Madagascar has emerged as a small but notable leader in carbon offset projects over the past decade. As concerns about climate change grow globally, many developing countries are embracing carbon offsets as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Madagascar is a prime example of this trend, and one of the earliest contributors from the continent of Africa.
In case you didn’t know, carbon offsets allow individuals and companies to invest in environmental projects around the world to balance out their own carbon footprints. The projects generate credits that represent metric tons of greenhouse gasses avoided or removed from the atmosphere. Popular project types include renewable energy, reforestation, and methane capture, but there are many, many more types of carbon credits.
Madagascar offers an abundance of carbon offset opportunities thanks to its incredible biodiversity and natural resources. Madagascar is one of those places on earth that is unlike any other – perhaps only Antarctica which we wrote about last year could be similar in terms of how unique it is. Over 80% of its wildlife exists nowhere else on Earth. However, threats like deforestation and habitat loss put many species at risk. Carbon finance provides a new way to protect Madagascar’s forests and unique ecosystems.
The carbon offset market in Madagascar has seen rapid growth since the first projects emerged around 2008. Its efforts towards reducing greenhouse gases were given due reward in 2023, when the World Bank awarded Madagascar with an $8.8 million USD payment for reducing deforestation. Other leading project types include renewable energy and clean cooking solutions. International demand for Malagasy carbon credits continues to rise as more corporations and travelers opt to offset emissions.
As Madagascar embraces the carbon market, it paves the way for a greener global economy. Let’s take a look at some of the best carbon credit projects taking place in Madagascar.
6. Solar Stoves in Tulear, Madagascar
The ADES Solar and Efficient Stoves Project aims to provide solar cookers and efficient wood stoves to households in southern Madagascar, specifically the former province of Tulear. The project is being implemented by ADES, the Association for Solar Energy Development, a local non-profit organization.
The goal is to reduce wood fuel and charcoal consumption by supplying subsidized solar cookers and improved wood stoves to local families. This helps alleviate pressure on the region’s valuable forests. To encourage adoption of the new cooking methods, the project includes training programs, demonstrations, workshops and outreach. The solar cookers and efficient stoves provide a sustainable alternative to traditional cooking that depends heavily on wood and charcoal.
5. Borehole To “Ease Water Madagascar”, Ambanja
The Ease Water Madagascar borehole project provides solar-powered water systems to bring safe drinking water and irrigation to communities in the Ambanja District of northern Madagascar. Developed through a partnership between the Italian NGO ZOE and local organizations CarbonSink and ADAPS, the project installs clean water wells powered by solar panels in rural villages across the region.
By harnessing solar energy to pump water, the boreholes give villagers access to a reliable, safe source of drinking water near their homes. This improves health and hygiene while reducing the need to burn wood to boil and purify water. The irrigation from the pumps also enables subsistence farmers to grow more diverse, resilient crops. Altogether, the project delivers social benefits to communities in Ambanja while cutting carbon emissions.
So this is a small but very worthwhile carbon credit project with terrific co-benefits that would fit well into any carbon offset portfolio, particularly for companies looking for a great story behind the credit, which is often where many companies ‘land’ once they calculate their carbon footprint and really delve into the carbon credit market.
4. Safe Drinking Water in Toliara, Southern Madagascar
The “Water is Life, Madagascar” project provides safe drinking water to families in the Toliara region of southern Madagascar. Implemented by Associazione Mondobimbi Veneto and CarbonSink, the project supplies clean water for domestic use in villages surrounding the city of Toliara.
By providing easy access to safe drinking water, the project aims to improve health, social welfare, and economic conditions related to water use in the region. In addition, by reducing the need for wood to boil and purify water, the project results in verifiable reductions in carbon emissions. Ultimately, the goal is to address critical water issues while also fighting climate change.
Estimated Annual Emission Reductions: 9,630
3. The Community Safe Water Program, Northern Madagascar
The Community Safe Water project provides solar-powered water systems for three rural villages – Ambatoaranana, Ankatafa and Ambalavelona – in northern Madagascar. Developed through a collaboration between the Italian NGO ZOE organization, the Italian environmental organization CarbonSink, and the local partner ADAPS, the project’s goal is to supply clean, safe drinking water to improve health and quality of life.
By installing solar-powered water pumps and distribution systems, the villages gain access to a reliable source of clean water, reducing their reliance on boiling unsanitary water for purification. This saves large quantities of firewood that would otherwise be burned for boiling, thereby lowering carbon emissions. Beyond improving access to potable water and reducing deforestation pressures, the project also aims to raise awareness about hygiene and support wider sustainable development goals.
2. Toliara PhotoVoltaic Plant, Madagascar
Located in Toliara seemingly where all the carbon credit action in Madagascar lives, this photovoltaic project was implemented by Akuo Energy Indian Ocean and the German non-profit company Atmosfair gGmbH. This solar energy carbon credit project aims to improve and stabilize energy supply in the region by introducing photovoltaic technology. It will do this by ensuring the hybridization of existing thermal installations that run on heavy fuel oil (HFO) and light fuel oil (LFO).
The Toliara PV Plant has installed photovoltaic panels to generate solar power and integrated it into the local grid. By displacing electricity production from HFO and LFO, the project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reliance on imported fossil fuels. Local communities will benefit from a more robust and sustainable energy system.
The project developers estimate the Toliara PV Plant will reduce carbon emissions by 10,000 tonnes annually.
1. Small-Scale Hydropower Project Sahanivotry in Antsirabé
As hydropower carbon credit projects go, this does indeed look like a small scale one, especially considering some of the mega-hydropower projects that exist in China and other places that are generating millions of carbon credits each year.
However, the Sahanivotry Hydro Power Plant, located 30 km of Antsirabé in the Antananarivo Province of Madagascar, is a run-of-river hydropower plant implemented by atmosfair gGmbH, and is notable for being one of the few hydropower carbon offset projects in Madagascar.
With a capacity of 16.5 MW, the plant generates an average of 80 GWh of electricity per year that connects to the regional grid operated by JIRAMA. As a renewable energy project, it is estimated to reduce 44,196 tCO2e annually by displacing electricity from fossil fuel sources on the grid. Overall, this small-scale hydropower initiative improves energy supply and access to clean electricity in Madagascar through sustainable infrastructure development.
So as you can no doubt tell if you’ve read this far, Madagascar isn’t a carbon market location that is filled to the brim with mega-projects spawning millions of carbon credits like some of the ones seen in other markets, such as the carbon credit projects in India or Thailand.
Which in a way is good, because it means the biggest players in the carbon market that some market observers criticise the motives of, have not saturated the market with mega-projects that might crowd out opportunities for local organisations.
So feel free to get in touch with Carbondash if you want to discuss carbon credit opportunities for your portfolio in Madagascar.
Investing in carbon credits is good for the planet, and there are plenty of business benefits of going green to make decarbonisation even more important for companies around the world.