MIGA Expands Investment Guarantees for EcoPlanet Bamboo Group in Nicaragua to $48.8 million
MIGA Expands Investment Guarantees for EcoPlanet Bamboo Group
in Nicaragua to $48.8 million
Project is trailblazing the global market for sustainable and certified alternative fiber
View the press release in Spanish
Washington DC; Managua, June 24, 2015 –The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), the political risk insurance and credit enhancement arm of the World Bank Group, announced its expanded support for an agribusiness project in Nicaragua that has a strong environmental and social footprint in the country. The project's investor, EcoPlanet Bamboo Group, is a market leader in developing commercial-scale bamboo plantations to supply a sustainable alternative for Fortune-500 and other timber-dependent companies that currently rely on the harvesting of natural forests.
MIGA has nearly doubled its guarantees to $48.8 million in support of EcoPlanet Bamboo Group's investment in Nicaragua. The project's expansion involves the purchase of degraded land and its conversion into fully functioning ecosystems that support sustainable plantations. MIGA's cover is for a period of up to 15 years against the risks of expropriation, war and civil disturbance.
EcoPlanet Bamboo Group began its operations in Nicaragua in 2010 with the establishment of a commercial bamboo nursery followed by its first purchase and development of degraded land. The company's Forest Stewardship Council-certified fiber will be exported to U.S. and multinational timber manfacturers for use in industries such as pulp production for textiles and paper; laminates and composites; activated carbon; and renewable energy generation.
EcoPlanet Bamboo Group's investment into Nicaragua has already created hundreds of jobs in a region with high unemployment. The project has also restored over 8,500 acres of degraded land—improving biodiversity and reducing pressure on surrounding forests. EcoPlanet Bamboo Group has received validation of 1.5 million tons of atmospheric carbon dioxide under the Verified Carbon Standard by the Rainforest Alliance as well as its first verification of these climate change benefits. The company also has gold-level validation by the Climate, Community, and Biodiversity Alliance.
In addition, EcoPlanet Bamboo Group's local sourcing has created indirect employment, while its corporate philosophy ensures that contributions to local communities foster good relations, support education, and improve livelihoods. The project and EcoPlanet Bamboo Group have received several awards, including the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health's award for Best Company in Occupational Health and Safety and the IAIR Award for the Best Sustainable Company. EcoPlanet Bamboo Group also received the prestigious U.S. Secretary of State's Annual Award for Corporate Excellence in 2014.
MIGA is also providing investment guarantees for EcoPlanet Bamboo Group's plantations in South Africa, which represent the first example globally of a commercial bamboo plantation produced from tissue culture.
Troy Wiseman, EcoPlanet Bamboo Group's co-founder and CEO, said, "MIGA's backing has given us the ability and confidence to more than triple our original investment in Nicaragua and move forward with other international expansions in both Southern and West Africa." He continued, "We're investing very significantly on research and development as we work with our Fortune-500 clients to help them transition from timber and fiber originating from the harvesting of natural forests, to a solution that meets their technical specifications, quality, and price— so that together we can really make a dent in deforestation."
MIGA's Executive Vice President and CEO Keiko Honda said, "MIGA is thrilled to expand its work with EcoPlanet Bamboo Group as they revolutionize the timber industry to combat climate change—creating jobs and adhering to high corporate social responsibilty standards in the process."
MULTILATERAL INVESTMENT GUARANTEE AGENCY
A Member of the World Bank Group
1818 H Street, NW, Washington, DC 20433
Mallory Saleson, MIGA
Tel: +1 202 473-0844
Rebecca Post, MIGA
Tel: +1 202-473-1964
Cara Santos Pianesi, MIGA