Reforestation of previously unused areas of land is giving thousands of Kenyan smallholder farmers the chance of a new livelihood and protecting endangered forests against illegal logging. The AXA Impact Fund for Climate and Biodiversity is one of AXA's many sustainability initiatives and supports projects worldwide such as these to the value of USD 350 million in total.
Between 2000 and 2012, East Africa lost 6 million hectares of forest, and unless the situation is reviewed, it could lose a further 12 million hectares by 2030. The situation is particularly acute in Kenya where two million hectares of dry forest are seriously endangered due to the rising demand for wood products.
Forestry company Komaza has been working with smallholder farmers on the Kenyan coast to counteract increased logging since 2008. Together they are using degraded and unused land on which to plant new trees that farmers can sell for timber processing. This protects other forests from logging, unused land is allocated for forestry management and farmers' income is improved in the long term.
The farmers provide the land and workforce while Komaza supplies seeds, technical expertise and access to the value creation chain so that the trees can be sold at a fair price for the benefit of the farmers. So far, Komaza has already planted more than six million trees on 5,000 hectares of land and improved the financial situation of more than 25,000 farmers.
Under its Impact Investing Strategy, AXA Group not only supports numerous other projects, but also assists Komaza's reforestation efforts by providing USD 8 million. This will enable the forestry company to significantly expand its activities. The aim is to expand the planting of trees on 37,000 hectares and extend the partnership from 25,000 to 50,000 farmers. The planted trees will also boost climate protection and help absorb up to 17.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions by 2030.
For every tree harvested, two new ones will be planted in order to secure the number of trees and reforestation on a sustainable basis. The targeted reforestation will counteract illegal logging, protect primary forests and their biodiversity, and help give farmers a climate-resistant income that will make them less vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
As a life insurance company and major global investor, AXA is actively committed to protecting biodiversity and preserving the natural balance of our planet. The AXA Impact Fund is one of the global initiatives with which AXA is systematically investing in sustainable projects for the benefit of the environment and people, and making a contribution towards six of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. These impact investments cover a broad spectrum of social and ecological topics, and are aimed at building a better and sustainable future. In addition to numerous other sustainability initiatives, AXA Switzerland has invested USD 15 million in the AXA Impact Fund which has increased its investment volume worldwide to USD 350 million.
The AXA Impact Fund is available exclusively to AXA Group companies and not to other investors.