Johan Eliasch, chairman and CEO of sporting-goods group Head, founded Cool Earth to work with local communities to protect forests around the world.
“With the help of Frank Field, the smart and unconventional British politician, in 2007 I launched the NGO Cool Earth. The UK-US charity refined the model by working with indigenous communities in Peru, Ecuador, and the DR Congo to put local people back in control of the forest.
By offering an alternative to offers of quick cash from loggers, Cool Earth makes sure communities with most to lose from deforestation actually gain the most from its protection. In nine years, Cool Earth has built schools, clinics, fish farms and co-operatives that boost life chances and livelihoods.
From an initial target of saving 4,500 acres of rainforest, Cool Earth and its community partners now protect over 650,000 acres. Even more important, we ask every community to ask their neighbours to work with them. As a result, the acres we protect form long shields that even more forest inaccessible to loggers.
For an issue as intractable as tropical deforestation, there are no quick answers. Helping communities on the ground protect the forest upon which they depend is a good place to start.”