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© Jittrapon Kaicome for WWF Thailand

Formulation of social enterprises business plan for restoration of forest, local food system and community, livelihood, in complementary with FLR349 Project

As we face global environmental challenges, new strategies for conservation and socio-economic upliftment are emerging. A notable initiative is the Formulation of Social Enterprises Business Plan, a component of the Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR349) Project. This pioneering initiative identifies community enterprise as a key strategy for combining forest restoration with the enhancement of local food systems and community livelihoods. This report presents a case study of how the establishment of a community enterprise can facilitate these dual objectives.

The FLR349 Project, in its essence, seeks to simultaneously restore degraded landscapes and enhance local livelihoods. The project has recognized that for conservation efforts to be sustainable, they must provide tangible benefits to the communities that inhabit these landscapes. This realization has led to the incorporation of the social enterprise model into the FLR349's framework.

Social enterprises are businesses with a dual purpose - to generate profit and create positive social impact. They sit at the intersection of the traditional non-profit and for-profit sectors, aiming to harness the power of business to address social and environmental challenges. In the context of FLR349, the community enterprise is seen as a vehicle to drive both forest restoration and economic development at a local level.

This case study focuses on a community that embarked on the journey of setting up its enterprise as part of the FLR349 project. The idea was to engage the community members in activities that would both restore the forest and provide a source of income.

The chosen enterprise was the cultivation of indigenous tree species for reforestation efforts, and the development of a local food system based on sustainable agricultural practices. The cultivation of trees not only provided the seedlings needed for reforestation but also a source of income, as these seedlings were sold to other communities and stakeholders involved in forest restoration. The local food system, on the other hand, ensured food security for the community and surplus produce was sold to generate additional income.

The community enterprise was designed to be owned and managed by community members, ensuring that the benefits accrued stayed within the community. This ownership has a ripple effect of empowering the community, enabling them to be key actors in the value chain and contributing to local economic development.

However, setting up the enterprise was not without its challenges. It required capacity building for the community members in business management, sustainable farming techniques, and understanding of the market dynamics. Despite these challenges, the commitment of the community members, coupled with continuous support and guidance from the FLR349 project team, enabled the enterprise to take off.

This case study showcases the power of social enterprise in conservation efforts. By embedding livelihood enhancement into its conservation strategy, the FLR349 project ensures its sustainability. The community enterprise is not only a source of income but also a source of pride for the community members. It embodies their commitment to protect and restore their environment while improving their socio-economic status.

The success of this community enterprise serves as a beacon for other communities within the FLR349 project. It provides a roadmap on how to set up a community enterprise, highlighting the importance of community engagement, capacity building, and creating market linkages.

In conclusion, the integration of community enterprises into conservation strategies, as exemplified by the FLR349 project, provides a compelling model for achieving environmental sustainability and socio-economic development. It recognizes the community as the central actor in conservation efforts and utilizes enterprise as a tool to drive positive change.

Community Enterprise for restoration of forest, local food system, and community livelihood

How good would it be, if every time you consume food you are helping restore forests?

FLR349 SD is a model that drives for sustainable development through the King’s philosophy of ‘Three Forests, Four Benefits’ to educate and develop smallholder farmers’ capacity in changing their farming methods.

And from FLR349 SD we developed value chain and established social enterprises that fosters sustainability. A community enterprise is the core of a mechanism that propels marketing success to support equitably income distribution and generate alternative career choices that corresponds with the FLR349 project’s goals to restore forests.

The profits generated through the community enterprise will be cycled back to farmers and communities, and to reforestation efforts.

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