CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES IN THE MIDST OF THE CURRENT HEALTH CRISIS
The current health crisis has affected the revitalization of environmental investments. At this moment our clients are assimilating the impacts and changes that the current contingency will have in their operations. Despite this, we have not received any request regarding changes in the intentions to purchase biodiversity credits or to renegotiate commitments. However, we are aware and understand that this situation can generate inconveniences in the availability of resources and delays in several operations.
In our pioneering project, the Habitat Bank of Meta, we are moving on schedule largely thanks to the commitment of the owner and the operating model in which all labor used for on-site activities is local. We have had minor delays associated with the supply chain, but we managed to overcome them, thus ensuring the necessary provisioning. For its part, the implementation phase of new Habitat Banks has been delayed, as the pace of negotiations for the acquisition or securing of land has slowed down.
We are addressing our challenges from different perspectives and proposing solutions to meet each agreed milestone. Through the commercial area, we have contacted each client to assess the risks and contingencies that the projects may present. We are hoping that these actions will strengthen the relationship with customers through the exchange of timely information and an increase in the positive impacts of environmental investments. We have also contacted the environmental authorities to assess how they are approaching the implementation and compliance of environmental requirements, and we have developed a strategy to connect local partners in La Guajira and Bajo Cauca in Antioquia, so that we can remain present in the territories and move forwards with managerial procedures until the time for field mobilization is required.
From a financial perspective, we continue to foster our creativity by seeking new models of income generation that may be compatible with the Habitat Bank project. We are currently working on the generation of carbon credits, in order to consolidate a business strategy in addition to biodiversity credits, and to have a more exhaustive approach to the territories. We are also working on making our operation as efficient as possible and maximizing management results for the new Banks that are being structured. We are confident that the long-term outlook of the Habitat Bank’s business model makes us less vulnerable to the current crisis, however, we remain vigilant to changing market conditions. We remain 100% committed to aligning our projected financial and conservation goals with our clients and partners.
ACTIONS IMPLEMENTED IN THE HABITAT BANK OF META GIVEN THE HEALTH CONTINGENCY ASSOCIATED WITH COVID-19
The health contingency due to the coronavirus represents a major challenge to the continuity of activities in the Habitat Banks, as there have been movement restrictions and delays in the supply chain. However, thanks to our operating model in which priority is given to local labor, and to effective communication between the Terrasos technical team and the Habitat Bank operator, we have managed to continue with our activities, ensuring not only compliance with our schedule, but also the generation of income for the owners of properties that are being conserved and the creation of local jobs that contribute to regional development.
Whar are we doing?
Since last March we began fencing the perimeter of zone one of the Habitat Bank; one of the two zones that comprise the total project. Our team of Baquianos Guardabosques has advanced in the work of cleaning, mapping, hole digging, ramming, laying and tightening the wire to build the fences, in areas bordering with pastures and alleys for cattle passage and to protect the forests located inside the Bank . At the end of May this year, 100% compliance with this activity was achieved with more than 15 km of fence installed. Parallel to the fences, control and surveillance tours were started within the Bank area, to identify and report potential factors of interference with the restoration and conservation strategies, and to implement corrective measures if needed.
Motivated by the successful and safe progress of the scheduled activities, we have begun the first collection of seed sources, in order to have the necessary material for the active restoration strategies. Additionally, sessions will be held to collect sand and adapt the space for the construction of the nursery, to thus begin the process of making organic fertilizers, and will continue with the tours by Baquianos Guardabosques.
We are aware that not having a physical presence during this period at the Habitat Bank is a way of protecting and safeguarding the workers and people who live on the premises. However, we will continue working in an attempt to meet the goals and objectives set, in coordination with the landowner and the Baquianos Guardabosques. Through this work strategy, we guarantee the conservation and protection of areas of special ecological importance, not only in the Habitat Bank of Meta, but also of other projects throughout the country, since the implementation of solid and effective actions in the field will promote the conditions for resilience and sustainability in the territories.
PROGRESS IN THE MANAGEMENT AND ESTABLISHMENT PLAN OF THE HABITAT BANK OF ANTIOQUIA
Currently, the Habitat Bank of Antioquia is not implementing obligations derived from biodiversity offsets or compulsory investment of 1% for water usage. However, in order to have a timely and adequate management around the assurance and operation of this area, we are carrying out a series of activities to fulfill the commitments acquired, both with the Ministry of Environment, as well as with the owners and catalyst partners of the project.
In order to establish the methodology to begin the Bank's operation, May and June this year were devoted to moving forward with the preparation of the Establishment and Management Plan, an asset where the actions to be carried out in the short, medium and long term are proposed. This Plan also establishes the actions that will make it possible to eliminate barriers to conservation, with the aim of achieving, among other goals, the restoration of degraded and artificial coverings, as well as the protection of forest coverings that are in good state of conservation.
For Terrasos, the feedback of its methodologies and procedures in the field by the academy and the environmental authorities is very important, for this reason, in May this year, the Plan was socialized with the Technical Board. Different universities in the country, potential clients, organizations with consulting experience and environmental authorities participated as guests. This Board not enabled our making adjustments to the Management Plan, but also allowed us to strengthen our collaborative networks, which are aimed at ensuring that interventions in the territory are timely, of great impact and for the long-term.
In line with generating a network of collaboration and participation between the different actors of the Habitat Bank of Antioquia, we have been working on a relations and pre-accession strategy with stakeholders, with which we hope to move forward in integrating the different parties that are connected to the Habitat Bank and the benefits that can be obtained in the territory. As part of the pre-accession strategy are the academy, the communities neighboring the Habitat Bank, the local government, among others. When mobilizing to the territories becomes feasible, we expect to have the first face-to-face meetings and advance in the proposed objectives.
Negotiations with our potential clients continue and in line with this, the Habitat Bank of Antioquia is authorized to sale credits and comply with the offsets and environmental investment obligations of the interested parties. In addition, we are in constant and fluid communication with the property owners and collaborators who ensure the care of the selected areas, providing support to address any situation that may arise.