A Living Lab for community and ecological resilience, Ghana

Living Labs

A Living Lab for community and ecological resilience, Ghana

This 10-year community-based project in Atebubu, Ghana aims to foster both ecological and community resilience. It will demonstrate the power of biodiversity regeneration and a nature-inspired economy to catalyse local jobs, livelihoods, and economic alternatives – all co-designed with local stakeholders.

Project launch: 2021
Location: Atebubu & Wiase, Bono East Region, central Ghana
Objectives: Foster ecological and community resilience through forest landscape restoration
Key activities: Plant and steward 4.5 million trees / Restore 2,500 hectares of dry and savannah forest on degraded areas / Facilitate a Multi-Stakeholder Platform and capacity building / Foster social inclusion and improve livelihoods for women/youth
Main species planted: Ceiba (Ceiba pentandra), Senya (Daniellia oliveri), Dawa Dawa (Parkia biglobosa)
Partners: Local farmers, African Plantations for Sustainable Development, NGPTA, Nature and Development Foundation, AstraZeneca

Visit the project website: https://atebubu.newgenerationplantations.org/

Ghanaian woman

Why?

The two communities of Atebubu and Wiase are located in the Bono East Region in central Ghana, near Lake Volta and the Digya National Park. The districts are key areas for charcoal production, and the natural forested land in the area has been subject to heavy encroachment by farmers and illegal tree cutting for charcoal. Degradation, habitat change from dry forest to savannah woodland and agricultural clearance has also contributed to the intensity and incidence of wildfires.

Common challenges faced by local communities in the region include unemployment, deteriorating soil fertility, limited education opportunities, poor communication networks, changing climate and weather-related challenges. The current challenging conditions, poverty and lack of opportunities are leading to low standards of living and out-migration, as well as encroachment on forested land.

What?

  • Action on the ground
    This Living Lab is a 10-year community-based project, which aims to foster both ecological and community resilience. It will demonstrate the power of biodiversity regeneration and a nature-inspired economy to catalyse local jobs, livelihoods, and economic alternatives – all co-designed with local stakeholders.
  • Restoring the landscape
    The Living Lab will plant and steward 4.5 million trees, as well as assisting and encouraging natural regeneration, with the aim of enhancing biodiversity and establishing landscapes that are adaptive to climate change and natural disturbances. This includes improving soil quality, purifying water sources and protecting watersheds, as well as helping to prevent erosion and floods. The trees will also improve local air quality, provide shade and sequester carbon.
  • Empowering the community
    The Living Lab will facilitate a Multi-Stakeholder Platform – to engage local stakeholders including landowners, land managers, communities, civil society, governments, and the private sector to collectively design, govern and benefit from the project.
  • Fostering social inclusion
    The Living Lab aims to improve livelihoods for women and youth through employment in tree nurseries, the timber value chain, and as community mobilizers. It also facilitates capacity building through an out-grower scheme and community meetings.
  • Creating nature-based business models
    The Living Lab will create circular business models relying on biological resources (biomaterials and bioenergy) and nature-based systems. It aims to improve financial literacy and business development for smallholder farmers connected to agroforestry and woodlots, and provide resources for farmers to participate in and benefit from new commercial bio-based products and services.
  • Developing economically sustainable and equitable forest systems
    The Living Lab integrates tradition and technology while introducing new technologies to create innovative bio-based value chains, respecting local traditions and rights. It aims to increase food security through innovative farming methods, and embed practices that cause less harm to the landscape.
Living Lab for community and ecological resilience, Ghana
Living Lab for community and ecological resilience, Ghana

Expected impacts

The project directly contributes to the achievement of 7 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, which provide a roadmap to a better and more sustainable future.

Sustainable Development GOALS

Our latest Ghana stories

Circular Bioeconomy Alliance welcomes 5 new members!

Circular Bioeconomy Alliance welcomes 5 new members!

Five new organisations have joined the Circular Bioeconomy Alliance, committing to its vision of a world which places Nature at the heart of the global circular bioeconomy.

The organisations include: The Balipara Foundation, WBCSD’s Forest Solutions GroupMirovaSappi, and Verstegen Spices & Sauces.

The Circular Bioeconomy Alliance was established by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales under his Sustainable Markets Initiative in 2020. The Alliance aims to accelerate the transition to a circular bioeconomy that is climate neutral, inclusive and prospers in harmony with nature, by providing knowledge-informed support and a learning and networking platform. It connects the dots between investors, companies, local communities, governmental and non-governmental organizations to advance the circular bioeconomy – while also restoring biodiversity.

Current activities include forest landscape restoration and agroforestry projects in Africa, South America and Asia.

These include:

  • Atebubu & Wiase Forest Landscape Restoration: Living Lab for community and ecological resilience in Ghana
  • The Eastern Himalayan Living Lab: Rural Futures through Natural Capital
  • Living Lab for Resilient Coffee Landscapes for People and Nature in Colombia

“The Circular Bioeconomy Alliance is becoming a true global movement powered by Nature and People. The Alliance is not only connecting investors with investable solutions through the first Natural Capital Investment Fund of its kind, but it is also catalyzing action on the ground to demonstrate through Living Laboratories that a new economy inspired, powered and prospering in harmony with Nature is not only possible but it is the only way forward. Our new members reflect well the nature of our network: companies and organizations, big and small, from all corners of the world sharing a common vision: a sustainable future where life (bio) becomes its true engine!”

CBA Coordinator Marc Palahí

Investing in nature is crucial for sustainable development

Investing in nature is crucial for sustainable development

Our online forum Nature at the heart of a global circular bioeconomy on 19 March brought together over 1,000 participants from the global north and south. This was the first ever event to take a value chain approach and connect the dots between investment, innovation, sustainability and the circular bioeconomy in the global north and south.

The event was opened by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, who emphasised that we have a unique but narrow window of opportunity to transform our economy. We need to invest in nature, act for health and wellbeing, and recognise the true value of biodiversity.

His message was echoed by European Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen who said that we need to act now and we must act together. Bioeconomy is global, so are its value chains and therefore its challenges.

Sharon Ikeazor, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Environment agreed. Restoring nature is essential to us achieving sustainable development she said; we see that our present economic models are a threat to nature and to our wellbeing. 

EFI Director Marc Palahí pointed out that to create a circular bioeconomy we urgently need transformative policies and massive investments: not necessarily for massive projects, but for holistic, inclusive ones, across the whole value chain. This was echoed by Lee White, Minister of Water, Forest, the Sea and Environment in Gabon who emphasised that he wanted to see developed countries encouraging their industries to invest in developing countries; responsible investment could help Gabon to add value to its forests locally.

The event’s four sessions focused on four key issues to catalyse systemic change, and enable the transition towards a circular bioeconomy:

  • How can we use the circular bioeconomy as an effective tool to build more sustainable, more prosperous, and more inclusive societies with plenty of opportunities for new jobs and industries?
  • How much wood do we have to support a transformational change to a sustainable bioeconomy? And for what purposes should we use it?
  • How we can we ensure that latest innovations and technologies are transferred to the global south?
  • How can we unleash the power of private finance to help scale up circular bioeconomy models?

The event was organised by EFI in collaboration with the recently-merged Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and World Agroforestry (ICRAF), the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) and the Sustainable Markets Initiative Circular Bioeconomy Alliance (SMI CBA).

Circular Bioeconomy Alliance welcomes new members

Circular Bioeconomy Alliance welcomes new members

The Circular Bioeconomy Alliance is pleased to announce that six new organisations have joined its global work to accelerate the transition to a circular bioeconomy that is climate neutral, inclusive and prospers in harmony with nature.

The organisations include: African Plantations for Sustainable Development; The Navigator Company; The New Forests Company; Reforest’Action; Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and the Sustainable Agriculture Network.

The Circular Bioeconomy Alliance was established by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales under his Sustainable Markets Initiative in 2020. The Alliance provides knowledge-informed support as well as a learning and networking platform to connect the dots between investors, companies, governmental and non-governmental organizations and local communities to advance the circular bioeconomy while restoring biodiversity globally.

Current activities include forest landscape restoration and agroforestry projects in Africa, South America, India and South-East Asia , as well as a global digital forum, Nature at the heart of a global circular bioeconomy, which takes place on 19 March. After the Natural Capital strategy launched by Lombard Odier in the framework of the Alliance in November 2020, new Funds for start-ups and scale-ups are already under discussion.

CBA Coordinator Marc Palahí said: “I look forward to working with our new members as we need to scale-up science-informed action globally to create a new economy powered by Nature”.

More information

The Circular Bioeconomy Alliance is part of the Sustainable Markets Initiative. Founding donors and partners of the Circular Bioeconomy Alliance include: Sitra (The Finnish Innovation Fund), UPM, Astra Zeneca, Lombard Odier, New Generation Plantations Technical Assistance, Pretaterra, The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), World Agrofrestry (ICRAF), The World Economic Forum (WEF), The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Dasos Capital Oy, Wellbeing Economy Alliance, The World Resources Institute (WRI), The European Circular Bioeconomy Fund (ECBF), The Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC).

More information: Marc Palahí (firstname.lastname @ efi.int)
www.efi.int/cba

The Circular Bioeconomy Alliance is facilitated by the European Forest Institute (EFI), an independent international science organization which generates, connects and shares knowledge at the interface between science and policy.

Circular Bioeconomy Alliance inspires new Natural Capital strategy

Circular Bioeconomy Alliance inspires new Natural Capital strategy

The Circular Bioeconomy Alliance held its first event on 16 November, launching one of its flagship initiatives, a Natural Capital strategy developed by founding member Lombard Odier.

The online event “Driving change: Connecting investors to sustainable investable solutions” was opened by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. It discussed the opportunity to value and invest in our natural capital to drive economic growth as well as prosperity within our planetary boundaries.

The Natural Capital strategy is a unique global equity fund, which is directly inspired by HRH The Prince of Wales and developed in partnership with the Circular Bioeconomy Alliance, established under his Sustainable Markets Initiative. The first-of-its-kind strategy targets investment opportunities that accelerate the transformation towards a circular bioeconomy and a leaner form of industry.

Hubert Keller, Managing Partner of Lombard Odier Group and CEO of Lombard Odier IM said: “The investment industry, which represents $120 trillion of capital, will always seek returns as a primary objective. Today some of the most convincing returns opportunities lie in the transition to a more sustainable economic model, putting climate transition and nature centre stage.

“That is why we are launching the first Natural Capital Strategy, inspired by His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales and in collaboration with the Circular Bioeconomy Alliance. By investing in companies that align their business models to the concept of Harnessing or Preserving Nature, our Natural Capital strategy has identified an untapped investment opportunity – one that we believe will deliver strong returns for investors and help accelerate the transition to a more sustainable economy.”

The Circular Bioeconomy Alliance aims to drive transformational change to a climate and nature positive economy by connecting investors to sustainable investable solutions. Marc Palahí, Director of the European Forest Institute and Coordinator of the Circular Bioeconomy Alliance said: “In a circular bioeconomy life becomes the true engine and true purpose of the economy, creating sustainable wellbeing in harmony with nature. The Circular Bioeconomy Alliance is a response to the call to action by HRH The Prince of Wales to put the world on a sustainable path. Our first Alliance event demonstrates that.”

More information

The Circular Bioeconomy Alliance is part of the Sustainable Markets Initiative. Founding donors and partners of the Circular Bioeconomy Alliance include: Sitra (The Finnish Innovation Fund), UPM, Astra Zeneca, Lombard Odier, New Generation Plantations Technical Assistance, Pretaterra, The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), World Agrofrestry (ICRAF), The World Economic Forum (WEF), The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Dasos Capital Oy, Wellbeing Economy Alliance, The World Resources Institute (WRI), The European Circular Bioeconomy Fund (ECBF), The Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC).

More information: Marc Palahí (firstname.lastname @ efi.int) 
www.efi.int/cba

The Circular Bioeconomy Alliance is facilitated by the European Forest Institute (EFI), an independent international science organization which generates, connects and shares knowledge at the interface between science and policy.

Photo: Evgeni Tcherkasski, Unsplash.

Investing in nature to transform the post COVID-19 economy

Investing in nature to transform the post COVID-19 economy

An article published in Solutions Journal sets out a 10-point Action Plan to create a circular bioeconomy devoted to sustainable wellbeing.

The Circular Bioeconomy Alliance

The COVID-19 crisis and future recovery presents a unique opportunity to transition towards a sustainable wellbeing economy centered around people and nature. The Action Plan is a call for global, holistic and transformative action to put the world on a sustainable path, and features the latest scientific insights and breakthrough technologies from a number of disciplines and sectors.

Coordinated by EFI Director Marc Palahí, the Action Plan sets out the importance of moving towards a circular bioeconomy to holistically transform and manage our land, food, health and industrial systems with the goal of achieving sustainable wellbeing in harmony with nature.

“The Action Plan is our response to HRH The Prince of Wales’ recent call to invest in nature as the true engine for our economy”, said Marc Palahí. “It is divided up into six transformative action points, and four enabling action points, which mutually reinforce each other and should be implemented in an integrated manner.

The 10 action points include:

  1. Aim at sustainable wellbeing 
  2. Invest in nature and biodiversity
  3. Ensure an equitable distribution of prosperity
  4. Rethink holistically land, food and health systems
  5. Transform industrial sectors
  6. Reimagine cities through ecological lenses
  7. Create an enabling regulatory framework
  8. Bring purposeful innovation to the investment and political agenda
  9. Ensure access to finance and enhance risk-taking capacity
  10. Intensify and broaden research and education

More information

A 10-point Action Plan to create a circular bioeconomy devoted to sustainable wellbeing.

M. Palahí, M. Pantsar, R. Costanza, I. Kubiszewski, J. Potočnik, M. Stuchtey, R. Nasi, H. Lovins, E. Giovannini, L. Fioramonti, S. Dixson-Declève, J. McGlade, K. Pickett, R. Wilkinson, J. Holmgren, K. Trebeck, S. Wallis, M. Ramage, G. Berndes, F. K. Akinnifesi, K.V. Ragnarsdóttir, B. Muys, G. Safonov, A. D. Nobre, C. Nobre, D. Ibañez, A. Wijkman, J. Snape, L. Bas. 2020. Investing in Nature to Transform the Post COVID-19 Economy. Solutions Journal, Volume 11, issue 2.

https://www.thesolutionsjournal.com/article/investing-nature-transform-post-covid-19-economy-10-point-action-plan-create-circular-bioeconomy-devoted-sustainable-wellbeing/

Listen to HRH The Prince of Wales speaking about investing in nature on BBC Radio: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p08j2frj  

New Action Plan puts nature at the heart of the economy

New Action Plan puts nature at the heart of the economy

10-point Action Plan to Create a Circular Bioeconomy of Wellbeing published.

Foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales calls for Nature to be put at the centre of the economy.

A new study published by the European Forest Institute calls for collective action to put nature at the heart of the economy and set the world on a sustainable path.

Written by a multidisciplinary team of over 25 authors, led by EFI Director Marc Palahí, the 10-point Action Plan for a Circular Bioeconomy of Wellbeing brings together the latest scientific insights and breakthrough technologies to offer a solution to current global challenges.

The publication features a Foreword by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, who says: “I have been deeply encouraged by the number of scientists and practitioners who have come together to develop a 10-point Circular Bioeconomy Action Plan inspired by my Sustainable Markets Initiative and its Circular Bioeconomy Alliance. It is time for leaders, across all disciplines, to step forward, be bold in their ambition and demonstrate what is possible so that others can follow.”

The Action Plan emphasises the importance of moving towards a circular bioeconomy to holistically transform and manage our land, food, health and industrial systems with the goal of achieving sustainable wellbeing in harmony with nature.

“It has been an honour to work with The Prince of Wales, who inspired and contributed to The Action Plan”, said Marc Palahí. “The Action Plan forms the framework for the Circular Bioeconomy Alliance established by His Royal Highness to accelerate the transition towards a Circular Bioeconomy. I am proud that EFI will coordinate such a transformative initiative.”

“Global challenges like climate change, and biodiversity loss, coupled with a growing and highly urbanised population call for new ways of producing and consuming within our planetary boundaries”, says co-author Mari Pantsar, who is Director of Carbon-neutral circular economy at The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra. “We need a transition to a circular economy.”

At the same time, we need to achieve sustainability while ensuring equitable prosperity. The health and wellbeing of our citizens is a strong incentive to rethink our land, food and health systems, transform our industries and reimagine our cities.

The study sets out 10 Action Points which are needed to create a circular bioeconomy based on a synergistic relationship between economy and ecology:

  1. Focus on sustainable wellbeing 
  2. Invest in nature and biodiversity
  3. Generate an equitable distribution of prosperity
  4. Rethink land, food and health systems holistically
  5. Transform industrial sectors
  6. Reimagine cities through ecological lenses
  7. Create an enabling regulatory framework
  8. Deliver mission-oriented innovation to the investment and political agenda
  9. Enable access to finance and enhance risk-taking capacity
  10. Intensify and broaden research and education

More information

Marc Palahí, EFI Director (marc.palahi @ efi.int) +358 10 773 4342
Rach Colling, Head of Communications, EFI (rach.colling @ efi.int) +358 50 5956717

Palahí, M., Pantsar, M., Costanza, R., Kubiszewski, I., Potočnik, J., Stuchtey, M., Nasi, R., Lovins, H., Giovannini, E., Fioramonti, L., Dixson-Declève, S., McGlade, J., Pickett, K., Wilkinson, R., Holmgren, J., Trebeck, K., Wallis, S., Ramage, M., Berndes, G., Akinnifesi, F.K., Ragnarsdóttir, K.V., Muys, B., Safonov, G., Nobre, A.D., Nobre, C., Ibañez, D., Wijkman, A., Snape, J., Bas, L. 2020. Investing in Nature as the true engine of our economy: A 10-point Action Plan for a Circular Bioeconomy of Wellbeing. Knowledge to Action 02, European Forest Institute.

Download the study: https://doi.org/10.36333/k2a02

The publication was developed within the framework of the Sustainable Markets Initiative of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. It received support from Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund.

About EFI

The European Forest Institute (EFI) is an independent international science organization which generates, connects and shares knowledge at the interface between science and policy. EFI has 29 member countries who have ratified the Convention, and c.130 member organizations in 40 countries, working in diverse research fields.

Photo: © putthipong / Adobe Stock

Circular bioeconomy offers game-changing solutions

Circular bioeconomy offers game-changing solutions

Leading representatives from science, investors and industry today met with HRH The Prince of Wales to discuss how to accelerate the transition to a circular bioeconomy to enable a carbon-neutral, renewable and inclusive economy that prospers in harmony with nature.

The need to react to the COVID-19 crisis is a unique opportunity to transform our economy and put forward the change that our society needs to create a sustainable and desirable future.

A Circular Bioeconomy Roundtable convened by HRH The Prince of Wales today discussed how this should be done: not just by designing recovery packages, but by transformative action to trigger mission-oriented innovation, attract investments and rethink business models and markets. Leading figures from science, the investment community and industry discussed how a circular bioeconomy offers game-changing solutions and is a crucial concept to move towards a carbon-neutral, renewable and inclusive economy that prospers in harmony with nature.

A circular bioeconomy uses renewable natural capital to holistically transform and manage our land, food, health and industrial systems with the goal of achieving sustainable wellbeing. The latest scientific insights and breakthrough technologies have been described in a new 10-Point Action Plan to catalyse a circular bioeconomy of wellbeing, coordinated by European Forest Institute Director Marc Palahí.

“The Action Plan is our response to HRH The Prince of Wales’ call to invest in nature as the true engine for our economy”, said Marc Palahí, who moderated the roundtable. “We brought together over 25 authors from across scientific disciplines to consider what global, holistic and transformative action we can take to put the world on a sustainable path.”

The Action Plan will serve as the guiding document for a new Circular Bioeconomy Alliance, to be established by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales under his Sustainable Markets Initiative. EFI will play a key role in the newly established Alliance by facilitating the provision of knowledge-informed support, as well as providing a networking platform to connect the dots between investors, companies, governmental and non-governmental organizations to advance the circular bioeconomy globally. 

The President of the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, Jyrki Katainen, who participated in the roundtable emphasized “This is a great opportunity to advance the circular economy and an important platform for a dialogue between investors, business and science, alongside the World Circular Economy Forum. Sitra is very happy to partner with EFI and contribute to a forward looking and informed dialogue.”

More information

A 10 Point Action Plan to catalyse a circular bioeconomy of wellbeing

A circular bioeconomy of wellbeing (figure)

The Circular Bioeconomy Roundtable took place within the framework of HRH’s Sustainable Markets Initiative, launched at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos in January 2020. Since the COVID crisis, HRH has been working with global leaders and the World Economic Forum to determine how Sustainable Markets can serve as a catalyst to ‘Build Back Better’ and leapfrog our ambitions for a more sustainable future. The Circular Bioeconomy Roundtable is the first initiative of the ‘Great Reset’, launched on 3 June.

The Sustainable Markets Initiative consists of key high-level corporate, national and international leaders and explores creative solutions, models sustainable leadership and champions sustainable markets at a global scale. EFI Director Marc Palahí was appointed to the Sustainable Markets Expert Network in February 2020.

For further information please contact:

Marc Palahí, EFI Director (marc.palahi @ efi.int) +358 10 773 4342

Rach Colling, Head of Communications, EFI (rach.colling @ efi.int) +358 50 5956717

About EFI

The European Forest Institute (EFI) is an independent international science organization which generates, connects and shares knowledge at the interface between science and policy. EFI has 29 member countries who have ratified the Convention, and c.120 member organizations in 38 countries, working in diverse research fields.

www.efi.int

Photo: ©TSUNG-LIN WU – stock.adobe.com