News + Events
Q & A with Forest First CEO Tobey Russ and CFO Jonathan Dodd on climate change mitigation and sustainable forestry in Colombia
Dec 5th, 2023
Community + Social
Social and economic betterment of our employees is extremely important to us. We strive to go above “what is required” and we do what is the responsible and right thing to do. Here are some of the activities we have undertaken:
Quarter 2, 2023
• May 28th – 31st we held several job fairs in anticipation of future processing and harvesting job openings. Events were held in Puerto Carreño, Aceitico, Puerto Murillo, Morichalito and La Venturosa. Approx. 300 people participated and we received positive job interest. Locals were enthused at having the opportunity to be taken into consideration for future roles. We expect this initiative will contribute towards reducing the lead time between operational headcount requests and actual hiring.
• We held a women only workshop to communicate job opportunities and allow them to express their concerns in a safe space. This was a successful activity and allowed many women to register for potential work.
• Engagement activities were increased beyond Venturosa in anticipation of our expansion plans and in order to increase our regional impact. In particular, we are targeting the Aceitico population and the Puerto Murillo and La Mayera indigenous communities.
• Venturosa had a sport event for the children. We donated food and drinks after the sport competition took place. Adults also participated in sport events so we donated football kits both for the men and women’s teams.
• We donated 100 native tree seedlings to the school in Aceitico as part of our celebration of the international tree and earth day. Trees were planted by the school children and staff.
Health & Safety
• Total man hours works without LTI (Lost Time Injury) is 257,118 hours to date (year 2023). Our target goal is 900,000.
• As part of our ESG commitment we are planning a contractor audit to ensure alignment in our understanding of health and safety matters and human resources.
Environment + Biodiversity
• We continue to be hard at work on an environmental and social action plan, based on IFC PS, since FinnFund’s investment in 2017.
• Our Environmental Lead, alongside a member from Fundación Omacha, held training sessions on armadillos in the school in Venturosa, San Cristobal and Paraiso camps. The aim of the training is to expand our collaborators and contractor´s knowledge of this specie as they are widely hunted for their meat. Armadillos are endemic to the Llanos Orientales and are a critical specie to maintain the ecological balance in the region. In addition, we want people to be aware that Armadillos can be carriers of leprosy, and therefore it is best to avoid direct contact and eat their meat.
• Communications have started regarding the environmental team’s progress. Banners have been posted in all our campsites in visible places. In May we issued communication on the Armadillo training sessions, our new recycling methodology and the results of our water monitoring program. This is important as an additional training tool and to generate awareness of results obtained through monitoring.
• We continue to grow our wood sales and have now delivered over 5,600 m3 of logs in 2023.
• Our sawmill is now on site and installation is underway. Our treatment cylinder is on route and expected to arrive in August.
Quarter 1, 2023
• We participated in the 40th Anniversary of the town of La Venturosa by donating food for the sports event. The celebrations included visitors from the local villages of Puerto Murillo and Aceitico.
• We sponsored a workshop, in association with the Colombian Children Protection Agency – ICBF, around self care for the children of La Venturosa school. This was the first in a series of workshops in which children can learn about the importance of taking care of themselves and how to do so.
• We held a workshop on community fire use, impact, and risks, in association with the National University. The objective is to promote good practices and provide support around fire management.
• The indigenous Morichalito Matsuldani community has expressed interest in participating in new job vacancies. This is a very welcome development but many its community members have limited knowledge in preparing a CV and going through a selection process. During March, the social lead and one of our H&S coordinators helped to train community members in how to complete a CV so they are prepared when we conduct a local recruiting fair, expected in May.
• With an increased focus on indigenous peoples in Colombia, generally, we have engaged consultant who has experience in indigenous stakeholder engagement. They help us develop our strategic plan for near term, medium term, and long term relationships with indigenous peoples in our area of influence. Initial visits by the consultant to these communities were received very positively and we received very good feedback for our proactive approach.
Quarter 4, 2022
• As it is tradition during the Christmas season, we participated in the celebrations by donating a total of 256 gifts for the children in Venturosa, Aceitico, the indigenous community of Morichalito and ICBF, the children protection agency in Puerto Carreno.
• We closed 2022 with extended and improved relationships at the local and regional level. We invested in increasing our internal capabilities for community and stakeholder engagement. As a result, we have an effective team articulating our messages to local and regional peoples.