Crédit Agricole invests in agroforestry planting projects in Rwanda and India
It was through the Livelihoods Carbon Funds, in which the Crédit Agricole Group invests, that these large-scale projects were made possible: the planting of 3.7 million trees, including 300,000 fruit trees, on the hilly slopes of Rwanda, in East Africa, and of 3,000 hectares of silk trees in the states of Jharkhand and West Bengal, in East India. These projects allow several thousands of farmers to earn a living and feed local populations. A reportage in images, from the heart of the plantations.
What are the Livelihoods funds?
The impact investment Livelihoods funds bring together a coalition of public and private actors who join forces to reconcile humans with nature.
Livelihoods currently operates three impact investment funds in which 13 large companies have invested: the Crédit Agricole Group represented by Crédit Agricole S.A. and Crédit Agricole CIB, Crédit Agricole Nord Midi-Pyrénées, Danone, Schneider Electric, Michelin, Hermès, SAP, Groupe Caisse des Dépôts, La Poste, Voyageurs du Monde, Mars Incorporated, Veolia, Firmenich and Eurofins. Investors in the Livelihoods funds share their skills, their business experience and their risks in order to implement effective solutions for rural communities in developing countries, while making their activities more sustainable.
25% of the world’s population relies directly on forest ecosystems for their livelihoods. And yet, according to WWF, 6.5 million hectares of natural forests disappear each year, the equivalent of 17 football fields per minute. The Livelihoods Carbon Funds leverage the carbon economy to finance large-scale ecosystem restoration, agroforestry and rural energy projects aimed at improving improve food security for rural communities and increase farmers’ revenue.
Planting trees in Rwanda and sequestering 2.2 million tonnes of CO2 in 20 years.
Livelihoods has chosen to invest in a large-scale agroforestry and fruit tree planting project in the districts of Rulindo (Northern Province) and Bugesera (Eastern Province of Rwanda). The project will allow for the planting of 3.7 million trees and the sequestering of more than 2.2 million tonnes of CO2 over a period of twenty years.
Rwanda is a small country of 26,338 km2 that is facing major demographic pressure (12.3 million inhabitants), which has degraded natural ecosystems and farmland, a problem further exacerbated by the effects of climate change. For the past 15 years, however, the country has been seeing greater environmental, social and economic stability. By investing in a wide range of sectors, including science, technology and environmental protection, Rwanda aims to provide its own population with a new set of market opportunities. 82% of its population lives in rural areas and relies on farming to survive.
The social, environmental and economic impacts of this project
The project will involve 30,000 farmers in the planting of trees while training them in sustainable agriculture to help them restore their land, improve soil fertility and develop new sources of revenue. The Livelihoods model will increase crop yield and food production, notably by the planting of 300,000 fruit trees (mainly mango and avocado trees) for household consumption as well as for marketing purposes. The farmers involved in the project will also be provided with seedlings of high-value trees to produce timber and firewood, which they can use to warm their houses or sell to local markets.
To learn more about the project: https://livelihoods.eu/portfolio/rwanda-agroforestry-at-scale-for-soil-water-and-food/
The agroforestry project in Rwanda
Photo credit: Livelihoods Funds
In India, the story of a tiny silkworm helping to bring rural communities out of poverty
In the states of Jharkhand and West Bengal (East India), the Livelihoods Carbon Fund 2 (created in 2017) is launching a large-scale agroforestry and silk tree planting project to combine reforestation, the protection of biodiversity and sustainable revenue for thousands of tribal communities (Adivasi).
The project draws on the successful initiative of a reputed Indian NGO, PRADAN, which has transformed the Tasar sericulture value chain over the past thirty years. The production of Tasar silk involves rearing silkworms on forest trees to produce cocoons, whose silk yarn is then extracted to produce silk fabric.
Overall, the project will sequester 1.4 million tonnes of CO2 over a period of 20 years, providing carbon offsets with strong environmental, economic, and social benefits to Livelihoods investors and partner companies.
The project will also contribute to restoring soil health and protecting water resources.
Guaranteed revenue for 4,000 households and 5,000 jobs created
The Livelihoods-Arjuna project will finance the planting of 3,000 hectares of Tasar silk trees on privately owned, uncultivated land in villages, generating revenue for 4,000 rural households headed by women. The project will also allow for biodiversity protection in over 3,600 additional forest hectares and will help 1,200 households to rear silkworms in host trees. Downstream, the project will create more than 5,000 jobs for Adivasi inhabitants who will be involved at every step of Tasar silk value chain: from silkworm rearing to artisanal weaving, as well as spinning, milling and wheeling activities.
To learn more about the project: https://livelihoods.eu/portfolio/india-agroforestry-silk-tree-plantation-to-bring-marginalized-communities-out-of-poverty/
Tasar Sericulture in India
Photo credit: PRADAN, India
|Crédit Agricole Group’s commitment to maintaining biodiversity and supporting a fair transition.|
Crédit Agricole is one of the major players financing the energy transition and the transition towards a low-carbon economy.
To date, Crédit Agricole S.A. and Crédit Agricole CIB have invested more than €12 million in the Livelihoods Carbon Funds. In 2020, the Livelihoods Carbon Funds supported a total of 15 large-scale projects for the restoration of natural ecosystems, including mangroves, rural energy and agroforestry in Asia, Africa and Latin America. By investing in the Livelihoods Carbon Funds, the Group offsets a portion of its carbon footprint while helping to improve the living conditions of some of the most vulnerable communities in the world and fighting climate change.
Crédit Agricole S.A. has in this way offset 51,643 tonnes of CO2 (energy- and transport-related emissions across the scope of UES Crédit Agricole S.A., Amundi, CA Italia and Crédit Agricole CIB).
In addition to the Livelihoods Carbon Fund, Crédit Agricole S.A. supports programmes and projects that help to maintain biodiversity and support a fair transition.
Through a framework agreement with the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle (MNHN), Crédit Agricole S.A. will continue to support the museum’s research programme focusing on biodiversity in agriculture and the renovation of MNHN sites essential to the study and conservation of biodiversity, as part of joint volunteering actions with other Regional Banks and the Fondation Crédit Agricole Pays de France.
Forests are the second most important carbon sink after oceans and an essential component of biodiversity. The leading forest insurer in France, Crédit Agricole Assurances has since 2019 been conducting a programme that links savings or insurance policy subscriptions to tree planting, in partnership with Reforest’Action, and since 2018 has been offsetting its carbon emissions through a partnership with the “Plantons pour l’Avenir” endowment fund. To date, over 1.2 million trees have been replanted through these two partnerships.
In Switzerland, the CA Indosuez Wealth Management Foundation supports actions that have an impact on local communities through environmental projects that involve reforestation, agroforestry, and water management.
These different, complementary approaches taken throughout the Group pool efforts to achieve the carbon neutrality required by the Paris Agreement.