TakingRoot

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Theory of change

The root cause of deforestation is people’s pursuit of economic opportunities

Deforestation is one of the largest contributors to climate change because trees are made up of ~50% carbon by weight so when forests are destroyed, all of that carbon is released back into the atmosphere. To address this, Taking Root uses a market-based approach to fight deforestation and poverty by developing fully traceable reforestation products with smallholder farmers.

This works because the root cause of deforestation is people’s pursuit or better economic opportunities. Therefore, the only way to reverse deforestation is by designing reforestation initiatives that provide economic opportunities for people. When these people are smallholder farmers, deforestation and poverty are addressed simultaneously.


The challenge

The challenge is that smallholder farmers face the following barriers that prevent them from economically benefiting from growing trees on their farms:

  1. They cannot access capital at an affordable interest rate, which prevents them from making long-term investments like growing trees that would otherwise be profitable;
  2. They lack access to technical know-how for advanced production techniques and market requirements, which prevents them from growing efficiently;
  3. They suffer from diseconomies of scale and therefore need to work through intermediaries to access markets. With little market power, smallholders receive low prices and intermediaries make most of the profit.

The challenge is that smallholder farmers face the following barriers that prevent them from economically benefiting from growing trees on their farms:

As illustrated below, Taking Root’s non-profit business model addresses these production and market barriers such that existing markets for reforestation products incentivize farmers to grow trees on their farms. Without this, land would otherwise end up being used for non-forested activities like raising livestock.


The Taking Root difference

To overcome these challenges, we created an innovative:

  1. Non-profit business model, and a
  2. Technological platform.

Our non-profit business model aligns our success with farmers’success. Like the farmers, we’re in it for the long run. When they win, we win. We’re all incentivized to increase productivity, decrease costs, and increase prices. This is contrary to most other non-profits that earn revenue for providing services regardless of whether the outcomes are successful.

The technological platform we created helps us help farmers increase their yields, reduce costs, and connect farmers to premium markets by credibly bundling the social and environmental impacts of our work to their reforestation efforts.

Help us do more

Support our work by purchasing our reforestation products:

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