24/11/2010

Andrew Skeene and Omari Bowers, Founders of Global Forestry Investments - a sustainable forestry company with projects in Brazil and offices in London, New York, Sao Paulo and Dubai - explain a little more about their business and provide some top tips on how SME’s (Small and Medium Enterprises) can stay green and help do their bit to protect the environment.

Andrew says, “At Global Forestry Investments we basically purchase forestry land in emerging markets and plant trees. We then sell sections of land and trees to investors. For each tree an investor purchases, we will purchase a second tree in a protected area. The trees we plant will remain completely untouched and go towards reforesting the depleted Brazilian rainforest.”

Investor’s trees are left to grow and mature until they are ready to be sold. At present we are dealing with teak trees, which take roughly 20 to 25 years to mature. When the trees are ready to be sold to market, an investor will have hoped to have made a return of around ten to 20 percent per annum on their original investment.
Andrew says, “Throughout the process we take care of the land and manage the trees. This is a long term investment opportunity, perfect for smaller investors who are perhaps looking to choose an ethical and sustainable investment for their children and grandchildren.”

Omari continues, “For us, Brazil isn’t just a business venture. It has given us an opportunity to genuinely make a big difference to many people’s lives and that is something that drives both of us. The next ten years are going to be a huge decade in the fight against climate change and it fills us with a great sense of pride that we are going to be part of that.”

Andrew and Omari believe it is important for every business to consider environment in their daily practices. Andrew says, “Not only can this be cost effective but it also helps to reduce the carbon footprint. As a business we are always striving to be green in every department — not just in the forest! Here are our top ten tips for keeping the work place green:

1. This may sound obvious but one of the biggest changes you can make to your carbon footprint begins before you even reach the office; use public transport, walk or cycle to work. If there is no alternative but to travel by car, you could arrange a car share system with colleagues. We read recently that a typical commuter produces a staggering five tonnes of CO2 each year by driving to work!

2. Online video conferencing calling such as Skype is another way to help reduce your carbon footprint. Skype is easy to use and completely free, which will not only help the environment but could also save your business considerable travel costs.

3. Four-day weeks can further reduce travel and power costs. Long working days may not be for everyone, and of course this may be unfeasible for some businesses, but if a four-day week is possible you could save 20% of travel costs and carbon emissions... and of course everyone loves a long weekend!

4. E-invites and E-newsletters are not only a fast efficient way of reaching your clients and customers, but they will also save huge amounts of paper waste and postal cost. When holding an opening evening or an event, we recommend sending out e-invites rather than postal invites. The cost of printing, paper, ink and postage can soon add up and often invitations are thrown away and the paper is not recycled. Creating a PDF invitation and e-mailing this to your audience is much more cost effective and dramatically reduces the amount of waste.

5. Similarly, No Press Packs. Instead invest time and money into your website. This is the logical port of call for your business’ audience, and can be far more visually engaging than a dated press pack. A well-produced PDF document will do the same job, whilst also being fast, simple and free.

6. Work off-peak. Power used during certain periods has lower carbon footprint and lower cost. From 10pm till 6am is the cheapest time but is obviously not convenient for most businesses. However, if you can start the day a little earlier and work from 6 am to 12 pm, and do your most power-consuming tasks during this time, it will make a small but meaningful difference in reducing your carbon footprint.

7. Buy Energy Star rated products for your business. Investing in energy efficient equipment such as computers, printers, copiers, refrigerators, windows, thermostats, ceiling fans, and other appliances will not only make a big difference in reducing your footprint but it will also cut the cost of your power bill.

8. Using laptops instead of desk computers will make your office more energy efficient as they consume a lot less power. Laptops can consume up to 80 percent less energy than desktops.

9. Small changes make a big difference: Do not leave taps dripping; always close them tightly after use. One drop wasted per second wastes 10,000 litres per year. Produce double-sided documents whenever possible. Turn lights off when not in use. These tips may seem obvious but can often slip our minds, and can add up to major energy savings when put into effect.

10. Invest in carbon credits. Buying carbon credits with ethical, environmentally active companies is a great way to help you offset your emissions. At Global Forestry Investments we offer carbon credits to all our customers.

To find our more visit www.globalforestryinvestments.com


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