In just five years, National Co+op Grocers‘ (NCG) innovative Co+op Forest carbon-offset initiative has grown to include more than 1.7 million native trees in the Amazon rainforest.
With the first trees planted in 2012, Co+op Forest is bringing to life NCG’s ongoing commitment to working within its supply chain to help slow climate change. Each year, NCG partners with PUR Projet and cocoa co-ops in the San Martín region of Peru to plant native trees and preserve old growth rainforest. These efforts offset estimated greenhouse gas emissions associated with the cooperative’s business travel and utilities.
In 2017, NCG offset 772 metric tons of greenhouse gases by adding 1,907 acres to the existing 5,061 acres of old growth forest. This acreage in the San Martín BioCorredor is protected as part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, recognized as an outstanding model of community management. The co-op also contributed 1,158 tree seedlings to Finca a la Media, a community-led project that aims to restore degraded farmland so cocoa farmers needn’t resort to cutting down old growth rainforest.
Farmers plant the trees among their crops to prevent erosion and help build healthy soil.
“We are grateful to PUR Projet and our farming cooperative partners for developing projects like Finca a la Media that magnify Co+op Forest’s positive social and environmental impacts,” said NCG CEO Robynn Shrader. “San Martín farmers are improving and restoring their farmland, a practice that is in line with NCG’s ongoing efforts to help slow global warming. We applaud the adoption of regenerative farming methods throughout our supply chain.”
In addition to the positive climate impact of its 1.7 million trees, Co+op Forest is home to many unique and diverse species found in the rich rainforest ecosystem. The program also serves as a way for farmers within NCG’s supply chain to diversify their income by sustainably managing Co+op Forest.
“NCG’s longstanding commitment to Co+op Forest is a nice example of the positive impact businesses can have on the ecosystems they rely on,” said Andrew Nobrega, North American director for PUR Projet. “Each year, Co+op Forest draws more carbon out of the atmosphere, protects biodiversity in a unique and special region of the world and invigorates its local economy. The benefits are multiplying.”
NCG member food co-ops contribute to Co+op Forest when they send staff to select conferences; their air travel emissions are offset through this program. In addition, three NCG co-ops offset emissions associated with a portion of their stores’ operations in 2017:
- Central Co-op, Seattle, WA
- The Common Market, Frederick, MD
- The Food Co-op, Port Townsend, WA
National Co+op Grocers (NCG), founded in 1999, is a business services cooperative for retail food co-ops located throughout the U.S. NCG helps unify food co-ops in order to optimize operational and marketing resources, strengthen purchasing power, and ultimately offer more value to natural food co-op owners and shoppers everywhere. Our 147 member and associate co-ops operate more than 200 storefronts in 37 states with combined annual sales of nearly $2.1 billion. Find a map of NCG member and associate co-ops here.