At the World Forestry Congress in Durban on 9th September 2015, Mads Asprem, CEO of Green Resources gave a keynote speech entitled ‘Financial innovations required to increase global afforestation’ at the special session on ‘Innovation and Investment Forum’.
The summary points of the presentation were:
1. Many recent studies show the need to significantly expand the global plantation forests, including reports by Nova Institute and WWF’s Forest for a Living Planet. Land availability means that Africa has to be part of any meaningful expansion of the world’s plantation forest areas.
2. African afforestation creates more positive social and economic impact than establishing forests anywhere else in the world. GRL believes the landscape model will be the only successful approach to afforestation in Africa.
3. Private companies are the locomotives in African reforestation:
i) Accounting for all large scale reforestation, while Government plantations are shrinking
ii) Developing wood processing facilities producing environmentally friendly quality products and benefiting 1000s of small forest owners supplying the new factories
4. It is the private sector that does ‘proper’ forestry in Africa. Private companies have established and own all African FSC certified plantation forest outside of South Africa.
5. However, the 100,000 ha plantations established since 2000 is a fraction of what is needed. Planting peaked in 2011 and is smaller than the loss of Government plantations during the same period.
6. Development banks can play a critical role in funding for private forestry companies. Equity and 15-20 years financing needs to be made available if large scale planting is to take place.
7. It is important for donors to recognise this and shift significant grant support towards building infrastructure for private sector forestry.
8. Carbon finance should focus on practical and implementable projects that are benefiting the environment and local people. Successful REDD+ projects (ex rainforests) must include afforestation.
9. No. of trees (FSC certified) planted per year should be a key impact matrix for donors and lenders.
Mads Asprem, CEO
Green Resources AS