In 2016 the World accepted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as key targets for countries, public and private sectors and civil society to utilize as a framework for achieving socially and environmental sustainable development.
Over the past 7 years, on the Southern Caribbean Coast, one company, EcoPlanet Bamboo, has developed a strong framework that, even before the SGDs were formalized, addresses to 16 of the 17 goals, setting an example for Nicaragua’s land use, forestry and agricultural sectors, and contributing to national development targets.
This article highlights 5 of the 16 SDGs that EcoPlanet Bamboo’s plantations are having significant direct impacts towards, and highlights the new phase of development that the company is in the process of bringing through its integrated manufacturing facilities.
SDG 1: No Poverty EcoPlanet Bamboo’s core social goal is the provision of secure, attractive and long-term employment in areas of the world where few opportunities. Providing individuals and communities with secure income, while ensuring that they become integrated within formal systems (for banking, health care and social security) is the first step in achieving a world with out poverty. Indirect benefits for Nicaragua’s communities have included the provision of training and education opportunities, and community development projects carried out in fringe communities each year. Although the company’s structure recently moved to a contractor system rather than permanent employees, the positive impacts remain the same.
SDG 5: Gender Equality EcoPlanet Bamboo has always provided equal opportunity employment but actively encourages the participation of women on all plantations with women contributing more than 25% of the Nicaragua teams, all the way through to managerial positions. Radio programs, community days, continuous stakeholder engagement are in use in order to educate and encourage women.
SDG 6: Clean Water & Sanitation EcoPlanet Bamboo has ensured access to clean drinking water for all employees and within all surrounding communities within the El Rama and Kukra Hill area in which the company operates. EcoPlanet Bamboo provides toilet facilities on all operations and for all employees, and ensures that these are clean and safe for use by all individuals, regardless of gender. Investment into surrounding communities targets the provision of clean drinking water, and associated sanitation.
SDG 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth Secure employment goes hand in hand with sustainable land and resource management and is the key to ensuring that development can occur in a linear and continuous fashion. EcoPlanet Bamboo strives to provide employment opportunities that are attractive, fair, and most importantly secure, not for a year or two, but for a generation. Secure livelihoods and steady income drives economic growth in rural areas. This mechanism of development has been proven to be far more successful than aid or charity, which is short term.
SDG 13: Climate Action Deforestation and land use change contribute more than 25% of global annual greenhouse gas emissions. EcoPlanet Bamboo’s Nicaragua’s plantations were the first in the world to develop the scientific methodologies for bamboo to be recognized for its climate change benefits. These projects have stored and sequestered more than 1.5 million tons of atmospheric carbon dioxide, contributing to Nicaragua’s national goals. With plantation operations well underway and the bamboo resource for Nicaragua rapidly reaching maturity, EcoPlanet Bamboo’s attention has been turned to manufacturing and value added processing. For five years the company has invested in clean technology development, for major consumer products. As these facilities come on line in Nicaragua over the next 12 month period, the contribution to 3 key SDGs is significant, not just for the Caribbean coast, but for Nicaragua as a country.
These are just a handful of examples for a few of the SDGs, aimed at providing an example that all sectors of society, public, private and non profit have a role to play in order to achieve national level targets.. As EcoPlanet Bamboo continues to grow and with the recent announcement of a Bamboo Purchase Agreement from Guatemalan consortium BAP Ltd., Nicaragua’s populations can support the country’s restoration work, as well as reduce our impact on the planet by ensuring that the products we all are buying are coming from a sustainable, renewable source while bringing sustainable development to our own communities.