Organisation: Nature Connect India Pvt. Ltd.  

Cycle: 2018 International

Type: Climate adaptation

Sector: Land use

Status: Shortlisted

Stage: In Action

 

Requested input: Nature Connect India needs financial capital to the tune of USD 150,000 to scale up the operations of existing supply chains and to build a team of professionals who will manage the operations from business perspective. They need funding for conducting resource assessments of target species at selected locations, carry out feasibility study of setting up certified supply chain and establish additional processing facilities at the locations where resource availability and community participation has been ensured. The money will be spent on manpower, equipment processing facilities, capacity building and certification.  

Nature Connect India’s business model creates economically viable and scalable value chains from standing forests for the global market. The Western Ghats of India are a global biodiversity hotspot. Via a strategy of incentive-based conservation agreements the local communities will reduce deforestation and scale up a biodiversity-based enterprise. The project will address a perception gap about forests that has hindered long term private investment in forests and biodiversity conservation by showcasing a strong business case for forest and biodiversity conservation at broader level. With this background, the initiative has following goal: To make forest conservation socially acceptable, economically viable and ecologically sustainable.

For addressing the issue of deforestation which is the main contributor climate change and loss of biodiversity in this region, Nature Connect India will be using a strategy of incentive-based conservation agreements, wherein the communities will get direct and indirect incentives for keeping the forests standing. There still exist healthy forests owned by local communities which are rich in economically important medicinal plants. Through this intervention, they will be setting up certified value chains for selected medicinal plants for which there is a demand that has been established and potential for growth is significant. The conservation agreements will be signed for a minimum period of 10 years. During this duration, certified value chains will be established which will provide the communities additional revenues and at the same time create a business case. Our approach to achieve goals and objectives is to set up supply chain driven conservation agreements for creating biodiversity friendly value chains and which in turn will contribute to forest conservation at large. In other words, Nature Connect India will be setting up FAIRWILD certified supply chains in biodiversity rich forests where the target species is abundantly available and setting up supply chain, making value addition and establishing a business case are achievable tasks within span of two years.

Any business idea is appreciated when it is demonstrated successfully. However, it can attract private investment only when the business has unique value proposition and achieved scale. This project definitely has value proposition as Nature Connect India is the only FAIRWILD certified operation in entire South Asia. Moreover, they have been successful in increasing the sales volumes over the last 3 years. Lastly, this year they have explored the entire value chain and exported a pilot shipment to UK. 

Globally some 1.4 billion people still depend on forests for livelihoods, however all the success stories of business have come into being by replacing forests by plantations of commodities such as palm, coffee and cashew. This is first such case where standing and biodiversity rich forests are fundamental to truly sustainable and scalable business. Climate change mitigation through carbon sequestration is by product of this intervention.