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Trees & the Private Sector: Danone

Danone is a large French agribusiness that sells dairy, water and other food products. Bernard Giraud, VP for Sustainability and Shared Value Creation at Danone, attended the Investment Forum on Mobilizing Private Investment in Trees and Landscape Restoration in Africa to scout out good project ideas and share his corporate experience.

Here he discusses the company's past ecosystem restoration efforts in Senegal and India and the future launch of a mutual fund (“Livelihoods Fund”) based on carbon offset revenue generated by agroforestry and landscape restoration projects.

So far, Danone has invested in restoration/ agroforestry projects in Senegal (mangrove restoration which increases fish populations and protects rice paddies from saltwater), the Democratic Republic of Congo (manioc and acacia trees for charcoal) and India (mangrove in the Sundarbans as a shield against extreme weather + agrofrestry in Araku). Nicely produced 5mn videos documenting each of these efforts and their positive impact on communities are listed below.

In Senegal for example, Danone invested 3 million euros to plant 100 million trees, hiring the help of local communities. It worked in partnership with an NGO called Oceanium and IUCN. “The advantage of private investment is to shift the scale of such projects,” said Bernard Giraud at the Forum. “The communities had already planted 6 million trees in 5 years and had demonstrated that mangrove restoration would work there. We were able to bring that to a larger scale. Given the costs of registering carbon projects, scale is key.”

Incidentally. the methodology developed in the course of this project has just been recognized under the UN climate change convention’s Kyoto Protocol, reports IUCN:

This will provide a significant boost to restoration efforts for mangrove forests, which grow in tropical and sub-tropical coastal regions and provide a wide range of biological services such as nurseries for juvenile fish and a source of timber for local populations.

“The fact that this new methodology is now part of the Clean Development Mechanism should allow us to achieve similar results for other types of coastal and marine ecosystems,” says Carl Gustaf Lundin, Director of the IUCN Global Marine and Polar Programme. “Adopting new policies and financing mechanisms for protection and management of our oceans should be at the heart of nature-based solutions to climate change.”

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