Spotlight on … ForestFinance
There are as many ways to increase your revenue as there are grains of sand in the desert but opportunities to make a desert green again are rare. ForestFinance offers an interesting portfolio for medium and long-term investments whilst making a contribution to climate protection. A portfolio.
First Panama, then the world
In 1995 the founder Harry Assenmacher decides to reforest his own woodlands in Panama. Today his company ForestFinance runs projects in Germany, Colombia, Panama, Peru, Vietnam and Morocco – with investment sums of over 90 million Euros. The business model is successful – both small investors and companies can find suitable products. Although forests are a potentially risky source of raw materials, as storms and fires can reduce yields, their ecological benefits and attractive returns speak for themselves. More than 20,000 customers have already invested in the raw material wood, and around 30 employees are now responsible for customer service and contract management at the company headquarters in Bonn, Germany. In the countries ForestFinance is active in, up to 450 external workers manage the customer areas; 100 of them in Panama alone. They are the heart of the company, says Assenmacher.
Local intercropping and sustainable forest management
What makes ForestFinance special is the way it deals with soil and resources. The forests and plantations do not serve as simple sources of raw materials. The company also places great value on reforesting native mixed forests, establishing agroforestry plantations and cultivating slow-growing quality timber. This not only creates habitats for endangered animal species, but also continuously rebuilds the humus layer.
"I define sustainability in two places. One is forest, true forest, because monocultures in this sense are not forests at all. On the one hand, the forest could be established as a purely monetary commercial woodland, which has no other function than to produce financial benefits, or it can be a forest as we create it: A forest that protects water, protects the climate, creates social living conditions and is good for nature and people", Assenmacher states.
A way back to the rainforest?
For around 40 Euros a month, small investors can conclude a so-called “tree savings agreement”. The contract runs for one year at a time and enables twelve slow-growing precious woods to be planted on an area of 125 square meters. These are cultivated for 25 years and then harvested – with no clear-cutting involved, of course. The created biotope is preserved permanently. A new rainforest does not yet emerge however, because it takes several hundred years to build up. But a second-growth forest appropriate to the location rather than fallow land is a good start.
Companies and major investors also find their ideal investment mix at ForestFinance. Risk diversification and a continuous return of money are ensured, for example, by a mixed investment in the Moroccan Oase I (date and olive agroforest) and KakaoDirectinvest II in Panama. The term of six years is considerably shorter, and payments will be made from the third year onwards. The expected internal revenue stream of around five percent is also interesting for pure economists and prompted Focus Money to include the company in the list of Germany's best in October 2018.
Investing and donating in a meaningful and ecological way
For those who pay special attention to nature conservation, the Bonn-based company offers even more: protected forests and gift trees that also provide joy under the local Christmas tree. For example the patronage for a ChocolateTree, which is accompanied by a certificate of protection and five bars of high-quality chocolate.
If you are looking for a serious symbiosis of high-yield investments and ecologically sensible action in today's jungle of investment opportunities – here is one.