Why did we start TERRAGRN?
TERRAGRN is a global private-sector venture to deliver nature-based solutions within local communities to address one of the causes of global warming: the build-up of CO2 in the atmosphere.
Over the last few decades, we have observed rising surface temperatures and melting ice caps, resulting in hurricanes, cyclones, floods, bush fires, droughts, and locust swarms. The growth in the global energy demand is only increasing CO2 emissions into the atmosphere due to fossil fuel usage. It is well understood that we need to shift to renewable energy and reduce fossil-fuel burn (i.e., coal, natural gas, petroleum), thereby keeping the carbon sequestered eons ago to remain sequestered.
Governments and the private sector have committed billions of dollars to deliver clean energy and carbon capture technologies. These technologies are still being matured and have their inherent challenges for scale use. We need to complement these attempts with more human and nature-based solutions. Our forests around the world provide the largest natural sinks for sequestering carbon.
Africa has enormous potential in its land, people, and cultures. By the turn of the century, Africa’s deforestation rate was twice that of the global average and several old-growth forests were disappearing. Numerous initiatives including the AFR100 (www.afr100.org) are currently in progress across Africa to regenerate forests.
We see these afforestation initiatives as extremely important to fight climate change, save our biodiversity – several million species of life forms and create livelihoods for local communities. While Governments have an important role in setting policy, responsibilities to deliver climate action rest with all – individuals, private enterprises, and the public sector.
With TERRAGRN, we have set our mission to create large sustainable, fast-growing, forests that would not only remove millions of tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere and reduce millions of tonnes of CO2 emissions for our customers from biomass usage but also support socio-economic development within local communities. Bamboo provides an ideal solution. Bamboo is fast-growing, emits more oxygen than most plants, and absorbs more CO2 than most. We will only plant non-invasive, clumping, varieties of bamboo that grow in several parts of the world, and when co-planted with other nitrogen-fixer plants can ensure soil health and enhance biodiversity. Bamboo can be harvested sustainably. We would harvest only 30% of the bamboo growth in each clump, and the lost green cover will get replenished within 6-9 months due to the fast growth. To plant tens of millions of bamboo saplings we will use the proven plant tissue culture method as most other approaches would not be practical.
Our first project is planned in South Africa, where we are securing large contiguous arable land for developing our biodiversity-compliant forest. Our goal is to protect the existing local biodiversity while creating this forest. We plan to collaborate with the local communities and create tens of thousands of new jobs through this project. We will employ and up-skill hundreds of local women entrepreneurs to lead the forest development and the production of our end-product – the bamboo biomass pellets.
TERRAGRN is a purpose-led venture that will contribute to achieving several Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) outlined by the United Nations and requires a large investment of patient capital until we turn first revenues. Over the medium to long term, TERRAGRN will deliver significant socio-economic, financial, and climate-related benefits. We will partner with financial institutions and ESG-oriented organisations to achieve this endeavour.
Founders of TERRAGRN