How Mongabay’s reporting led tech giant Microsoft to invest in agroforestry | Mongabay Impacts

Livestock advisor Gaabi Hathaway and herding dog Bohdi inspect ‘mulberry alley’ at Tennessee’s Caney Fork Farms. Image by Sherman Thomas courtesy of Caney Fork Farms.

Have you ever bought shade grown coffee or bird-friendly chocolate? Then you’ve enjoyed the fruits of agroforestry.

An ancient agricultural system, agroforestry combines trees with shrubs, crops, and livestock in a system that produces food, supports biodiversity, builds soil horizons and water tables, and sequesters carbon from the atmosphere.

Mongabay’s dedicated series on the topic explores how and where agroforestry is being used to help address widespread challenges like food insecurity, deforestation, and climate change. Over the course of the series, Mongabay has reported on its implementation across a diversity of sectors from Indigenous communities and traditional agriculturists to smallholder farmers and large scale ventures. Global in scope, the in-depth series consists of dozens of stories, podcast episodes, and videos on agroforestry from around the world, such as:

Real-world impact

Mount Gorongosa is being reforested with the help of shade grown coffee. Image courtesy of Matt Jordan.

As part of Mongabay’s effort to inform decision-making through truth and transparency, Mongabay editor and content strategist Erik Hoffner shared several articles with tech giant Microsoft’s leadership, including the piece on the profitability of agroforestry.

Following the interaction, the Fortune 500 company decided to include agroforestry in their request for proposals for carbon investments. As a result, in 2021, Microsoft announced a first round of investments, which included two agroforestry projects in Peru, Brazil and Colombia: Jubilación Segura and the Acorn Project.

“It was nice to see how quickly after reviewing our series and speaking with a few of our articles’ sources that we introduced them to, that the Microsoft team intuited that agroforestry was a win-win-win for their portfolio – resulting in sustainable food production, boosting biodiversity locally since it provides food and shelter for birds, bats, bugs and more, while sequestering climate change-causing carbon emissions,” says Hoffner.

Mongabay’s reportage enabled Microsoft, one of the largest companies in the world, to take informed action toward socially responsible investments.

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Mongabay is a nonprofit environmental science and conservation news platform focused on providing cutting-edge independent journalism from nature’s frontline. We pride ourselves on producing reporting that has substantial, tangible impacts around the world.