Social Impact

Working in tandem with governments, NGOs and IGOs to improve lives and nature

A healthy, prospering community cannot exist without sustainable resources; they are intrinsically intertwined.

At Obtala, we are in a unique position to bring vital positive impact on Africa’s economic transformation, social development and climate change, through our agriculture and forestry operations. We align ourselves with the majority of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), directly impacting SDG 1 – no poverty; SDG 2- no hunger; SDG 6 - decent work and economic growth; SDG 8 – decent work and economic growth; SDG 9 – industry, innovation and infrastructure; SDG 11- sustainable cities and communities; SDG 13 - climate action; SDG 15 – life on land.

While we fully support a ban on irresponsible and illegal logging, sustainable forest management is, in fact, critical to addressing climate change, as only forests and forestry products can release oxygen into the atmosphere to capture and store carbon for 100 years. Obtala regenerates growth naturally, while complying with government policies to return the forests in the same or better condition as at the inception of the license.

Obtala also supports and invests in renewable energy infrastructure and works with consumers and the public to communicate the advantages of sustainable forest products ahead of less sustainable fiber based products.

At Obtala’s forestry concessions, there are 60 communities and 4,000 farmers. We have been instrumental in building schools, hospitals and infrastructure for these communities while also working with farmers on sustainable harvesting practices and income sources, such as the restoration of degraded areas.

The need for green growth and sustainable agriculture is poignantly clear: Demand for food is surging with the population growth, while GHG emissions are expected to rise by 38 percent from 1990 to 2020 and the effects of climate change are forecast to reduce yields by 10-50 percent by 2050. (Source: FAO)

The role of the private sector and public private partnerships will be pivotal to counter this. We aim to lead by example – bringing small holders into the fold, pioneering solutions for deployment of renewables and transitioning to a low-carbon electricity system.

To continue this important work, we tirelessly champion Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA), sustainable ideologies and community initiatives at every opportunity; from consultations with the African Development Bank, the Africa Carbon Forum, local governments, universities and other Development Finance Institutions.

Obtala is committed to being a responsible organisation, with sustainability and positive social impact as the pillars supporting our business strategy. Working in partnership and building trust with the community are essential for a mutually beneficial relationship.

We strive to look after our employees and their families, creating a positive cascade effect on the wider community. Recent initiatives include the completion of a new school to improve education for future generations, sponsoring upgrades to the local hospital, where a local immunisation initiative was carried out earlier this year.

Where possible, this social responsibility is extended beyond Africa’s borders. Our subsidiary, WoodBois International, was a proud sponsor of a cycling race in Denmark in support of a local children’s cancer charity in June 2017.

Upskilling of our workforce is a priority, to ensure our businesses remain leading-edge with motivated, skilled men and women supporting us as we support them.

Highlights 2017

  • Letter of Intent to Grow Africa, pledging to invest $10m over 5 years in Tanzanian agriculture and its workforce through new infrastructure, training and extending its Outgrower (contract farming) programme.
  • Obtala was awarded the Impact Company of the Year title in the sub-$150m capitalisation category by the Social Stock Exchange (SSX) in recognition of its continued efforts to upskill labour, create green infrastructure and kick-start economic development in our communities.
  • Partnership with TAHA and Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro.
  • Obtala supports and adheres to the World Bank’s Forest Investment Plan and Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) initiatives, which aim to increase productivity, improve food safety and boost famers’ incomes, while enhancing resistance to negative environmental shocks such as droughts and, not least, reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Advanced talks with the African Development Bank to collaborate on agricultural projects, public private partnerships and facilitating the regional and global export of produce.

Obtala reports on Social Impact Initiatives (PDF 25Kb) - View Here

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