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Hamburg-based co-operative replanting Latin American forests

"Waldmenschen" co-operative helps replant forests - highlights economic value

The Hamburg-based co-operative “Waldmenschen” has taken up the battle against the flooding of tropical rainforests and assarting methods that turn vast areas into monoculture plantations and pastureland. If no seeds are sown, such vegetation turns into deserts. The practice has affected more than half of all tropical rainforests over the past 50 years. Millions of people have lost their homes and animals are endangered and risk becoming extinct. The co-operative is now helping to replant forests and promotes them as sustainable investments. Social Impact gGmbH and former grant holders at Waldmenschen eG’s offices in Hamburg and Berlin help replant urgently needed forests in tropical countries, for instance, in Panama.

Protecting rainforests and economic value

Waldmenschen eG buys deserted pastures or monoculture plantations in Panama, which have been almost entirely deforested. The team turns the areas into woods creating habitats for plants, animals and human beings. Tropical wood is also produced and the sales benefit members of the co-operative. Arne Knöchel, 36, a Social Impact grant holder and co-founder of Waldmenschen, said: “We have put the first ever economic value on protecting the rainforest.” Yet the project is not limited to Panama and is set to expand to other countries in Latin America.

Profits fund other social projects

Commenting on the recent reforestation of 1,000 square metres of forest, Norbert Kunz, Managing Director of Social Impact, said: “We are proud of the direct impact in Latin America and our efforts to improve the global climate.” Social Impact will decide whether to put the profits towards other social projects or to donate the money to reforestation efforts and more new woods. This would be a small, but important towards cleansing and protecting Earth.

Sources and further information:

About Social Impact

For over 20 years, Social Impact has developed products and services that help secure future viability and social equity. Social Impact also supports social start-ups that are keen to solve social challenges with grants for eight months of consultancy, coaching, workshops and co-working places. Social Impact also offers foundation programs for migrants, young unemployed people and the disabled. Since 2011, Social Impact GmbH, a non-profit organization, has developed labs offering start-up programmes in Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Leipzig, Duisburg, Stuttgart and Potsdam. The labs also provide scope for co-working, networking and events. More information can be found on:

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