We are pleased to be progressing this important project for Timor-Leste and for us. This is the first project that supports our core approach to social enterprise and fosters commercially sustainable businesses. More importantly, it aligns with our objectives and generates Carbon Credits that we can distribute to our members, rather than trade them to support the business itself.
Timor-Leste is Australia’s nearest neighbour. It is also a nation of some of the poorest people on earth. Unofficial figures place unemployment at 40% and, while maternal mortality has rapidly improved over the past decade, a women in Timor remains 30 times more likely to die from childbirth than an Australian woman.
Timor-Leste has had decades of conflict that have culminated in the country’s independence in 2002, but which unfortunately have destroyed 90% of its infrastructure and economy. Today, the Government represents more than 50% of the economy and this is funded by the short-term windfall from the exploitation of oil and gas reserves. Timor’s future is dependent on the development of local enterprise and that will only be sustainable where this is linked to an export-related commodity or service.
Forestry is an ancient business, albeit one that until the last century had a poor record for sustainability. The future of forestry is as a sustainable growth industry. Sequestering carbon into timber to replace the concrete, steel and plastic in our homes and workplaces is carbon positive. Sourcing that timber from forestry that repairs environmental degradation and generates long-term employment in one of the newest, closest and poorest nations is social impact.
Forestry was a significant industry in Timor-Leste and it can become one again. It employs people from all levels of education and does so over a 20+ year time frame. Our Timor Forestry Initiative does more. We establish the training facilities, develop port infrastructure, rehabilitate degraded hillsides, establish a transport service for our work force’s journey to work, and provide healthcare to them and their families. The timber from our Initiative will be the most ethical building material on earth.
For this initiative to become real, we need members to facilitate its existence. However, unlike any charity memberships, ours is supported by a profitable commercial business, which means we are able to reinvent how social enterprise is experienced by its supporters. As a member, you will receive as a benefit the Carbon Credits the project generates. We naturally hope that our members offset their emissions and surrender the Carbon Credits. We will also be able to help our members work out their emissions footprints if they require. However, as the World Bank and others are forecasting that Carbon Credits will be two or even four times their current price sometime in the mid-2020s, we understand if our members treat them as a store of value and an inflation-fighting safe haven. Traded on receipt, our Lifetime Associate members obtain a minimum of a 12.9% annual return on their membership fee.
To become a Timor Forestry Initiative member, download this Membership Prospectus and once you have read it, email firstname.lastname@example.org requesting the application form and stating which Membership type you are interested in. Altrnatively, if you want to act now and wish to become a type of Associate Member or a Silver Partner Member, you can go to timor-forestry-initiative on the Indiegogo crowdfunding website and select the ‘perk’ representing the Membership you seek, and pay the associated fee.
For those interested in further details of the business plan for the forestry in Timor-Leste, please refer to this Project Overview.