Partnership Established to De-risk Carbon Markets Access for Rice Producers in Vietnam

A new partnership has been formed to simplify and de-risk carbon markets access for rice producers in Vietnam.

The grouping aims to develop a framework to harness the rice sector’s potential to reduce methane emissions and provide a cost-effective, practical pathway for Vietnamese farmers to generate new income streams.

Once the platform is established and applied in Vietnam, its embedded global applicability has the potential to achieve carbon abatement impacts at scale.

Rice production is responsible for just over 10% of the world’s anthropogenic methane emissions. In Vietnam, the government has a strong focus on reducing rice emissions and has pledged to reduce the country’s methane emissions by 30% by 2030.

Reducing rice sector emissions also represents one of the most promising agricultural options for generating carbon credits, due to the sector’s high baseline emissions, large potential for reduction, and extensively researched and globally accepted existing protocols for reducing methane emissions without reducing yield.

More Sustainable Rice Production

Access to carbon credits could provide a “tipping point” to incentivise growers to switch to lower-emitting protocols. At present, accessing carbon markets is complex, time-consuming, and often requires expensive and specialised technical expertise and financial risk. Very few rice projects have been able to generate and sell carbon credits successfully, and, to date, none have done so in Vietnam or another developing country context.

The initiative aims to create an accessible, good practice shared platform that enables carbon markets access for smallholder rice producers by preparing context-relevant project designs that allows producers to act collectively by contributing “units” to pre-prepared grouped programs.

This will simplify the entry process, make certification more efficient and consistent, and allow small producers to benefit from economies of scale.

The partnership will develop the foundations for the platform, including an improved core methodological approach, pre-filled tools and templates, training and capacity building for producers, and support for the communication and sales of the carbon credits generated.

The development of a shared platform tailored to the Vietnamese rice sector will help generate investment and accelerate transitions to lower-emissions rice production systems, including already-recognised adjusted water management methodologies, as well as expanding certification recognition into other low-emission activities such as split application of nitrogen fertilizers and alternative uses of rice straw.

Key Players

The partnership consists of a trio of key contributors who each bring their own specialist disciplines to develop the platform.

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) will update and develop core rice emission reduction methodologies, develop a classification scheme for rice farms in Vietnam and associated calculation routines and datasets, and facilitate a pilot implementation of the platform.

The IRRI will also support impact reporting and communicate carbon credit benefits to potential buyers and sellers.

The Gold Standard meanwhile will support the development of the methodological toolbox, including workflow, templates, tools and guidance to support the smooth certification (and scaling of certification) of rice projects. Gold Standard will also develop a solution for the sale of carbon credits, and provide training and capacity building to platform users, assurance providers, and Vietnamese rice sector and government stakeholders.

Finally, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will provide catalytic funding and can offer gender expertise to strengthen social and commercial impacts, connection to an extensive network, support to capture and report social impact, and national and global recognition.

“Rice contributes to around 10% of global man-made methane to the atmosphere. At Gold Standard we are excited to be joining this partnership and using our 20 years of experience measuring, managing and maximising sustainable development impact to help reduce the environmental impact of rice production,” said Margaret Kim, CEO, Gold Standard.

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