Summer 2023 Edition: The Dirt eNewsletter


Happy June! Over the next few weeks, our team is excited to visit with ranchers and pastoralists, partners, and project supporters in Montana and Kenya. We’ll tell you about it in our next issue, and in the meantime, read on to learn about a climate hero of the plant world (and the human heroes championing it!), our recent webinar on a contribution approach to climate finance, and collective climate action in the cycling industry.

At Native, we believe in taking action, finding a way, and putting our money on the line to catalyze new climate action, and we think you probably do too. In our 22nd year of business, we are committed to continuing to learn and sharing what we learn as we create lasting change with you.

From the Community 

One Plant’s Positive Climate Impact

What plant can be used to make fencing, furniture, construction materials, flooring, soap, human food, animal food, wine, bikes, t-shirts, fuel, and toilet paper? It’s perennial and green and you probably associate it with pandas. You got it, it’s bamboo! Bamboo is also a climate and ecosystem restoration technology. The plants sequester carbon and have strong roots that hold topsoil in place, preventing erosion and mudslides.

Demand for bamboo is accelerating in Uganda and across the African continent. Uganda’s Ministry of Water and Environment, alongside the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization, the National Forestry Authority, and others, is currently implementing its National Bamboo Strategy and Action Plan, which seeks to create a “viable and and sustainable bamboo industry in Uganda” that benefits “community livelihoods, socio-economic development and environmental protection.” Bamboo has grown in Uganda for a long time, with two species native to the region. In fact, in the region of Mt. Elgon, bamboo has traditionally been eaten as a delicacy called “malewa,” which is rich in macronutrients: bamboo shoots are crushed, dried, and often smoked and used to flavor sauces and soups, with a flavor similar to forest mushrooms.

Though there is significant demand for and expected benefits from bamboo production in Uganda, as with any initiative, proponents will want to step with careful consideration of other ecosystem effects. And to date, the industry is still relatively nascent. But, 65 kilometers north of Kampala, Andrew Ndawkula Kalema, a former journalist, manages a bamboo farm that he opens up to the public to teach others about its benefits, cultivation practices, and marketing. “Bamboo, you cut it down, it takes one season, it is back. It grows back, so it is a magic bullet of sorts that we need to use in our fight to save our environment,” he says.

A bamboo forest. Bamboo has grown in Uganda for a long time, with two species native to the region.

From our Team

A New Approach to Climate Finance

What might the future of corporate climate action and climate finance look like, and how might companies communicate their efforts? We explored these questions in our webinar on “A Contribution Approach to Climate Finance” with Owen Hewlett, Salah Said, and Renaud Bettin. Together we discussed the WWF Corporate Climate Mitigation Blueprint, which offers a roadmap for a holistic approach to corporate climate action that helps to ensure that the goals of net zero or carbon neutral do not impede companies from contributing all they can to the equitable, low-carbon future we all want to create. The WWF roadmap invites companies to measure and disclose emissions from all scopes – 1, 2 and 3 – and set rigorous internal reduction targets with action plans. The roadmap also guides companies to create a climate contribution budget by assigning a fee to annual emissions, and importantly, to use that budget to invest in climate action that aligns with their strategies, whether that be supporting high-quality carbon projects, emerging climate technologies, or the transition to lower carbon agricultural, energy, and transportation systems. The “climate contribution” approach is “a cool and new and ambitious approach toward climate action that really aligns with our values and our business being entrepreneurial,” says Salah Said, Head of Sustainability at Klarna. Watch the full recording of the webinar here!

A Contribution Approach to Climate Finance webinar panelists: Renaud Bettin, Sweep; Salah Said, Klarna; Owen Hewlett, Gold Standard; and Claire Lafave, Native

SpotlightShift Cycling Culture logo

Shift Cycling Culture Creates Momentum for Sustainable Business  

This issue, we spotlight Shift Cycling Culture, a global nonprofit foundation that supports and inspires the cycling sector to take action on climate. We recently had a chance to catch up with Sandra Brandt, their new Executive Director. Shift is helping the cycling world to learn more about their environmental impacts and what they can do to improve them. The organization’s CEO forum launched a Climate Commitment Campaign in 2021, appealing to companies across the cycling sector to disclose emissions and commit to putting plans into place to reduce them by at least 55% by 2030.

Shift just launched a documentary film, Cracked Earth, capturing the lives of cyclists worldwide, living in areas where climate change is no longer a future threat, but a daily reality. Sandra says, “the aim of the film is to serve as a tool to bring people together around the topic and to encourage climate action.” In that spirit, anyone can organize a viewing.

Two mountain bikers ride down a rocky cliff

Click the image to watch the trailer!
Credit: Stefan Voitl

On the more personal side, it’s exciting to see how this new role combines Sandra’s two great passions: sustainability (she formerly managed sustainability programs at Adidas and led the International Platform for Insetting, which is where we first met her) and mountain biking. Sandra has been long-obsessed with mountain biking. She even met her husband biking, and together they started a company – Ridgeline – that leads mountain biking tours in Central Italy.

When I asked Sandra about her favorite place to ride, she replied, “my backyard”. Ridgeline manages around 300 km of trails in the Apuan Alps and the Tosco-Emiliano Apennines. She is based in the valley between them, called Garfagnana. And she sees climate change at work there too. “As we’ve managed the trail maintenance for almost a decade now, we see the impacts of heavier storms affecting the landscape. But we also experience drier, hotter summers and dry riverbeds.” This recognition only fuels her work to collaborate with the cycling industry to protect the places they all love and rely upon.

trail bikers cycle through a mountain valley

Credit: Stefan Voitl

As always, we’d love your feedback on what you like, don’t like, or want to see more of in this newsletter. Reach out to us with your feedback, thoughts, and ideas for spotlights!