Valuing Trees in Economic Development

  • Partners Involved: Trees, Kinomé, corporates, local communities
  • Type of Partnership: Win-Win for Public and Planet
  • Partnership Models: Nourisher, Moneymaker

For the public, forests and trees make vital contributions: supporting livelihoods, providing clean air and water, preserving biodiversity and responding to climate change. In return, the acknowledgment of such benefits accelerates and increases the sustainable management of forests and reforestation.

According to the Forestry Department of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 129 million ha of forest (approximately the size of South Africa) have been lost between 1990 and 2015. Deforestation—which is mostly caused by land conversion into agriculture and livestock areas—leads to biodiversity loss, land degradation, soil erosion and the release of carbon into the atmosphere. It is responsible for 20% of the world CO2 emissions, and threatens the livelihoods of numerous communities as more than 1 billion people worldwide rely on forests as a source of food, medicine and fuel. Forests and trees may provide around 20 percent of income for rural households in developing countries.

Social entrepreneur Nicolas Métro believes that assigning an economic value to the services provided by trees will accelerate reforestation. He founded Kinomé in 2015, to advise companies, institutions and NGOs, on how to benefit most from forests. Identifying the products and services trees can provide to humans, demonstrates how intentional tree planting offers long-term economic opportunities for communities while addressing human problems, such as food security, access to clean water, and biodiversity preservation.

Kinomé also helps companies like food giant Danone, which incorporated a tree gum derived from a native tree in sub-Saharan Africa into their yogurt line—a more nutritious alternative to the starch compound Danone previously used. The trees provided recurring revenues for local women and prevented the trees from being cut down.

SDGs Targeted: SDG 1 No Poverty, SDG 2 Zero Hunger, SDG 6 Clean Water and Sanitation, SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities, SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production, SDG 13 Climate Action, SDG 15 Life on Land.

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