ArBolivia is a unique social enterprise improving livelihoods, reducing deforestation & combatting climate change in the Bolivian Amazon
by David_Vincent in
Since 2007 ArBolivia has invested over £5m in establishing a new partnership model of plantation forestry, in which timber profits are divided equally between investors and farmers. Farmers also receive small but regular payments for looking after the trees. These are vital for basic food security, and intercropping with a wide range of cash crops, including coffee, cacao, and citrus fruits, provides an additional short-term income for farmers. Instead of the typical “green deserts” of identikit non-indigenous trees normally planted in commercial forestry, ArBolivia is growing 12 different species of native hardwood trees. The 1400 hectares of plantation trees planted absorb high volumes of carbon dioxide and ArBolivia’s contribution to reducing carbon emissions has been certified by the Gold Standard Foundation and Plan Vivo.
In fact, Small World Consulting has confirmed that investing in ArBolivia is one of the most cost effective ways for individuals to tackle climate change.
In the UK, investors can support ArBolivia through the Cochabamba Project Ltd., a not for profit society registered with the Financial Conduct Authority. Since 2009 the society's 500 members have contributed around £4m to the development of ArBolivia. This has taken ArBolivia from a start up project to a proven social enterprise generating substantial timber revenues. We are making a profound impact by pioneering a new model of plantation forestry that places farmer welfare and biodiversity at its heart. We have come a long way but we need your help to complete what we’ve started and to prove our business model, so that it can be replicated elsewhere. Specifically, we need around £1 million over the next few years.
Hardwood timber takes a long time to grow, so we need money to pay for the very substantial infrastructure including a staff of 40 technicians, forestry experts and support staff. Fortunately we don’t have to wait 25-35 years for all the trees to mature. We are already earning some revenues from the initial ‘thinnings’ – weaker trees that are removed to allow the best trees to reach their optimum value. We are also developing other social enterprises that generate profit in the short term. Together, these should more than cover our costs in 4 -6 years time, but until then we need additional finance to pay farmers and keep ArBolivia running.
Our team of professional foresters, technicians and support staff implements a comprehensive, ongoing programme of capacity building, training and practical support for over 1,000 families. This helps them to improve soil fertility & biodiversity, manage the effects of climate change and develop supply chains for their produce.
Contributions up to £250 will be treated as a donation but above that we are offering shares in the society, which means you have the opportunity to get your money back and to earn up to 5% a year on your investment (accrued and not guaranteed). For donations, we are offering a range of incentives related to the number of trees that will be maintained. For example, £25.00 will help a family maintain 10 trees over this period.
ArBolivia currently costs around £500,000 a year and supports around 1,000 families so £500 will support an entire family for a whole year, £2,500 will support an entire family right through to "break even" and £25,000 will support a whole community (around 50 families) for a year.
This is an exciting and vital stage in ArBolivia's development. With your support, we have the opportunity to establish a proven template for international co-operative enterprise, the protection of our tropical forests and the sustainable development of its vulnerable communities. Why not join us?
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David Vincent and John Fleetwood are both former financial advisers who have been pioneers in the field of socially responsible investment for many years. The two founded The Ethical Investment Association, the UK's only trade body for financial advisers specialising in SRI and have many years of experience in forestry investment and community shares. Daniel Brewer, founder of Resonance, one of the UKs foremost business advisers for social enterprise, acts as a non-executive director. The society also has a number of special advisers, including Mike Berners Lee (Small World Consulting), and two Bolivian nationals, Jorge Camacho (Bolivia's Fruit) and Eduardo Zaballos (Agricultural Supply Chain Consultant)
The society also controls the project management company established in 2007 in Bolivia by Anko Stilma, a Dutch national and professional forester, with a degree from Wageningen University (MD), Jorge Goitia (Head Forester,) Giovanna Verduguez (Finance Director) and Jose Bailly (Head of Communications). All four were previously part of an FAO funded pilot project headed by Anko from 2002- 07. There are 42 staff in total in Bolivia including 17 field professional field agents.
To discuss any matters in person call David Vincent on 07940 834 899
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