Better Globe AS in Norway is the marketing part of their sister company Better Globe Forestry Ltd in Kenya and Uganda. Rino Solberg explains more about the firm and the services that it offers.
Better Globe AS see themselves as one with Better Globe Forestry, and they believe that they cannot present one without the other, as each company possesses the same vision and mission. Rino provides us with a brief overview of the company, who they work with and what services the team offers.
“Here at Better Globe, we sell high quality trees as a valuable commodity with a very good buyback deal, and the trees are planted and processed in Africa by Better Globe Forestry. So, we actually serve customers all over the world, as the sale is mostly done online through our website.
“Additionally, we also sell a second product, something we call a Donation Package, which consists of trees, water, microfinance and support for children, where 100% of the donation part of the package is given to needy farmer families and where two trees are kept for a good profit, for the ones who buys the package and give the donation. Our customers are from all over the world,
as we have sales agents and customers from over 40 countries.”
Possessing both a vision and a mission which align themselves with saving the environment and eradicating poverty, it is important that the company set itself realistic goals, and Rino outlines what steps are necessary in order to achieve this.
“Embedded in the company is our vision which is; ‘To eradicate poverty and corruption in Africa.’ Whilst our mission is; ‘By social entrepreneurship plant as many trees as there are people on this planet and thereby finance a sustainable implementation of our vision’, both of which are key to our success.”
“When looking to reach our goals, our strategy is through a three-pronged approach, the first is to make the tree planting of mahogany the money-making engine behind the whole concept, where money is earned for everybody which is involved, the farmers who plant the trees, the company running the operation, the people who sell trees and the people who buy the trees in the first place.
“Secondly, we also have a microfinance deal for the farmers, to kickstart their entrepreneurship into agroforestry and we teach them how to make the best out of their farms.
“Lastly, we build schools and educate children, in cooperation with the NGO ‘Child Africa International’ and teach them honesty and integrity in order to eradicate corruption long term. So far, after 13 years, we have had great success in all the three areas. After 13 years, of what we call only a ‘Pilot project,’ we have planted over 1.5 million trees, we have helped approx. 5000 families out of extreme poverty and we have helped over 10,000 children through school, but this is just the beginning. In the years to come, we will plant 8-9 billion trees, we will help millions of farmers out of poverty and support millions of children in schools.”
In order to fulfil its targets of planting enough trees in the right amount of time, the company has had to build partnerships, comprising of trust and understanding, enabling a positive outcome. Rino points us towards the firm’s partnership with other laboratories, whilst also hinting at the possibility of Better Globe Forestry opening its own facility.
“For us to manage to plant so many trees fast enough, we have worked with a university forestry laboratory in Ghent in Belgium over a period of 10 years, so we could develop the protocol for cloning out trees in their laboratory. We now have that and in 2018 we will build our own laboratory in Kenya and start cloning our trees there. When that is operating, we will be able to clone millions of trees very fast, so we can speed up the planting process. This way, we will be able to reach our goal of planting 8-9 billion trees and thereby eradicating poverty in Africa.”
Interestingly, Better Globe Forestry is a unique company in the modern times. It is a company that simultaneously puts the planet and its people first, and pays attention to both equally. It is a company consisting of a forward-thinking and purpose-driven attitude, making itself a key component of the community. Rino goes into a bit more detail about the forestry side of Better Globe.
“For a business to serve the world the way Better Globe Forestry does, is the true definition of prosperity with a purpose; that is, the company does not benefit unless the community and the planet do. Planting trees also lays a foundation for a proper education. When Better Globe Forestry plants trees, they give residents the opportunity to educate themselves on farming practices and earn money. With money, they can afford school fees for their children. This process shows that trees are a priceless component for a happy and healthy life.”
Better Globe, as a company, is financed in a way slightly different to other companies, as Rino highlights. Being market driven, the company owns all its processes in a sustainable manner, and its goals and mission help to mark it out as the best possible option for clients.
“Better Globe’s financing is based on a ‘Crowdfunding’ system, where people can buy trees as a commodity, with a fixed buyback deal over 20 years, starting from year five. Better Globe buy the trees back at approx. 12 times the buying price. Anyone can buy one tree or thousands of trees at 17 euro per tree. The first four years they get nothing, but from the fifth to the 19th year we pay 15% down on the buyback deal of the trees. (We have done this for seven years without fail this year). This leave to be paid the 20th year 170 euro, which then total 208.25 euro and we take over the tree. We can do this with very little risk involved, because our trees are high value mahogany trees, which has a safe future market with steady growth and almost no fluctuations over 50 years.
“Furthermore, our sister company, Better Globe Forestry Ltd. is the most recognised forestry company in Kenya today and we have working relationship with all the players in the field we work in. We have MOU’s with Kenya Forestry Service (KFSGovernment), Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) and The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), University of Ghent in Belgium and University of Nairobi, just to mention a few. No other forest company have the same vision and mission and no others have the same approach as Better Globe. Due to our special way for people and companies to buy trees with such high return after 20 years, it is not easy for anybody to compete with us. After all, we have done all the research and mitigated all possible risks for 13 years and today not much can spoil our business model. Most other forestry companies only have one process, they plant trees and then sell timber to the process industries. The downside here is that they are depending on the fluctuations in the paper or building industries.
“Crucial to our success, Better Globe is market driven and will process all the timber into different specially made wooden products and export them direct to the retail shops around the world. We therefore own all our processes in a sustainable manner. As our goal is to plant as many trees as there are people on this planet, it will probably be 8-9 billion trees and this will make a big difference for the environment too.”
Regarding the internal culture within the company, Rino explains how he and the team ensures that all of its staff are always best placed to provide the best service possible to clients.
“Since Better Globe has the vision and goals to eradicate poverty and corruption in Africa and at the same time fight global warming, by taking care of the environment, the people who are attracted to us are mainly people with the same kind of interest. To work with us and to see the results of what we accomplish motivates them extremely well. All we have to do is to give them the tools so they can follow our system and the rest takes care of itself.”
Evidently, the company is doing extremely well and has been acknowledged in the Corporate Excellence Awards 2017 as the Most Compassionate Africa Support Group 2017, and Rino explains how it feels to have been selected and what this means for the company going forwards.
“It is always good to be recognised for the job we do and working in Africa is not the easiest job to take on, so we appreciate the award very much. We are especially happy that there is a recognised magazine like Corporate Vision outside Africa which recognises us too, as we earlier have been recognised several times, both in Kenya and Uganda before. So, a big thank you to Corporate Vision Magazine for considering what we do.
“Better Globe is a market driven company so this is good for our marketing and can be used for building our brand in the international marketplace. Hopefully, some of the readers of your magazine might be interested in our tree planting projects too and want to know more about our Vision and Mission for Africa. Tree planting is also a very good thing to do for the global climate, as trees capture CO2. We can also tailor make very transparent Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) concepts for companies around the world, so that might be interesting for your readers to know about and they are welcome to contact us in this regard.”
Lastly, looking to build on its going success, there are exciting times ahead for Better Globe AS. Rino signs off by pointing us towards a new venture which the firm will undertake, something which has been in the pipeline for almost five years.
“For almost five years, we have planned the kick off for our newest and probably the fastest growing concept of tree planting in the world. It is called Trees4Shopping.com and is a unique loyalty program for online shoppers.
“This will involve us, as a company, making an agreement with online shops of all kinds i.e. cars, supermarkets, clothing, furniture, hotels, airlines, electric appliances, petrol stations and different services etc. Whatever the customer buys from these shops/companies over the whole year, they will get back cash 25% of the total amount as a saving 15 years later. This will lead to that, people who have never had a savings account, receiving this deal automatically when they do their shopping online and it is totally free for them. This way, our partner shops and other companies will beat the competition by giving their customers a savings account that nobody else can compete with and their customers will therefore be their best sales people.”
Contact: Rino Solberg
Contact Email: [email protected]
Address: P.O. Box 410, NO-1502 Moss, Norway
Phone: 47 4644 7606