Watch our latest short film. which focuses on James Fornah, a forester who works for Miro Forestry, a sustainable timber company, in Sierra Leone. Read below to find out more about the company and how we’re working with James and the rest of the team at Miro.
Businesses that take steps to address the challenges of climate change not only benefit the environment but can also boost employment. The International Labour Organisation estimates that moving to a greener economy has the potential to create as many as 60 million new jobs. In West Africa, for example, where 80 per cent of the indigenous forest has been lost to deforestation, businesses that operate to high sustainability standards can help to reduce climate change and provide lasting employment to people living nearby.
How Miro Forestry supports jobs
Miro is a sustainable timber company we’re invested in that employs 1,000 people at its plantations in Sierra Leone and Ghana. With each of these employees typically supporting a further seven people, it’s estimated that the company supports 7,000 people in total. The vast majority live in deprived rural areas, where there are few other opportunities for formal employment.
The company has benefitted local communities beyond providing jobs. By leasing the land directly from villages and paying them a proportion of income from harvesting, it has had a major financial impact on the lives of people in these communities. For example, people in the village of Ranola used the money to build concrete block and steel homes, replacing the wood and thatch buildings where they previously lived.
How Miro Forestry supports the environment
Growing African economies are increasing the demand for wood – usually to heat homes or for use in cooking. By converting severely degraded land back into forestry, Miro is helping to increase the supply of timber, while protecting the endangered indigenous forest it manages.
James Allimamy Fornah joined Miro Forestry in Sierra Leone in 2012, originally in the HR department. His passion for the environment, however, meant he was moved to the forestry team. With continued support and training from the company, James now manages the land and prepares it for planting. James says he’s proud to work at a company that’s having a positive impact:
“Miro and my job are important in so many ways. Sierra Leone has lost most of its natural forest cover due to deforestation which has played a great role in increasing global warming.”
His job with Miro has also helped James to support his wife and daughter:
“When I joined Miro in 2012, I was paying house rent so was a tenant, but after five years of working I can now proudly say I am my own landlord as I was able to build my own house where I stay with my family.”
How we’re invested in Miro Forestry
We invested $15 million in Miro Forestry in 2015 to create jobs and support the forestry industry in West Africa. It was our first direct investment in a business operating in Sierra Leone, and was made as the country’s economy started to recover from the damaging effects of the Ebola crisis.