Sacramento, California, USA, and Queensland, Australia, 09 February 2010 – ECO2 Forests Inc. (US Stock Symbol: ECOF), has received government approval from the Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority (VIPA) to conduct their Reforestation Project on the island of Malakula.
Approval from VIPA, the national government authority, officially recognizes that the ECO2 Forests Malakula project meets the criteria set by the government that the project is of benefit to the people and environment of Vanuatu and is compliant with all regulations.
The VIPA approval and support expressed by the Malampa Council for ECO2 Forests now allows for the environmental impact assessment (EIA), the final step in the planning and approval process, to be completed.
The government of Vanuatu stipulates that all foreign companies wishing to trade, work or establish any sort of enterprise in Vanuatu apply for and receive VIPA approval. Central to the approval process, VIPA assesses the benefit and impact the project has with the environment and the growth of Vanuatu and its people, including the employment it will create.
ECO2 Forests intends to create in excess of 300 full-time jobs, sourced from the local community on Malakula, an island currently limited in employment opportunities. These permanent positions are forecast to expand as the project grows and is planned to continue over multiple generations. ECO2 Forests intends to deliver world class education in sustainable forestry and forest preservation to entire families and communities in Vanuatu.
In the approval letter from the VIPA board, dated 15 January 2010, it was noted “that these forests remove large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and are a significant contributor to the mitigation of global warming.”
“In November 2009, we visited with representatives of the National Advisory Committee on Climate Change, the then Minister of Agriculture and senior representatives of the Malampa Provincial Council, where positive discussions focussed on future opportunities of working with the local communities. These meetings attended by ECO2 executives were centered on ensuring positive economic, environmental, educational and employment outcomes for Vanuatu and its communities, which is specifically consistent with our own E4 Philosophy,” Ray Smith, chief operating officer said.
“In addition to the approval of the Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority, we have presented the project to the full provincial council and custom land owners and they indicated in writing their support for the project. Project information has also been supplied to other government officials interested in supporting the project,” added Smith.
“The approval and support of the government and provincial counsel recognizes the long-term positive social, economic and environmental impact that the ECO2 Forests project will have for Vanuatu.”
“Infrastructure developments and upgrades for the local community will aim to provide improved access and facilities. Incorporating cultural aesthetics in all design and development will enable communities to maintain their traditions and way of life,” ECO2 founder Martin Tindall commented.
The Malakula Reforestation Project is intended to provide environmental benefits for the entire country and the world through the sequestration of over 7 million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in every seven year harvest cycle. The sustainable nature of the reforestation project will also negate the need to log old growth and rain forests in Vanuatu, preserving the natural beauty of the Vanuatu islands for generations to come.