The COVID-19 pandemic is proof that the destruction of forests and natural ecosystems has a serious impact on human health. Deprived of a habitat, wildlife is living in closer proximity to humans, making it easier for pathogenic microorganisms to spread from animals to humans. Given this reality, urgent action is needed in order to preserve forests and trees by joining forces with people around the world. That is why, in 2020, the Maisons du Monde Foundation supported 21 organisations fighting against deforestation in the Southern Hemisphere and promoting wood recovery in Europe.
“2020 was a special year in every respect: ecologically, socially, economically and in terms of human relations. It is an unprecedented context that reminds us of the impermanence of life and that, as in the natural world, our existence is governed by cycles. This was a year that brought us closer to the simple pleasures of life and gave us back a taste for the essentials. The most important thing for the Maisons du Monde Foundation was to maintain close ties with all the organisations that we support to help them through the crisis; by strengthening our support through an emergency allocation and adapting our partnership in light of the impact on the ground (with the postponement of certain projects, the rescheduling of certain planned activities etc.).
This is the closest we’ve ever been with our stakeholders, asking them to give us their opinion about our role and our purpose. In the first quarter we led a lot of discussions between the various parties involved and had to resign ourselves to postponing our planned event “Aux Arbres”. From all these interactions, we have learnt lessons that will enable us to extend the scope of our activities and to further develop our philosophy of philanthropy. After a series of intense working sessions, we are proud to announce the creation of the Maisons du Monde Foundation Endowment Fund, which will take over from our Foundation, becoming operational on 1 January 2021. We wish every success to the projects and organisations that mobilise on a daily basis to preserve the forest and reconnect men and women with the central role in our lives played by the tree!”
Fabienne Morgaut, former Executive Director of the Maisons du Monde Foundation
After five years under the aegis of the Nicolas Hulot Foundation, it is time for us to take stock of the actions undertaken by the Maisons du Monde Foundation. Since our creation at the end of 2015, we have supported 37 projects in 14 different countries, spread across the 3 major rainforest basins and in Europe, wherever there was an urgent need for action.
Forests play a fundamental role in the balance of life on our planet, particularly in regulating the climate and maintaining biodiversity. And yet more than 13 million hectares of forests disappear every year, mainly in tropical basins. Because urgent action is needed, the Maisons du Monde Foundation has supported 25 forest conservation projects since its inception, undertaken by and for local people. In 2020, a total of 17 projects were funded to combat deforestation.
Apart from forest ecosystems, the tree plays a fundamental role and must be protected in order to stem the decline in biodiversity. For this reason, the Maisons du Monde Foundation and other sponsors created, at the initiative of AFAC-Agroforestry, the Tree Fund in 2020.
“In France, the trees that make up the hedges and woodlands of our countryside are very vulnerable. Since 1950, 70% of hedges have disappeared, and continue to shrink by more than 10,000km each year, causing many animal species to disappear with them.
To combat the disappearance of these precious ecosystems, specialised stakeholders who are firmly committed to the role of the tree in rural and agricultural life have joined together under the aegis of the Tree Fund and are now acting together for the agro-ecological transition of our countryside. The Maisons du Monde Foundation has provided structural support for its creation and the consolidation of its actions by committing to its cause for a period of three years.
By supporting thousands of local projects in France, we hope to give hedgerows their rightful place back on agricultural land and in our rural communities, while also enabling them to express all their virtues: magnificent shelters for biodiversity, allies against soil erosion, water pollution and climate change, and true resources for our modern agricultural systems.”
Sylvie Monier, President of the Tree Fund
“This is an unprecedented joint action motivated by a spirit of solidarity! The Nature et Découvertes and Maisons du Monde brands are joining forces with other patrons for the first time, in order to directly support the creation of a Tree Fund through their Foundation.
They also ensure sustainability by mobilising their employees and customers in stores with the Arrondi en caisse campaign (in which customers round up their payments to donate the spare change), the objective of which is to support our 2021 and 2022 planting programmes.”
David Sève, Director of Social Commitments and of the Nature et Découvertes Foundation
Would you like to find out more about the Tree Fund and its actions?
Visit our project sheet (french only)!
Preserving forests also means rethinking our methods of consumption and avoiding new drains on raw materials. By imagining new ways of reusing wood, participants in the circular economy are proposing a model of society that reduces its environmental impacts and puts people back at the heart of the economy. In the last 5 years, the Foundation has supported 11 wood recovery projects both in France and in the rest of Europe, of which 7 were undertaken in 2020.
“I like to describe the MaSMadera project as a circular project, because we collect worn-out furniture that would otherwise be thrown out, and then rework it in training workshops involving people in precarious situations. We then champion the project on social media so the citizens of Vigo can also mobilise to reuse and repair these wooden objects. All of the furniture and other objects are then sold in a small street market organised by the Emaus Galicia charity association.
Since the start of the project, we have already reused 50 pieces of furniture, trained 20 people, and with a single workshop lasting 280 hours in total, we managed to reduce the amount of wood wasted by 164kg and recycled by 185kg. We are extremely proud of these results!”
Virginia Romero, MaSmadera Project Coordinator
“Through the MaSmadera project, we bring people together to interact, build relationships and receive training in all the activities of everyday life. We support them so they gain confidence and independence but, above all, so they can rediscover the skills that they already have.
As with the work carried out with old furniture, we simply help them to reveal their potential.”
Vanesa, MaSmadera project leader
Would you like to know more about the MaSmadera project run by the Emaus Vigo charity association?
Visit our project sheet!
Discover the video of the project
Because forest conservation first requires awareness and action on both individual and collective levels, the Maisons du Monde Foundation has been supporting and implementing citizen mobilisation programmes since 2015 to reconnect people with nature.
In this regard, 2020 was a real challenge, forcing us all to rethink how we interact and mobilise for the environment. We would like to thank all our partners who have worked with us throughout the year despite the difficulties.
“Having been a partner of ‘Aux Arbres’ since its creation in 2018, Envol Vert sees it as a vital event for environmental associations so that they can change the public’s view of forests.
Since 2020, we have been forced to reinvent our awareness events so they are suitable given the health crisis and comply with social distancing measures.”
Arnaud Lefèvre, Development and Partnerships Manager, Envol Vert
In order to cope with this unprecedented context, the Maisons du Monde Foundation dedicated the end of 2020 to modifying the “Aux Arbres!” event. Thanks to the help of its partners, it successfully created a suitable new format given the health crisis, with the same ambition: to invite everyone to take action to preserve forests and biodiversity.
Visit the page dedicated to “Aux Arbres!” on our website to learn more!
And to discover our old activity reports click here:
Activity report 2019 (French only)