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An investment you can touch beats dealing with pure numbers



Investments can sometimes seem pretty remote from real life. If we’re not careful, we can regress into dealing with pure numbers.

Several investment websites seem to talk about companies as if they were machines for making money, focusing on PEs, ROCE, EPS and Capex with no mention anywhere about what the company actually does. This is part of the problem with financial systems.

The investor has become disconnected from what they are investing in. Most investments are really trades with holding periods measured in months, and little motivation to support the company beyond a desire to make money.

In 2012, the Cochabamba Project invited a party of investors to the Bolivian rainforest to show them what their money was going towards.

We set up the Cochabamba Project to fund something very tangible – a project that was growing over 1m native hardwood trees as part of a climate-smart agriculture programme. In doing so, it benefits 1,000 poor farmers and their families, demonstrates a new model of sustainable forestry management and offers financial returns that are clearly related to a physical asset.

We now have around 500 investors who share our vision. As part of our bid to reconnect investors with their money, we offer to take them to see what their money is doing.

In 2012, we took a party of nine investors to the Bolivian rainforest to see the project in action. We saw lots of trees, met ex-miners, visited indigenous communities, spoke with farmers and experienced the physical hardships that they face every day.

Investors came back brimming with enthusiasm. Several of them increased their investment and all have become real advocates for the project.

Retired forestry manager Steve Manchee was one of the party of investors. He is typical when he says, “My most abiding memory of this wonderful trip was of hope for the future.

The Wildlife Conservation Society says that Madidi national park is one of the most biologically diverse regions on the planet, home to around 11% of the world's bird species, more than 200 species of mammals, 300 types of fish and 12,000 different plants.

We are repeating the trip in September 2014, this time visiting the northern part of the project next to the fabulous Madidi national park. As well as existing investors, we are inviting anyone to join us to see, listen and touch an investment that is so much more than numbers.

John Fleetwood is a director of the Cochabamba Project. For more details on how to invest or visit the project, see or call David Vincent on 0114 236 8168. 

In accordance with the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, Blue & Green Communications Limited does not provide regulated investment services of any kind, and is not authorised to do so. Nothing in this article and all parts herein constitute or should be deemed to constitute advice, recommendation, or invitation or inducement to buy, sell, subscribe for or underwrite any investment of any kind. Any specific investment-related queries or concerns should be directed to a fully qualified financial adviser.

Further reading:

ArBolivia: a co-operative investment in the Amazon rainforest

The nature of investing

Climate change and deforestation increasing forest fire risk in Amazon

Financial value of carbon in world’s forests may be underestimated by £481bn

Global Forest Watch: Deforestation tool launched ‘to change how businesses manage forests’

John Fleetwood is the founder of Ethical Money and has 26 years' experience in financial services, 13 of which was as an ethical specialist IFA. He founded the Ethical Investment Association, the industry body for ethical IFAs. John has provided institutional ethical investment research since 2002, and has developed ethical portfolio management services in conjunction with specialist asset managers. He has also helped to raise over £3.5m for the Cochabamba Project, a groundbreaking reforestation investment in Bolivia.


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