Over 85% of East Africa’s population do not have access to the electricity grid, so they use charcoal as their main source of cooking fuel. Together with 5% annual population growth in the region, deforestation is a major driver of environmental degradation and global warming.
Lying on the equator, East Africa is one of the most fertile places in the world, benefitting from intense sun and two rainy seasons each year. Despite this, the region does not have its own sustainable timber resource and imports the majority of its high value timber products.
The New Forests Company (NFC) was inspired by these challenges to create a commercially viable, sustainable forestry company that maximizes our social, environmental and economic impacts while making a competitive return for our shareholders. That way we can access the private capital that is required to address these challenges at scale and in perpetuity.
Our business could not be successful without a strong commitment to social and economic development, environmental stewardship and keen business acumen. If any of these three pillars falter, the other two are also weakened and the whole company suffers. While many traditionally view these three as conflicting, we find they are increasingly symbiotic.
We create social and economic impacts in the communities neighbouring our forests so that they benefit from our existence as a large landholding investment and help us mitigate risks like fire, theft, and grazing.
It is expensive and increasingly difficult to acquire new land. Therefore, we have to take good care of the land we currently manage so that we can continue to grow trees productively on the same land for many decades to come.
Finally, in order to be truly sustainable, we need to be profitable, commercially savvy and make decisions that also serve the financial interests of the company.
The New Forests Company is redefining the role of companies as drivers of economic and social development in 21st century Africa through a Shared Value business model that we created to redistribute the value generated across our broad spectrum of stakeholders as well as our patient, committed shareholder.
The New Forests Company is very proud of our impact to date and excited about how this will continue to grow and improve in the future.
- created 1 331 jobs, the majority of which are rural
- Committed to paying above market wages for unskilled labour
- Invested over $9 million in our strategic community development programme impacting over 465 000 people
- Distributed 6.5 million tree seedlings to 5,000 neighbouring farmers
- Built 3 high schools and 30 double classroom blocks and dormitories
- Built 31 clean water points
- Built 9 health centres or doctors accommodation
- Planted over 38 million trees to date, making us the second largest private tree planter in the region
- Manage over 13,500 ha of conservation land
- Contributed a net reduction in greenhouse gasses of over 325,000 tons of CO2 emissions last financial year.
- Certified the majority of our plantations through the Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC™) including annual audits for international best practices of responsible forestry
- Became the largest regional producer of electricity transmission poles, contributing to an estimated 53,000 kilometres of electricity grid
- Contribute tens of millions in import substitution and forex savings each year
- Currently paying $2-3 million in taxes annually contributing to the financial sustainability of East African governments
- Spent $1.7 million on rural road construction and maintenance to date
- Founding member of Forestry East Africa industry association
- Built 3 transmission pole treatment plans and 2 sawmills, diversifying the economies into rural manufacturing
- Committed to the highest ethical standards and anti-corruption