Wertewandel is a new start-up company based in Bonn which offers benefits to people who purchase sustainable and fair products with a special incentive programme. Only companies which promote sustainable production, fair wages and respect for the environment can be part of this programme. This is why ForestFinance is one of the online-partners.
Each organic, sustainable and fair-traded product of a partner, purchased online or from the store, generates bonus points. Customers who take part in this programme can collect those points with fair purchases and later on cash or donate them. The Wertewandel incentive programme is based on the 2016/2017 project „Wertewandel“ supported by the European Social Fund.
BARCA (Brinkman y Asociados Reforestadores de Centro América) is our service provider in Panama. Just like ForestFinance, BARCA pays heed not only to the quality of the forests, but also to the social basic conditions for the workers. And this in turn is checked and validated continuously by independent organisations.
In some regions of Panama, BARCA plants new forests for ForestFinance and takes care of the existing ones in compliance with our forest management plans and monitored by our forest engineers. As BARCA is a service provider, the company has a lot of experience in handling the Panamanian flora and fauna. For that reason, BARCA is the ideal partner for us.
BARCA is part of the Canadian group Brinkman & Associates, one of the leading companies in reforestation, soil regeneration and eco systems. The forestry company has been on the market for 45 years, planted over 900 million trees and supervises half a million hectares land alone in Canada. The Central American subsidiary company BARCA was founded by Fred Schutter, Diego Dipieri and Ricardo Lujan. Our forestry partner operates in Panama, Costa Rica, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador. We decided to let another experienced service company manage part of our plantations to be able to use local synergies and boost our company’s growth especially in the Darien province.
Criteria as experience with native species, social and ecological sustainability, production of high quality timber and maximising use for forest owners played a major role in the selection process. BARCA is involved in the different communities where the company operates and invests part of its profit in infrastructure projects, schools and recreational facilities. Continuous training and education courses for the employees are part of BARCA’s key to success. Cooperation with the foremost scientists in tropical forestry guarantees access to technical improvements, which also benefits our clients.
For more information on BARCA please visit barcaforestal.com
ForestFinance has been cooperating with CATIE – the “Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza” – for several years. The mutual focus is on the development of highly productive cocoa agro-forest-systems.
The cocoa plants used on the whole planting area of ForestFinance belong to particularly pest-tolerant varieties, which were selected and reproduced at CATIE. Our cooperation partners try new planting schemes with cocoa and fast-growing, native tree species in a field trial on the ForestFinance areas in Bocas del Toro.
The direct cooperation takes place between ForestFinest Consulting cocoa expert Dr. Silke Elwers and Dr. Wilberth Phillips, director of the cocoa breeding programme, Rolando Cerda and Dr. Eduardo Somarriba of Proyecto Cacao Centroamerica (PCC).
Read more about CATIE
Not only is ForestFinance building forests, we also create habitats and protected areas for sloths and native wild species. ForestFinance actively supports the sloth conservation project by the Asociación Panamericana para la Conservación (APPC) in Panama.
Since its founding in 2005, the APPC has rescued more than 3,500 wild animals, returning more than 90 % of them to their natural habitat (about 1,000 of which were sloths). The APPC works with governmental and non-governmental organisations, including the Panamanian Ministry of Environment, the University of Panama, the Gamboa Rainforest Resort, the Smithsonian and many more.
You will find more information on the association and the further development of the sloth crowdfunding project in Panama at www.appcpanama.org
Christine Sommer-Guist is a freelance journalist specialising in environmental issues who completed her editorial traineeship at the Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND) (German Association for the Environment and Nature Conservation). Since 2008, she has been the author and editor of the ForestFinance customer magazine ForestFinest. She also copywrites our information brochures and is responsible for the printed products.
ForestFinance is part of the Alliance for Development and Climate, the new alliance of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to combine climate protection and sustainable development. Its members aim to become climate neutral by avoiding emissions where possible, further reducing emissions and offsetting remaining emissions. ForestFinance has been protecting valuable ecosystems such as mangrove forests in Panamafor years.
In February 2012, the representatives of several renowned Latin American institutions met in Costa Rica to found an organisation, Biodiversity Partnership Mesoamerica, aiming at the protection of species. Its members are going to initiate, develop and fund projects in the region.
In addition, the Partnership will serve as a networking platform for all private, nonprofit and scientific institutions that are committed to species protection. Among the founding members are ForestFinance, the research institute CATIE, the foundation Neotropica from Costa Rica and the international organisations Rainforest Alliance and RUTA, an initiative of Central American states and international development aid organisations supporting the sustainable development and poverty reduction in rural regions of Central America.
These institutions and other members of the initiative will start at least three projects each year focusing in particular on agro forestry, climate protection and nature reserves. They are open for any ideas that contribute to species protection and biodiversity.
Since the beginning of 2011, ForestFinance has been a member of the Business and Biodiversity Initiative “Biodiversity in Good Company”.
The initiative of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety and leading companies aims to implement the Convention on Biological Diversity. Nature suffers from an alarming, and quickly advancing, worldwide loss of biodiversity, species, and ecosystems, which is endangering the livelihood of mankind on a global scale. The initiative “Biodiversity in Good Company” considers the question of how to achieve the ideal combination of both using and protecting biodiversity to be one of the key questions of our future. In 2013 the project was honoured as an official project of the UN Decade of biological diversity.
As a member of the initiative, ForestFinance commits to supporting its three main goals:
Moreover, members have to set measurable goals, aiming at the conservation of biodiversity and to regularly analyse the effects of the company’s activities on biodiversity.
You will find further information on the initiative and the Leadership Declaration for members at www.business-and-biodiversity.de/en.
ForestFinance is a member of the Ciudad del Saber, a nonprofit foundation domiciled in Panama. The name of the foundation is translated with “City of Knowledge”. Since 1995, Ciudad del Saber offers a platform for a variety of projects, companies and their ideas to support collaboration, progress and to provide a centre for knowledge exchange. The projects mainly focus on topics of sustainability, innovation and ecology. Today Ciudad del Saber is one of the most innovating centres in the region, where dozens of organisations perform their activities, interacting and contributing to the full development of Panama and Latin America.
The work areas of the foundation include Information Technologies, Biosciences, Environmental Management, Human Development such as Business Management and Entrepreneurship. The campus of the Ciudad del Saber is a beautiful example of space transformation. What was once designed to lodge a military base is now a centre of knowledge, entrepreneurship and innovation. 296 acres of that former fort are taken up by the City of Knowledge. The rest of the old fort includes family residences, spaces for educational activities and biodiverse, public and open-space offices of various organisations. The office of ForestFinance Panama S.A. is also located on the Ciudad del Saber campus.
For more information see www.ciudaddelsaber.org
The German Forum for Sustainable Investments (Forum Nachhaltige Geldanlagen, FNG) is a professional association in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Since its foundation in 2001, the FNG has been able to acquire more than 120 members such as banks, insurance companies, investment associations, NGOs and interested individuals. Moreover, the FNG actively supports the development, transparency and quality of sustainable financial products. ForestFinance has been a member of Forum for Sustainable Investments since 2010.
The Forest Stewardship Council® – or FSC® – stands for global commitment to sustainable and socially responsible forestry. The FSC is an international non-governmental organisation that has set itself the goal of preserving forests through ecologic and sustainable management. For this purpose, the FSC has developed a worldwide valid seal for wood. ForestFinance is also committed to the FSC guidelines. ForestFinance is a voting member of the FSC working group Deutschland e.V. As the world's first German company, ForestFinance received the FSC Global Partner Award in 2010 in the “Financial Services” category. The award honours companies that are particularly involved in publicising the organisation.
The German Environmental Foundation was founded as a private foundation for environmental protection by 450 members in 1982 and is thus one of the oldest civic foundations in Germany. Today, 2,456 (as of February 2017) donators support practical environmental protection and education. The foundation is situated in Germersheim and is politically and economically independent. In addition to its voluntary environmental work, it awards the book prize “Reading for the Environment” (Lesen für die Umwelt) and a prize for journalists. ForestFinance founder and CEO Harry Assenmacher is a member of the Senate of the German Environmental Foundation.
Learn more about the German Environmental Foundation and how supporters can donate trees which are planted in Panama by ForestFinance.
ForestFinance is a member of the Senate of the Economy (Senat der Wirtschaft e.V.) – an association of entrepreneurs and executives from the worlds of business, science, society and culture who are committed to providing public policy-oriented policy advice, on both a municipal and international level.
The ongoing and trusting dialogue with political decision-makers in the parliaments and governments is now more necessary than ever before – the Senat der Wirtschaft would like to be involved with practical expertise in this discourse. The central task here is to bring politics, business and society together without a monolithic lobbying and to build up a global thinking network.
ForestFinance is a member of the Netzwerk FAMILIENBEWUSSTE UNTERNEHMEN Bonn/Rhein-Sieg, a regional network for family-friendly companies by the Kompetenzzentrum Frau und Beruf Bonn/Rhein-Sieg (“Women and work competence centre”) for small and medium-sized enterprises which support family-oriented personnel policies.
Many of our employees have gained immediate responsibilities with their job entry at ForestFinance. Due to flat hierarchies, transparent decision-making and strong participation, everyone has their own space for personal development and a better work-family life-balance. Also, gender equality is a big part of our corporate philosophy. More than 60 per cent of our employees are women, many of whom are holding leading positions.
ökofinanz-21 e.V. is a nationwide network of independent financial consultants. The initiative sees itself as a lobby for sustainability at the interface between product providers such as ForestFinance and people who want to invest their money in a sustainable and ecologically valuable way. The advisory initiative particularly emphasises the fact that provision and investments are about more than profitability and ratings. Investment products should also bring social and ecological added value for the future. This is also in line with our philosophy and we are happy to be promoting an important partner in ökofinanz-21.
Since October 2013, ForestFinance has been supporting the German Charta der Vielfalt (Diversity Charter), an initiative promoting diversity in companies and institutions. Appreciation and inclusion of diversity is the main idea of the charter: all employees, customers and partners, regardless of gender, nationality, ethnical roots, religion or beliefs, disabilities, age, sexual orientation and identity shall receive the same respect and appreciation. Since 2006, the Charta der Vielfalt supports diversity management in Germany with different projects. Patroness of the Charta der Vielfalt is the German chancellor Angela Merkel.
ForestFinance has been supporting the local football team Bonner SC for many years. The “lions” („die Löwen“) as the members of the club call themselves support many social projects in the Bonn region, which is why ForestFinance not only sponsors a local football team but team members who truly care about social responsibility.
“We’ll Never Play Alone!“ is the slogan the 1st. men’s team of the handball club FC St. Pauli chose for their team. ForestFinance has been supporting the club since 2017 and ForestFinance founder and CEO Harry Assemacher, a long-time member of the club, sees our involvement as a chance to set another example for intercultural and social cooperation. In 2017, the club from Hamburg travelled to Ruanda to host training workshops with the local Gorillas handball club, thus promoting support, open-mindedness and mutual understanding between different cultures. We are very proud of this special cooperation particularly since we share the same values and promote social activities together in different project locations.