26 Jul 2017
Barcelona, Spain
Resource Efficiency and Sustainable Waste Management, Sustainable Food and Agriculture

Reversing the course of climate change often manifests itself in patching up forests and green spaces. As such, Barcelona-based Social Forest does not seem to fall short of forestry solutions and services, and awareness on the matter. In essence, the company is keen on taking roots in other countries, like it has been doing in Germany.

German entrepreneur and Founder of Social Forest Joachim Englert passionately spoke of his initiative saying that Social Forest does not stop at vocational training but extends to forestry services. These services can range from consultation to reforestation and maintaining green plots.

Driven by climate change:

“Climate change is a huge motivation at our disposal, and our training programs are more than just spreading a message,” says Englert. “Most trainees aspire to get jobs that involve this line of work – sustainability.”

Englert has been dedicating some time towards casting more light on forests and their role in biological diversity. “It’s all about a changed behavior in how we perceive forests and how we can socially implement such knowledge.”

“Climate change is not always attractive,” Englert said, referring to how it is more appealing to invest in a tech startup than it is to pump funds into green initiatives. “Catalonia is yet to embrace the full culture of green and sustainability.”

Social responsibility is at the core of Social Forest:

Englert and the Social Forest team took on the role of ripening concepts that involve going green and caring for the environment. “It’s a social responsibility that we all need to approach,” Englert speaks of forest preservation and maintenance.

And, Englert is rightly concerned! According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), we are losing forests at a startling rate of 48 football fields per minute. Illegal logging, poor forest management practices, the increased use of forest and agricultural products are major factors in destroying forests.

Georgette Macar a retired Earth and Environmental Sciences professor at Pavia University, Italy, added scientific knowledge is as important as field work. “One problem we encounter as professionals is the lack of understanding – most people don’t get what I’m on about,” Macar referred to deforestation.

The retired professor accentuated the horror of mining and urbanization saying that exposure and chemicals are threatening to native wildlife.

“A country as big and rich in plantation as India is witnessing more commercial logging than ever,” Macar said, adding that “technology is being used in an unjust way.”

In a bid to promote and provide more knowledge on forestry, Social Forest partners with Esade Business and Law School in Barcelona, recruiting and educating volunteers. “Former business students [from the university] helped us with the commercial side and creating control tools to help the company,” Englert added.

Partnerships and importance of funding:

One of Social Forest’s many partners is the Catalonian government ensuring a smooth project when it comes to paperwork. Englert added that funding and collaborations are needed.

“We’re a small company. When it comes to contracts, payments can arrive much later on,” Englert said. “We’re very keen on working and expanding to other countries, all the more reason we’re always on the lookout for funding opportunities.”

The entrepreneur paid a visit to Morocco in 2016 to promote his idea and study the possibility of setting up a base in the North African country. “Italy is another country we visited and considered last year,” adds Englert.

He also highlighted the merits each collaboration brings to the table. For example, partners from the forestry sector can help entice professionals in the field to collaborate. “Social responsibility-wise, we partner with NGOs and foundations on green programs along with young people,” Englert explained.

Akin to its name, Social Forest partners with companies on social responsibility. “Some companies can even manufacture tools that help maintain green plots,” he added.

Social Forest is not leaving much for luck; the company is always recruiting other partners and working on pilot projects. “It’s a challenge we have at this phase.”

On the diversity of his team, Englert says, “I believe it’s beautiful. It’s an understanding of nature, a universal one, too.”

The company’s website does not fall short of inspiring a lot of people to act more and learn much more. Englert’s initiative is a power of change that focuses on a rare aspect as well as a downfall – deforestation.


Website: http://socialforest.org/en/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/socialforest.eu

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SocialForest_EU

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/SocialForestEU

Photos: Courtesy of Social Forest

Eman is the Switchers' Managing Editor and a long-standing finance and startup ecosystem journalist.Eman El-Sherbiny
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