A better bottom line for community forest enterprises

Rural families and communities control about a third of forests in developing countries[i], and many of them are engaged in forest-based enterprises (e.g., family businesses, associations, cooperatives).  These enterprises manage forests and are important partners in fighting climate change.  They also sell a variety of forest products and services.  However, these enterprises are often missing a critical feature: profit.  We’ve found a way to help them improve their bottom line, and we want to share it with you.

Now I am excited to share Green Value with you through our new multilingual website www.green-value.org. On the site you’ll find a variety of resources, including a short video, an updated version of the Green Value User’s Guide and worksheets for monitoring and analyzing costs and income, and a Green Value Facilitator’s Kit for trainings. The materials are available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.Green Value is a program that I and Dr. Thomas Holmes of the US Forest Service designed to help family and community forest enterprises and their collaborators monitor and analyze costs and income.  Our aim is to help empower these enterprises to make better decisions and be financially viable in the long-term. We have been training people across the Amazon region in Green Value since 2012.

What impact is Green Value having?  For many initiatives, using Green Value provides the first accurate picture of their expenses and income.  A great example comes from Nelly Arroyo, who runs a family bamboo enterprise with her husband in Ecuador.  When Nelly first analyzed her bamboo business in a Green Value workshop in 2014, she was surprised at how big its labor and transport costs were.  When Nelly and her husband started a new bamboo business the following year, they bought equipment to reduce labor costs and, instead of retrieving bamboo from suppliers, had it delivered.  Nelly recently shared with us that she continues to use Green Value to monitor costs for bamboo poles, and the insights gained from it have helped increase profitability by 43%.

By Shoana Humphries, Ph.D. Scientist on March 1, 2017. Read more at Earth Innovation Institute.

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