HOW 180 WORKS

The 180.works approach

Addressing the root-causes
The 180.works approach has been developed based on a thorough analysis of many initiatives around reforestation and forest protection. Based on this research, we identified four bottlenecks that is hampering the sustainability and scalability of tree protection and tree production. Please find below an overview of these four ‘weakest links’ and how 180.works will address these.

A) Most current initiatives are run as projects with an end date: NGO’s and commercial initiatives are focused on short-term results, either because projects are based on time-bound donor-funding or because investors wanted to see a short-term return on their investments. The challenge however, is that curbing the trends that are causing climate change, cannot be solved by a project approach. What is required is redeveloping an entire ecosystem in such a way that it will become self-sustaining.

180.works is applying a business-like hybrid funding approach whereas sponsors help to ignite the change in the ecosystem by adopting trees without commercial interest. At the same time, semi-commercial activities are developed in joint ventures with all stakeholders including the local community. The result is long-term self-sustainability whereas all stakeholders get a fair share of the benefits to continue their support but without the need for additional funds.

B) Not incorporating the interest of the local people: Deforestation is mainly caused by the need for food thus agricultural land, firewood for cooking, or timber for construction and furniture. Overall, these activities create also employment and a source of income. If there is no proper solution to accommodate and engage the local community based on a thorough understanding of their needs, then there could be all kinds of side-effects like theft, sabotage, and political resistance.

180.works has developed a mixed implementing approach where food production, energy supply, and a source of income are incorporated in tree protection and tree production. This is done by applying a smart community assessment to develop a unique mixed planting plan (MPP), specifying the different types of trees in different locations, each with their purpose to serve the community, the sponsors, and semi-commercial investors. This also includes training and material supply that empowers eco-friendly cooking.

C) The current approach to address climate change by tree protection and tree production is very fragmented, one-directional, or -from a global perspective- small scale. Most pieces of the puzzle to solve climate change have been developed but there is limited alignment and connection between the pieces. There is a lack of standardization and uniformity. The result is: no synergy and limited room for scalability.

180.works will develop a scalable platform that will be used globally to connect all stakeholders and leverage universal best practices and solutions to solve local challenges. It will also be used to link all stakeholders in the value chain and make an investment in tree protection and tree production affordable and accessible to all that have the interest to create a better more sustainable world. Applying a platform approach will create a flywheel to speed up curbing the trend while connecting people around the world as we all share the same air we breathe.

D) There is limited transparency and therefore limited trust: It has proven to be very hard or very costly to monitor the development and impact of sustainable forest management. As a result, there are no early warning indicators and no timely actions or corrective measures that create confidence. Investors and sponsors may be reluctant to participate because of this limited transparency and controls. The result is that it becomes difficult to scale up and create a flywheel with a truly global impact.

180.works will leverage the latest technology to maximize transparency at a reasonable cost. For sponsors, this implies that every tree will get its own tree-unique-identifier (TUN) where progress on carbon offset (non-rights) can be monitored. For investors, we will make use of recognized monitoring authorities and satellite technology for fast and accurate information. In a later stage, this will also be used for certification for carbon rights and FSC.

 Interconnected layers to ring-fence the weakest links

Forest protection and expansion requires ‘layers of defense’ to ensure sustainability. Below a graphical representation of these layers whereas each layer is like a ‘ring’, surrounding the core forest where you can find the oldest indigenous trees with the largest biodiversity that should be protected with all efforts.

A practical example

In summary, the 180.works approach will ensure that:

  • A mixture of trees, consisting of forest trees, fast growing soil improvement trees and fruit trees, are planted in and around existing forests to capture carbon permanently, improve biodiversity and reduce soil-erosion.
  • The land where these trees are planted is given to 180.works in concession by the Government of Malawi and therefore it is illegal to cut these trees.
  • There is however, a local need for food, energy, and timber and therefore 180.works is setting up joint ventures with the local communities to plant ‘community-trees’.
  • These ‘community trees’ will provide fruits, firewood and timber such that the people are not tempted to cut sponsor trees and take ownership of their own trees.
  • works will develop these semi-commercial activities to cover the cost for sponsor-tree protection such that the whole set-up becomes self-sustaining.
  • To ensure that the carbon emission of burning firewood by the local community is not forfeiting the purpose, thousands of fuel-efficient cookstoves will be provided that are 70% more efficient. This means 70 % reduction of need for firewood.
  • There is also a big and increasing need for timber and firewood in the cities which could still threaten forestation in the rural area’s if not properly addressed.
  • This will be solved by setting up dedicated commercial projects for creating new forest plantations on bare plantation land for firewood trees. Those trees, at the time of harvest, will be transformed into firewood pellets, for which there is a huge demand.
  • What will happen is that these new firewood and timber forests with ‘investment trees’ will be continuously replanted once trees are cut for serving the needs of the cities.
  • For the cities, more cooking efficiency can be created by creating wood pellets which are not only easier to store and transport but also burn with less CO2 emission.