RISCO is a first-of-its-kind social enterprise that overcomes existing barriers to mangrove protection by connecting the adaptation and mitigation values of mangroves to the beneficiaries of these values, most of whom do not have the knowledge or resources needed to protect mangroves—including insurance companies. RISCO will engage in mangrove conservation and restoration in partnership with local communities, selecting sites where mangroves provide high flood reduction benefits, and modeling that value. RISCO will then generate revenues based on modelled reduction benefits, with one option being insurance companies paying an annual fee for these services. RISCO will also generate and sell blue carbon credits to organizations seeking to meet voluntary or regulatory standards.
Stage of Implementation
RISCO is currently in the pilot phase in the Philippines and Vietnam and at the stage of selecting 2-3 pilot sites. Key barriers RISCO faces to its success include 1) identification of sites with sufficiently large mangrove cover to justify project development, 2) selection of regions with sufficient insurance penetration, and 3) potential challenges associated with securing legal rights to blue carbon credits.
- Coastal communities and women’s groups: Will benefit from the coastal protection of the mangroves themselves, the ongoing payments to protect mangroves (through conservation agreements), revenue sharing from the sale of blue carbon credits, and finally livelihood income derived from mangrove planting and maintenance, and improved fisheries.
- Coastal asset owners: Will benefit from the role that robust mangrove ecosystems play in erosion and flood control and fisheries support, and from access to insurance.
- Insurance companies: Will benefit primarily from lower risk exposure profiles and payouts in the event of storms, typhoons, and cyclones. Partnering with RISCO would also bring CSR benefits, and may open up new business opportunities previously deemed too risky.
- Carbon credit buyers: Will benefit from the emission reductions provided, as well as the co-benefits associated with blue carbon projects.
- Blue carbon right holders: Often the local or national government, these actors will receive a fixed fee payment to secure the blue carbon rights and/or a negotiated portion of the blue carbon revenue while ceding a portion to RISCO for implementing the project.
- Presence of mangrove cover and exposure to extreme events: Sufficiently large mangrove cover or potential for large areas of mangrove restoration which are exposed to storms, cyclones and flooding will be most effectively served by this instrument.
- Presence of legal and economic structure suitable for carbon credits: High potential for developing blue carbon credits, including significant carbon content, and legal structures that allow for crediting.
- Presence of a growing non-life insurance market: Though the non-life insurance market in African countries is relatively small compared to global peers, it is growing at a fast pace especially in North and West Africa.
Given the requirement of a growing non-life insurance market, presence of mangrove cover and coastal assets, Kenya is a good fit for replication of RISCO in Africa.