Between August & December 20131, and for the third year in a row, Danone partners up with Group Casino to support a project lead by SOS SAHEL – an almost 40-year-old NGO whose “vocation is to improve the livelihoods of the population at the heart of Africa.” The project, called “Together, let’s plant one million trees,” aims at restoring African ecosystems, which are deeply impaired by deforestation and droughts, through the planting of tree species with high environmental, economical and social value, in collaboration with the local populations.
Economic, social and environmental benefits
The principle is quite simple: between August & December 2013, for each Danone or Casino product purchased (among a selection), one tree will be planted in the Sahel1,2,3. In total, 1 million trees are set to take root in Burkina Faso, and Ethiopia this year. In 2011, when the partnership was first launched, 1 million trees were planted in Burkina Faso and Niger; in 2012, 1 million more in the same countries, while in the South of Ethiopia the operation helped setting a pilot programme.
Thanks to the 2013 operation, 3 million trees will have been planted in the Sahel over the course of 3 years.
The idea behind the project is to go beyond “mere” reforestation: it is meant to ensure that the local agricultural communities can live and work among healthy and sustainable ecosystems that are able to guarantee their food safety. Trees are in fact a powerful element on environmental, social and economical accounts: they help restore the soils, they provide food and they create extra revenues for the local populations. In a harsh climatological and ecological context (the aftermath of the 1970’s and 1980’s violent droughts and the severe impacts of human activity), they are proving to be more precious and necessary than ever.
The participation of local communities
The project takes its strength and pertinence from the fact that it calls to the participation of the communities and of local professionals. As Nicolas Tandano, a nurseryman in Manni (Burkina Faso) explained, “the SOS SAHEL teams and I are real partners: they allow me to develop my activity thanks to the equipment and the training they provide. They also put me in contact with clients I provide the trees to.” The beneficiaries are also included in the whole process and informed on the importance of restoring their own ecosystems. “I am proud to participate in the preservation of my country. (….) Everyone is realising the importance of reforesting, thus my activity is developing beyond my partnership with SOS SAHEL: the benefits are durable, on a social and economic level as much as on the environmental level.”
The “Together, let’s plant one million trees” operation is on-going until the 4th of December. To learn more about it, visit SOS SAHEL’s website.
1Dates change according to the Group Casino banner involved (Géant Casino, Super Casino, Franprix, Monoprix, Petit Casino & Spar).
2Among a selection identified in store
3And in the limit of 1 million trees.
Photo from: © Alexandre Gélébart/20 Minutes/SOS SAHEL