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Story Publication logo August 2, 2022

What Carbon Credit Contracts Say That Divide Indigenous Communities of Vaupés (Spanish)


a man carries wood

A Colombian company that has appeared in several Amazonian Indigenous communities seeks to...


This story excerpt was translated from Spanish. To read the original story in full, visit Mongabay. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website here. Our website is available in English, Spanish, bahasa Indonesia, French, and Portuguese.

by Centro Latinoamericano de Investigación Periodística (CLIP), La Liga Contra el Silencio, Mongabay Latam, Rutas del Conflicto on 2 August 2022

Image by Rutas del Conflicto. Colombia, 2022.
  • The Colombian company Waldrettung, which claims to be a subsidiary of an unregistered German firm, has proposed carbon credit contracts to eight large indigenous reserves in the Colombian Amazon.
  • The negotiations, in at least two cases, have created tensions within the communities. After a previous publication, the firm involved agreed to share the content of the contracts and provided additional information that allows us to expand and clarify their projects in this new report, especially the one they are promoting in the Gran Resguardo del Vaupés.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This report was originally published on May 19, 2022. This new version, republished on August 2, 2022, contains additional information provided by the company Waldrettung that allows a more detailed contrast of the facts narrated in this story and includes new findings made by the journalists of this alliance.

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Indigenous leaders and inhabitants of the department of Vaupés tell that, at the end of 2019, employees of the company Waldrettung S.A.S., which presents itself as the Colombian subsidiary of a German multinational dedicated to projects for the sale of carbon credits, gathered dozens of captains from several communities of the Gran Resguardo of that department, the second largest resguardo in the country, in the coliseum of Mitú.

Podcast (Spanish): An easy guide to understanding the carbon credit business

Podcast (Spanish): Interview with Helmuth Gallego, legal representative of Waldrattung

In that assembly, which took place on November 25, 2019, they began to discuss the conditions of the contract that had been signed by the company and the legal representative of the resguardo 10 months earlier, on January 17, 2019, even before the company existed under the name Waldrettung or Waldrättung, to implement the 30-year carbon market project that would allow them to receive income in that period in exchange for preserving the Amazon rainforest in their Indigenous territory. The assembly of the indigenous resguardo's major government ended up approving and ratifying the project.

Indigenous communities on the Vaupés river. Image by Juan Carlos Contreras/Mongabay Latam. Colombia, 2022.

The Tubay hill in Mitú is inhabited by 17 Indigenous associations that make up the Great Resguardo of Vaupés. Image by Juan Carlos Contreras/Mongabay Latam. Colombia, 2022.

The Cmari community travels the rivers of the Gran Resguardo del Vaupés. Image by Juan Carlos Contreras/Mongabay Latam. Colombia, 2022.

The Nukak community lives in extreme poverty in Guaviare. Image by Juan Carlos Contreras/Mongabay Latam. Colombia, 2022.

The Puerta del Orion forest, in Guaviare, is part of the Nukak community's reserve. Image by Juan Carlos Contreras/Mongabay Latam. Colombia, 2022.