Helping family and community enterprises meet their goals.
Green Value helps small enterprises monitor and evaluate costs and income, negotiate fair prices, improve financial management and transparency, and strengthen their long-term sustainability.
Communities control approximately one-third of forests in developing countries. Family and community forest management has been promoted by many governments and non-profit organizations over the last 15 to 20 years as a way to help conserve tropical forests while generating income for rural families.
While many forest-based initiatives (FIs), including family businesses and community-based forest enterprises, have successfully assumed technical aspects of sustainable forest management, building enterprise management capacity has been a far greater challenge. Earth Innovation Institute (EII) and the US Forest Service developed Green Value: A tool for simplified financial analysis of forest-based initiatives to help FIs monitor and evaluate costs and income, negotiate fair prices, improve their financial management and transparency, and strengthen the sustainability of their businesses.
Green Value was originally developed for community timber enterprises in Brazil, but has since been successfully used throughout the Amazon region and in Guatemala with initiatives selling a variety of products and services, including Brazil nuts, crafts, tourism, and carbon credits. To date, EII and partner organizations have trained almost 250 people in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Guatemala in how to use Green Value. Participants have included representatives of family and community enterprises, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and private individuals or companies. During the workshops, over 40 products and services were analyzed by participants, including several types of timber and non-timber forest products and services. Many trainees also participanted in Knowledge Sharing Events to discuss their experiences in applying Green Value, as well as factors that affect the financial viability of FIs, including policies, markets, and business innovations. EII and partners will continue to improve Green Value and train professionals who work with FIs in the region, as well as monitor the impacts of the use of Green Value.
Green Value events in Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Peru
WHAT IS Green Value?
Green Value provides six steps for monitoring and analyzing costs and revenues. It is comprised of a User's Guide and a series of preformatted worksheets (in spreadsheet software) for entering and analyzing data. The worksheets correspond to each of the six steps.
Users begin by defining their financial goals for the period to be analyzed, what information they will collect, and the responsibilities for collecting and entering this information in Step 1. Then in Steps 2 and 3, information is collected and entered by activity and by input category (labor, materials and services, machinery and equipment, and administration). Income information is also collected and entered in Steps 2 and 3. The worksheets for Step 4 are set up to automatically calculate subtotals per type of input. In Step 5, a summary worksheet brings all of the costs and income into one table and provides results for several indicators, including total cost per activity, total cost per input category, the overall cost, the cost per unit sold, total income, net income, and rate of return. A second worksheet for Step 5 provides several graphs that are automatically generated based on the summary worksheet. The Step 6 worksheet provides suggested questions to lead a discussion of the results and next steps.
A Green Value Facilitator’s Kit is also now available. This kit consists of a Facilitator's Guide with recommendations for how to organize and run a Green Value workshop, as well as presentations, quick reference sheets for each of the six steps, and posters.
Who is green value for?
The target users of Green Value are people who work with forest-based initiatives. Extension agents, administrators, technical staff, consultants, and representatives of non-governmental and governmental organizations are examples of professionals who have found Green Value beneficial to date. Forest-based initiatives include family producers, producer groups, small businesses, community enterprises, and cooperatives. In addition, Green Value may be very useful for professors, students, researchers, donors, and lenders.
Participants in Green Value workshops
Is green value having an impact?
A recent follow-up survey with workshop participants found 46% of respondents have used Green Value to analyze costs and income for 41 diverse products and services. In addition, 35% of respondents have trained a total of 150 people in how to use Green Value. Impacts identified as a result of using Green Value include:
· improved monitoring of costs and income
· improved transparency
· reduced costs
· improved income
· improved profitability
· improved decision-making
· reduced conflicts
· improved financial viability.