National Co+op Grocers' Co+op Forest Program Funds Farmer-led Climate Change Mitigation Initiatives in Peru

Jan 09, 2019

National Co+op Grocers continues to demonstrate leadership on mitigating climate change with its 2018 investment in Co+op Forest, a carbon offset program that supports farmers pursuing conservation, reforestation and agroforestry in the Peruvian Amazon.

Last year, NCG funded the planting or conservation of approximately 70,777 trees in the San Martin region of Peru to offset 1,197 tons of carbon dioxide emissions associated with NCG’s 2017 business travel and utilities. The investment is NCG’s sixth annual contribution to the program pioneered by PUR Projet in partnership with cocoa co-ops in and around San Martin. To date, NCG’s offsets have facilitated the planting and/or protection of nearly 2 million trees in the Amazon.

“NCG is grateful to partner with PUR Projet and the fair trade, organic farmer cooperatives that plant and protect Co+op Forest,” said Allie Mentzer, NCG’s Advocacy Senior Manager. “Tropical rainforests are widely recognized as one of the most important natural resources we have when it comes to reversing global warming. We love that Co+op Forest empowers farmers to put real climate solutions into place.”

Supporting Agroforestry

Agroforestry involves farming tropical crops in a manner that mimics forests, with taller trees and undergrowth planted alongside cash crops like coffee and cacao. This method sequesters more carbon than traditional agricultural methods through increased plant density and improved soil health, it also prevents erosion, improves groundwater and increases rainforest biodiversity.

NCG’s offsets program in 2018 included purchasing 377 timber trees for Finca a la Media, a farmer-led agroforestry project in Peru. In addition to environmental benefit, farmers like the program because it diversifies their income with long-range sustainably harvested timber trees (for retirement), mid-range crops like coffee and cacao, and undergrowth crops with annual yields like plantains, pigeon peas and Sacha Inchi, a medicinal plant.

Enabling Conservation and Reforestation

Conservation of existing old-growth rainforest and reforestation also remain climate priorities. NCG’s offsets enabled the protection of 340 acres of rainforest in the San Martin BioCorridor, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. In addition, it allowed for farmers to plant 2,400 trees in a reforestation project called Jubilacion Segura.

“Investing in Co+op Forest is not just about offsetting carbon emissions. While carbon reduction is a key benefit, the program also drives positive social, economic and environmental impacts directly in the communities from which NCG sources some of its fair trade chocolate.” Says Andrew Nobrega, Director of PUR Project for North America. “This a model for a truly sustainable tropical supply chain that supports both people and the planet. We are grateful for NCG’s commitment and hope that it continues to inspire similar programs across global supply chains and agricultural communities.”

See a full timeline of food co-ops’ investment in Co+op Forest through the years and learn more about how co-ops are building a better supply chain.

About NCG

National Co+op Grocers (NCG), founded in 1999, is a business services cooperative for retail food co-ops located throughout the United States. NCG helps unify food co-ops in order to optimize operational and marketing resources, strengthen purchasing power and ultimately offer more value to food co-op owners and shoppers everywhere. Our 145 member and associate co-ops operate more than 200 stores in 37 states with combined annual sales over $2.1 billion. NCG is a winner of the dotCoop Global Awards for Cooperative Excellence and a Certified B Corporation.  Find a map of NCG member and associate co-ops. To learn more about co-ops, visit www.strongertogether.coop.

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Media inquiries may be directed to Eric Davis (eric@harvest-pr.com; 612-424-7545).