It was a local hiker who noticed, during a backwoods stroll in May 2012, the remains of the body. The victim in question: an 800-year-old cedar tree. Fifty meters tall and with a trunk three meters in circumference, the cedar was one of the crown jewels in Canada’s Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park. Now all that remained was a minivan-sized section of its trunk, surrounded by shards of wood and dust, with broken heavy equipment chains lying nearby.
This park is firmly rooted, filled with centuries old Sitka spruce and cedar that impose a towering permanence. These trees are also an integral part of the forest ecosystem: moss and lichen grow on them, mushrooms sprout from the damp bark at their base. Their branches are home to endangered birds like the tiny grey and white marbled murrelet, which scientists presumed regionally extinct until they found a lone bird in the Carmanah.
But lately, these living ecosystems have been disappearing across the province. In the past decade, forest investigators have found themselves fielding cases in which more than 100 trees were stolen at once.
The Carmanah hiker, Colin Hepburn, happened to be a member of the activist group Wilderness Committee. He called Torrance Coste, the protection group’s regional campaigner, who alerted British Columbia Parks and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). A week later, Coste travelled from Victoria to the Carmanah. Coming upon the old growth’s stump was “overwhelming,” he says. He demonstrated its immense size by lying down on it, sitting on it and standing on it in news photos.
The province took the case seriously. The theft was jointly investigated by BC Parks, the RCMP and the province’s Conservation Officer Service, but with no promising leads, the RCMP dropped the case within a few months. BC Parks keeps the file open; Don Closson, the area’s supervisor, says they are waiting to breathe new life into it. But if history is any indication, that isn’t likely to happen: When it comes to the underground world of black market timber, the case of this 800-year-old cedar is just the tip of the iceberg.
Global timber theft has grown into a “rapidly escalating environmental crime wave” according to a 2012 report by the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and Interpol, titled Green Carbon, Black Trade. The report estimates that somewhere between 15 to 30 per cent of the global timber trade is conducted through the black market and linked to organized crime outfits that wouldn’t balk at trading weapons or humans. Now with armed “timber cartels” as part of their operation, these groups have identified profit in the immense value of ancient nature.
Every summer, Interpol and the UNEP hold a conference in Nairobi where they convene over issues in international poaching and black market trade. In the past couple of years, the conference has been focused on elephant poaching and timber theft. Wood, says the UNEP, is the new ivory: a natural resource valued for its scarcity and beauty, which takes decades to grow but just moments to destroy.
The process of upcycling converts waste into want. In making these garments, coconut husks were upcycled into an odor-resistant, fast drying, Cocotex® yarn. They are then blended with Repreve® recycled plastic bottles polyester yarns to create the perfect performance boardshort fabric that you can wear and enjoy. This reduces the amount of waste in the oceans and in landfills, giving you style you can feel good about.
Climate change has been a great threat to coffee production in the world recently. So Nicaragua is changing its coffee production , it is investing in a disease-resistant variety of coffee to protect its export, reports Manila Bulletin. Coffee is one of Nicaragua’s key export crop.
The variety, according to the report, has a higher level of caffeine, disease resistant, and faster production, even though it has a lower price in the market and is of a lower quality. Without that, the advantage is that it can resist the climate change and will be beneficial to small producers.
Luis Chamorro, who is an executive member of the Mercon Group says this variety of robusta coffee is profitable, has high productivity, low cost of production and a high potential. Mercon group plans to produce the variety on 7,000 hectares in the eastern region of the country.
There is no sleeping in in the city of Leon. Even for those nestled, as I am, behind the sheltering walls of a converted convent – walls thicker than anything built in the intervening three centuries – 7am is wake-up time. That is when a loud siren sounds across the town, rousing any sleepyheads and reminding them that it is time to get up and go to work. A second siren sounds at midday, announcing lunchtime.
It is an odd ritual, redolent of life on a plantation. A local tells me the practice used to be common across Nicaragua. Back when workers were too poor to afford clocks or watches, it ensured everyone got to work on time. Today, the only place it is still practised is in Leon, which seems slightly odd, given that this is Nicaragua’s foremost student city. Perhaps it is the only way they can get students to show up for their morning lectures.
I have never come across a city-wide wake-up call anywhere else in the world, but then, Nicaragua is different. Central America’s poorest country has a lost-in-time feeling, with a laidback pace that has disappeared from most corners of the globe. The country does not feature on many must-visit lists, but it is hoping to change that, aiming to reinvent itself as tourist destination. Given its magnificent natural attractions, from soaring volcanoes and massive lakes to dense jungles and wonderfully preserved colonial cities, it should be an easy sell.
Please click here for the rest of the article.
Vita Coco, the world’s leading brand of coconut water, is exploring a sale of the company that could value it at up to $1 billion, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Vita Coco’s parent company — whose investors include celebrities Madonna and Matthew McConaughey — has hired JP Morgan to advise it on a sale, three sources said. They declined to be identified as the matter is private.
Any sale of U.S.-based Vita Coco would come as traditional fizzy drink sales continue to slow and consumers increasingly turn to healthier drinks like coconut water.
The business could attract interest from beverage companies such as PepsiCo (PEP.N), Coca-Cola (KO.N) or Dr Pepper Snapple (DPS.N), which late last year paid $1.7 billion for anti-oxident drink maker Bai Brands. PepsiCo and Coke are already the No. 2 and 3 producers of coconut water.
April 13, 2017
By Frank Holmes
CEO and Chief Investment Officer
U.S. Global Investors
As if you need more proof that inflation is finally starting to pick up, lumber prices rose to a 12-year high this week, supported mainly by expectations that steep duties will soon be levied on cheap softwood imports from Canada. Lumber futures rose to nearly $415 per thousand board feet on Monday, a level unseen since March 2005, soon after homeownership peaked here in the U.S.
At issue is a mini-trade war between U.S. and Canadian loggers. For some time now, the American lumber industry has blamed its Canadian counterpart of unfairly dumping lumber in the U.S. that’s far below market value. Now, several factors are pushing timber prices higher. Chief among them are the likelihood of duties being raised at the Canadian border, possibly as early as next month; President Donald Trump’s calls to renegotiate NAFTA; and growing demand for new homes following the housing crisis as consumer optimism improves and millennial buyers finally seem eager to enter the market.
One-third of all those who moved out of poverty in Latin America over the past decade will likely slide back. That’s 30 million people. Another 200 million are considered vulnerable.
Traditional solutions to address societal challenges – led by governments, international organizations and non-profits – are important, but by themselves they won’t be enough, especially if we are to meet the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
So who or what can bridge the gap? The private sector.
The private sector has always played a small part in tackling the region’s challenges, but not at enough scale. This is likely to change as more asset owners, asset managers and corporations in the region embrace impact investing – investments made into companies, organizations and funds with the intention of generating social and environmental impact as well as a financial return.
Impact investors work in sectors such as sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, conservation, microfinance, and affordable and accessible basic services including housing, healthcare, and education. These investments are being made in both emerging and developed markets, and are targeting a wide range of returns – from market rate (or above) to below market rate, depending on the investors’ strategic goals. A 2016 survey reported over $77 billion in impact investment assets under management, with the intention to increase annual capital committed by 16% in the following year.
Of course, as worthy as these goals sound, what most decisions-makers in the C-suite want to know is: does it make financial sense? The data we have so far suggests it does.