US co-op grocers respond to Amazon fires by increasing reforestation investment

NCG’s programmes have facilitated the planting and conservation of nearly two million trees in the Amazon

Co-operative grocers in the USA will plant more than 10,300 trees in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest in response to the wildfires devastating the region.

National Co+op Grocers (NCG), a business services co-operative for food retail co-ops in the USA, announced the initiative on 2 October. This investment is part of the co-operative’s Co+op Forest carbon offsetting programme.

“The crisis in the rainforest underscores the importance of our partnership with farmers working to protect the Amazon,” says C.E. Pugh, CEO of NCG. “As a co-operative business, we have a responsibility to care for community and support other co-operatives. Working with our supply chain to develop solutions to the climate crisis is work we pursue on behalf our member co-ops.”

In recent months NCG has planted 3,270 trees in the San Martin region of Peru to offset 1,090 tons of CO2 emissions associated with its 2018 business travel and utilities. And earlier in the year, the co-op planted an additional 7,000 trees in partnership with the fair trade farmers who rely on this region for their livelihood.

With investment from NCG, an additional 82 trees will be planted as part of the Finca a la Media programme, an incubator project for Fairtrade farmers who want to diversify by adopting agroforestry techniques.

“We and the Fairtrade farmers we work with in Peru are invigorated by NCG’s continued commitment to taking responsibility within their international supply chain to invest in farmer livelihood and environmental resiliency,” says Mathieu Senard, co-founder of PUR Projet, the international organisation NCG partners with to plant Co+op Forest. “Food co-ops have long been committed allies of fair trade co-operatives and farmers, it is wonderful to see them working together to elevate their impact in this way.”

NCG has been contributing to the PUR project for seven years. To date, the co-op’s programmes have facilitated the planting and/or conservation of nearly two million trees in the Amazon. NCG includes 148 member and associate co-ops, which operate more than 200 stores in 38 states with combined annual sales over US$2.1bn.