Credit Suisse and SFM launch USD 200m carbon-backed forestry finance facility

Sustainable Forestry Management (SFM) Limited and Credit Suisse (CS) have today announced the formation of a new special purpose vehicle, Sustainable Carbon Finance, to provide up to USD 200 million in carbon-backed financing for forestry projects.

Under the terms of the framework agreement signed, SFM aims to provide dedicated finance facilities to selected SFM sponsored forestry projects. The projects will seek to provide purchasers with carbon credits and offsets which meet the highest standards in the carbon markets. The projects are large scale and designed to include significant benefits not only to climate stabilisation but reduced deforestation, reforestation, biodiversity protection, watershed enhancement and new opportunities for the sustainable development of rural communities throughout the developing world.

Paul Ezekiel, head of Credit Suisse's carbon trading business, said: 'This pioneering partnership agreement seeks to position us at the forefront of the developing forestry carbon market and demonstrates Credit Suisse's long-term, strategic commitment to support private sector investment in climate change initiatives.'

Alan Bernstein, CEO of SFM, said: 'I believe this is the first agreement of its kind and scale and is a major milestone in both our development as a company and in the development of the forestry based carbon sector. It represents an agreement that should provide attractive financing for the carbon component of selected projects that SFM is developing over the next few months. These projects will seek to provide attractive returns for both regional and international investors and for local communities in the developing world. They will set the gold standard for investment in reforestation and forest conservation in Australasia, Africa and Latin America.'

SFM is a private group of companies formed in 1999 and dedicated to realising value from the ethical and sustainable use of tropical and sub-tropical forests including the environmental services which they provide. SFM originates and manages its investments in partnership with the private, public and non-governmental sectors to provide sustainable livelihoods in restored and preserved forest ecosystems.

Its founders are a unusual combination of leaders in emerging market business development, conservation, capital markets and human rights. It is building a global portfolio of forest land assets to become a leading supplier of carbon and other environmental credits and offsets to the world's industrial, commercial and financial participants in emissions and environmental trading schemes. Currently the SFM Group of companies is active in Africa, Latin America and Australasia.

Eric Bettelheim, Executive Chairman of SFM said, 'If mankind is serious about dealing with global warming in the next few crucial decades it must utilize all available resources. The forest sector offers the single greatest contribution to this effort, exceeding both the energy and industrial sectors, and at the lowest cost. Economic growth, particularly in the developing world, must continue along side environmental adjustment. Carbon forestry is a critical part of the solution. It is a tribute to the Credit Suisse team that they have the vision to recognize this.'

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