Cochabamba Project: connecting investors with sustainable forestry
The Cochabamba Project was founded in 2009 as a community benefit society to raise long-term capital for the ArBolivia project, which helps families living in the Bolivian Amazon to develop sustainable alternatives to slash and burn farming.
The project has launched a new loan stock offer in order to boost funds to develop new activities. In order to continue supporting farmers and developing a community based forestry enterprise the organisation needs long term investment.
In order to facilitate the long term investment capital needed , David Vincent and John Fleetwood, two former independent financial advisers who has previously co-founded the Ethical Investment Association (EIA), formed a community benefit society in 2009.
Initially the Cochabamba Project only planned to support ArBolivia’s activities in the department of Cochabamba but has since expanded to support all four departments of the Bolivian tropics.
Speaking about his interest in the project, Vincent said, “I had an interest in forestry as an alternative form of investment, which is both tangible and is not linked to the stock market. I also had an interest in co-operatives as a fairer and more transparent structure – going back to Baywind and Haverigg II in 1998 – so this was a natural fusion.”
The society now has just under 500 members and has raised more than £3.5 million, which has been invested in ArBolivia. The society is a 50% partner in the forestry enterprise, with the farmers sharing the other 50%.
Vincent continued, “When I decided I could no longer have any faith in the conventional financial services industry I wanted to focus on creating tangible assets using a co-operative structure.”
This led him to contact Sicirec, a consultancy group in the Netherlands that was involved in designing the ArBolivia model and providing the initial funding. Vincent explained that since ArBolivia depends on well-established co-operative within its communities it seemed logical to set up The Cochabamba Project as a co-operative to partner it.
To learn more about the project and loan stock offer click here or contact David Vincent on 0114 236 8168.
Photo: Ivan Mlinaric via Flickr
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