Methods

Research Design

Subjects

We answered our research questions  by gathering information through literature review, surveys and interviews, then performing quantitative analysis on the survey results and qualitative analysis on the interview results. Our population of interest was organizations that currently participate or could potentially participate in the REDD+ program; either as project developers, project financers, offset credit purchasers, researchers, or policymakers.

We divided that population into two general communities:

  1. The Investment Community consists of organizations that finance projects or purchase credits resulting from projects. It also includes individuals within organizations that could perform those roles, but currently do not.
  2. The Practitioner Community consists of organizations that develop and implement projects, perform research in support of the REDD+ mechanism, or perform policy work around the REDD+ mechanism, either for national governments or international organizations.

Instruments

We approached each community with a separate instrument, which fed into our two primary analyses and informed our final recommendations.

  1. The Investment Community Survey evaluated investors’ priorities for and expectations of REDD+. As we developed the survey, we held a series of exploratory interviews with key members of the community. These interviews helped to identify survey questions and the context in which they were to be answered. After developing a draft of the survey, we refined it through a focus group recruited from knowledgeable academics. We distributed the final survey through contacts gleaned from our client and faculty advisors, and through networks maintained by outside organizations (e.g. environmental NGOs and industry associations).
  2. The Practitioner Community Interviews identified and evaluated opportunities to integrate co-benefits into the REDD+ measurement framework. We interviewed individuals identified by our client and faculty advisors, and expanded our pool of subjects beyond that using the “Snowball Method”.

Analyses

The results from our two instruments fed into two analyses.

  1. The Survey Analysis explored the demand for quantifiable co-benefits from the investment community, based primarily on responses to the Investment Community Survey. It included prioritized lists of co-benefits that are most important to current and potential investors. The analysis divided the investment community into subgroups to compare how expectations and priorities vary:
  • Between organizations already involved in REDD+ and not yet involved;
  • Between organizations that finance projects and those that purchase credits; and
  • Among organizations from different industry sectors.

The heart of this analysis was an Ordered Probit or Ordered Logit Regression on responses to a series of survey questions in which subjects rate the importance of various co-benefits on Likert Scales (e.g. “How important is biodiversity preservation, on a scale of 1 to 5?”).

The Interview Analysis brought together the perspectives of all of the interviewees on several key questions identified during the interviews:

  1. What are the challenges associated with investment demand?
  2. What are the opportunities for expanding investment demand?
  3. What is the value of additional REDD+ metrics? What about the challenges?
  4. Which co-benefits are the most important to be measured for the purpose of attracting potential investors?

Limitations

While we did get a lot of interesting data from our interviews and survey, it is important to state that the basis  for our findings may have limitations.

Practitioner interviews: most interviewees were provided to us by our client or were forwarded contacts of other interviewees. As a result, we primarily talked to people in organizations that are typically pro-CCB and pro-REDD+.

Survey Distribution: It is a similar story for our survey distribution. Firstly, it was extremely difficult to get our survey out to a large enough audience with a limited number of connections. In addition, not all organizations we sent the survey to took our survey. We heard on several occasions that this was probably due to survey fatigue and the fact that CSR and sustainability managers are overburdened with too many surveys on a daily basis. We therefore asked our client if they could help pass out our survey to their contacts to see if we could increase survey participation.