Many responsible companies offer more than just a sustainable approach to how to grow and cultivate their production processes. Some offer community support to local cities with ample benefits to those involved in taking care of and maintaining the forests or plantations. Social sustainability can be defined as a system where fairness and opportunity to resources should be achieved, as well as social services with political accountability and participation.
The social aspect of a forestry investment scheme is part of the environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors that an investor and the responsible company should consider when doing business.
A few examples of the social factors that are part of the ESG factors are:
- Land rights (use of land and acquisitions)
- Relationship with local communities
- Health and safety and labour standards
- Employee relations and working conditions
The social factor can encompass providing social well-being to local communities, which might interest you when investing in your next sustainable foresty scheme. It feels good to help out while investing your money! We made sure to highlight some ways that a sustainable forestry scheme can provide benefits on a social scale.
Providing Jobs to Local Communities
Illegal logging usually occurs from locals trying to gain an income. This can happen in rainforest and forest regions. Some forestry investment companies hire local people to cultivate and take care of the forests or plantations. Often times, the pay is even better than the local average, so it offers a great way to enrich impoverished areas. Training can also be provided to educate the local population on ethical, sustainable approaches to growing products. Land can also sometimes provided for families to grow their own food, further strengthing the well-being of the local community.
Sometimes, local communities in rural regions are offered housing to accommodate employees by forestry companies. Other companies may offer payment to help with finding better accommodation so that families can stay together. This is just another example of how a sustainable forestry project offers benefits and enriches a local community.
Local communities can be enriched by education programmes offered by sustainable forestry projects. This can include direct programs in schools, such as training programs, internships or general events for the public to learn about sustainable approaches to cultivating certain forests. It really depends on the company at hand and how they decide to “give” to the local community.
Intercropping and Pesticide Minimisation
Using minimal pesticides and intercropping are just a few green methods that benefit the local community (and even the environment). Unhealthy chemicals used on plants expose workers and health could be damaged in the long-term. Intercropping is when crops are planted between trees to help add protection while also providing revenue and food for local workers. This ethical practise is globally used, and it is an investor’s responsibility to find out the sustainable approach that a forestry project utilises in practice.
Charities come in all shapes and sizes, and many sustainable projects offer various charity support to local communities or elsewhere. This can range from planting trees for future generations or offering monetary support to villages. Donations can also be made to environmental groups to support a healthy climate. It’s always nice to see the company be involved on a larger-scale by giving back. This might be valuable to some investors when they are looking to make a bigger impact than just gaining a return on investments.
Safe Labor Working Standards
Working in forests can be dangerous when health and safety standards are not properly put into practice. It is important that there are safe working conditions so that everything runs smoothly. Having a safe workplace can boost the workers’ morale and productivity while having unsafe working conditions can really cause bad press. It can be a good factor to consider when choosing a new sustainable forestry scheme to invest in.
These are just some ways that sustainable forestry could offer social support to local communities or on a global scale. If you are interested in learning more about ESG factors, read our article on Responsible Factors to Consider When Investing in Forestry.
Are you interested in learning more about investing in agribusiness schemes? We got you covered. Sign up to our newsletter and get all of our latest features sent straight to your inbox. Subscribe Here