Livelihoods Fund Plant Trees to Fight Climate Change

The Livelihoods Fund is a carbon investment account that runs as a financial company, with the very specific aim to create value for rural communities and contribute to their food security through the restoration of their local environment. In simple words, this social innovation fund plants trees, which fights climate change and poverty.  The Fund is not a charity; it is supported by private sector players who, in exchange for their commitment, expect a return in the form of high-quality carbon credits. The Fund adheres to principles set out in its Charter, which defines its vision, values and guidelines, and crucially, defines the criteria for investment. All parties who are part of Livelihoods Fund, its venture and network, must sign and respect the Charter and its tenets.

The Fund believes a healthy environment provides local communities with food, shelter, energy and economic opportunities, while a dysfunctional ecosystem drastically reduces and degrades local populations, creating poverty and all the things that accompany it such as malnutrition and unwanted emigration. Therefore, its mission is to help local communities restore and maintain a nourished, protected and functional social innovation habitat, for the sake of environmental quality and to fight against climate changes.

SAP, the German multinational software company, is joining with the Fund’s mission, investing EUR 3 million. It is not the only business to invest. Since 2011, other large corporations from other sectors have also joined, including Schneider Electric, Credit Agricole, Hermès International, Voyageurs du Monde, La Poste Group and CDC Climat. The Fund size is now close to Euros 30 million. Peter Graf, SAP’s chief sustainability officer, says, “This investment supports our vision of helping the world run better by improving people lives and confirms our sustainability commitment of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 per cent.”

SAP’s partnership with the Livelihoods Fund will not only purchase carbon credits and offset emissions, but will also produce carbon credits. This provides affordable social innovation and partnership-oriented ways to reduce SAP’s emissions that will once again underline its leadership in the sustainability space.

The Livelihoods Fund has so far invested in several large-scale projects in Africa and Asia. A good example is the restoration of 10,000 hectares of mangroves by 450 villages in Senegal, reconstituting their food ecosystem of fish breeding and crop protection. Another is a plantation of 6,000 hectares of agroforestry with 20,000 small farmers in India, which will provide a mix of fruits, timber and cash crops under shade. While improving the livelihoods of impoverished people, these two projects will also take 1.5 million tons of CO2 over 20 years. Company’s like SAP who are keen to reduce their carbon footprint while contributing to create social and environmental value through a social innovation business models will bring a lot to the Livelihoods investment approach.

Photo Credit: Photozou