principles:
Global warming or climate change is a reality. The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change  described the warming of the past few decades as "UNEQUIVOCAL"
, there is no longer any room for doubt.
The world is certainly heating up.
Global warming will have the following challenges:
- water shortages
- food shortages
- 50% of ocean's carbon dioxide sink capability is gone
- melt lakes (Siberia/Canada) have tonnes of methane locked in
- rising ocean levels (3 to 6 feet)
- bio fuels absorbing valuable food resources (corn, sugar cane, soy palm oil)
- climate wars
- climate refugees
There is an abundance of scientific literature on the impacts of climate change, not only from an eco system perspective, but also from an economic perspective incorporating the work environment and social aspects of the negative implications. This overview document will not delve into the abundance of literature and further elaboration can be made at a later date.
Large state entities, corporations and NGOs also have a social responsibility and should comply with sustainability reality checks which include, but are not limited to:
- Being a good corporate citizen
- Following the King III guidelines for corporate governance
- National Climate Change Response Green Paper 2010
- SUSTAINABILITY IS A BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY and can be a COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
- Sustainability must be part of the core business and not a separate activity
- To make an impact, look for measurable interventions
- Senior executives must be fully committed
- Consumer channel education should play a key role
In the National Climate Change Response Green Paper 2010, published for comment, the following commitments are made with regard to commercial forestry:
"5.8.11 Ensure that forest planning tools take into account carbon sequestration in a way that it could provide necessary planning information, so as to aid in obtaining incentives from carbon trading.
5.8.15 Encourage agro-forestry and indigenous tree production as a potential socio-economic benefit of environmentally integral planting regimes, and tree breeding as an adaptive response to changing landscape conditions."
Based on the above, CarbonWorx, a division of the listed FoneWorx Holdings Limited, launched its afforestation site and project in Mthatha, Eastern Cape in August 2010. The objectives of CarbonWorx are, inter alia:
- Restoration of eco systems
- Job creation
- Providing a verifiable methodology to enable corporates and individuals to offset their carbon footprint via the tree planting initiative
- Transfer of skills
- Education of schools and local population
In essence, CarbonWorx identifies sites, in association with Contralesa and Champions of the Environment Foundation, in terms of which interactions take place with various Trusts around the country.The Trust enters into an agreement with CarbonWorx over a defined period of time which is regulated by a contract. Typically all contracts are for a minimum period of 30 years with a roll-over period of a further 30 years to ensure sustainability and longevity of the afforested areas.
FoneWorx has contracted Golder Associates
to provide tree and soil carbon estimates for each of the afforestation sites to ensure that the projects are independently verified and the projects are developed around the guidelines of Clean Development Mechanisms ("CDMs") as set out by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change ("UNFCCC") following the Kyoto Protocol.
FoneWorx has developed a carbonfree
card which can be acquired by corporates or individuals which is linked to the carbonfree site. FoneWorx is historically a technology company and has accordingly developed the entire back-end to host the card-based application system.
CarbonWorx forms relationships with retail outlets such as Kauai, PostNet, Look & Listen etc, in terms of which when a cardholder purchases goods or services from these aligned partners, they acquire points to their card and can later redeem such points for trees which will be planted in one of the verified afforestation sites.
FoneWorx has also formed a formal relationship with the Department of Environmental Affairs for the purposes of a public/private partnership in terms of its first afforestation site in the Eastern Cape with the Hegebe Trust.
Human activities in the past century, particularly the burning of fossil fuels, have fundamentally changed the global carbon cycle. Anthropogenic causes of increased emissions of greenhouse gases include fossil fuel combustion, biomass burning, increased rates of land use change, deforestation, damage of wetlands and soil cultivation.
As a result there is currently a strong interest to stabilize the atmospheric concentrations of CO2
and other greenhouse gases to mitigate the risk of climate change.
Restoring degraded land to its former state or the conversion of tree-less land to a plantation (afforestation) would be effective to reduce CO2
concentrations because carbon could be sequestered in the vegetative biomass as well as in the soil.
Carbon sequestration refers to the process by which atmospheric CO2
, that would otherwise have been emitted or remained in the atmosphere, is transferred and stored in long-lived carbon pools.
The CarbonWorx initiatives focus specifically on the re-building of eco systems by afforestation projects incorporating and integrating the local communities by creating jobs and skills transfer.