“Trees are our Trojan horse. Because a tree is not just a tree: of course, it plays a key role in the fight against climate change and in the reconstruction of ecosystems, but in rural communities it is also economic support, food security, etc. a tool for learning to manage the land in a sustainable way. A tree is a positive and lasting social impact“. Andrea Pesce so he explains why he made trees his job and with his zeroCO2company dealing ethical reforestation and population supportsince the end of 2019 it has planted more than 650 thousand, especially in Guatemala.
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Andrea’s dream has not always had her hair, trunks and roots as protagonists. Pesce is 28 years old and a citizen of the world. He was born in Turin, grew up in Rome and is a great connoisseur of Cuba, with whom he has been dating his family since he was 5 years old. He tried to learn English in London and then became a co-worker in Ethiopia. “In Tigray,” he recalls, “I learned the importance of education and training. A new hospital is not enough to care for the hundreds of thousands of children who need it if there are only 15 pediatricians.” Training became his first passion. He studied international relations in Bologna, Madrid and Buenos Aires and worked on school innovation projects in Brussels and Guatemala.
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This is where he got the enlightenment. “I was 24 years old,” he says, “and I did a project in rural schools in the Petén region. I met Virgil Galicia, a teacher. We went to his field every day to check his lime plant. I hoped that it would grow in a short time to be able to have those fruits that cost too much and the market could not be allowed ”. it lost 20% of its forests due to monocultures and intensive agriculture and where farmers sell their land to emigrate, a fruit tree can make a difference. “You see who has one, you recognize it: he has a car, which in these areas of Guatemala is a symbol of wealth, and a healthier body, because he does not eat only corn and beans but has a more varied diet.”
So why not help the community plant and care for them? With continuous training given by local experts in methods of sustainable plant maintenance and in the design of mixed agroforestry systems. “So Virgil and I founded zeroCO2a company that allows customers planting, adopting or giving away a tree, which is given to local peasant families, contributing to their economic and nutritional well-being. We have set up a nursery in the Petén which during the hardest months of the pandemic secured jobs for the local community. And today we are a team of 25 people which also operates in Patagonia Argentina, Peru, Tanzania and Italy. We are also about to expand in Portugal and we plan to have two new regions in 2023. Although I hope sooner, ”admits Andrea.
The trees, which can be purchased on site and can be traced from the nursery to the plantation, are native and are carefully chosen based on local needs, with the aim of regenerating the soil and recovering biodiversity, as well as for the economic induced that its care and transformation of fruit and wood can carry. Also in Italy, the project is underway thanks to the collaboration with 45 agricultural and social cooperatives that reintegrate into the world of work former drug addicts, former prisoners, migrants and women victims of violence. On the coast of the Gulf of Aranci, in Sardinia, a project has also begun to reforest Posidonia, the lung of the Mediterranean Sea.
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Thanks to the commitment of the team, zeroCO2 in 2021 he received the B Corps Award with a score of 134.3 out of 200. That is a company that meets the highest standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability, balancing profit and purpose. And today it is among the best B Corps in the world and in the world in the sector of governance, that is, it is between the top 5% of all B bodies of the same size. “Which makes us smile. Because we plant trees, maybe we should have included ourselves in the environmental category, but that means a lot to us,” Andrea explains. “Because the value of our work model has been recognized: we always generate a positive impact where we operate with long-term and never commercial projects, thanks to a team that, of course, thinks first about the impact and then about the economic aspect of an idea ”.
Last but not least, the value of transparency was also recognized: “Thanks to our tracking system we can give our customers knowledge of how we use their money. And anyone interested in us can find it in our place, in a clear and simple way, what we do and how we do it, because we are not and have never been a commercial company. We wanted to have a long-term impact and we found a way to do that in the trees“.