BOX FOREST SUSTAINABILITY
From the north edges of Melbourne across the Great Dividing Range, through the central Victorian goldfields towards the Murray River, box forest is the major indigenous ecosystem. The dominant trees are eucalypts - yellow box, red box, grey box, red stringybark and mulga. They house a host of marsupials, birds and wildlife. Over half the original box forest cover has been cleared, in the gold rush, and for agriculture and housing. The remainder is rugged and evocative.
Our major motivation for setting up Box Forest is the desire to work on sustainability and environmental programs. Initially our proposition is to help people working in the field with things we know about - organisational structure, funding, governance, business cases. Basically, the paperwork. Over time we want to partner with planners, native nurseries, agri-scientists, sustainable developers, environmental engineers and planners.
Areas where we see sustainability work arising
Ethical enterprise – most people want to come to a decent workplace, make a living, and feel like they are contributing to wellbeing. Businesses use a range of channels to deliver social goods – sponsorships, ethical sourcing, corporate social responsibility, charitable giving, in-kind. Some businesses build the contribution into their financial framework by committing a portion of profits to good causes, or providing free or below-cost services, or supporting a workforce.
Conservation finance – the goal is to bring together a landholder or manager in a position to provide environmental / eco-system benefits with a funder willing or needing to pay for those benefits. Examples are conserving habitat; restoring degraded land; returning water to the environment; covenanting against development. Traditionally, funding has come from government, environmentally conscious individuals and communities, and philanthropists. New funding sources are companies driven by regulated and/or contractual requirements – to purchase biodiversity offsets, carbon abatement and trading, reforestation and rehabilitation.
Renewable energy technology and projects – distributed energy generation is here and will see a blossoming of enterprise in many facets of the energy sector. Mick's legal background is on project work in the traditional delivery chain - finance, construction, procurement, generation, transmission, networks, power purchase and retail. Those sectors are well established, and served by heavyweight operators. We’re more interested in working with contributors on the other side of the table – smart technology providers; community-driven and co-operative projects; joint buying; and builders, landlords, property managers, tenants and body corporates.
Sustainable farming – Melbourne is alright, but the rest of Victoria and the country is where the natural resources are. In this business we are keen to get involved in rural land, soil, water, farming, rural co-operatives and regional infrastructure.