The Net Positive Impact Program builds on the actions and assessments conducted on the field for over 30 years by Olivier BEHRA, its founder.
At the end of the 80s, Olivier BEHRA worked for the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). His pioneering work, within the framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity, was commended by the United Nations Environment Program during the Nagoya conference in 2010.
It is necessary to involve local communities in the value enhancement of their natural resources.
With this objective in mind, Olivier decides to found the NGO Man and the Environment in the 90s, the social business Aroma Forest in 2005, and the international solidarity association Man & Nature in 2010.
Five years after the creation of Man & Nature, the organization was able to support 31 projects in 17 different countries: 5 in Central and Latin America, 8 in Africa and 4 in Asia (Projects Catalogue). All these conservation projects were financed by private firms and include a chapter on natural resources’ enhancement for the local communities. Social trips were organized for various firms to half-a-dozen countries to raise awareness among employees about the CSR actions of their company.
Fifteen years after the creation of Man and the Environment, the experimental reserves of Vohimana and Vohibola in the East of Madagascar are still under considerable pressure but generate sustainable incomes for part of the community (www.madagascar-environnement.org). The local communities now directly manage the activities developed in Vohimana around essential oil production from local plants. A reforestation program has allowed to plant over 300,000 trees.
Aroma Forest (www.huiles-essentielles-madagascar.com) is the first private company producing essential oils that has been approved by the Union for Ethical Biotrade program. It is also the first social and solidarity company in Madagascar. It is financially independent and 100% of the profits go to development. All the employees are Malagasy. Furthermore, Aroma Forest generates an equivalent of 900 jobs at the rural level.
Olivier BEHRA has also worked as an expert for cosmetic companies, which has allowed in part to enhance the value of plant extracts produced by the local communities, living next to conservation zones, in finished products (Yves Rocher, Chanel, Dessange, Téane Cosmétique, Laboratoires Eona, etc.).