Last Forest expands its horizons and gets verified

Women on Wings’ business partner Last Forest Enterprises Pvt Ltd is now a verified social enterprise by the Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF). The SEWF’s endeavor is to grow the global social enterprise movement to accelerate the transition to a new global impact economy. With its efforts, the SEWF is highlighting the efforts made by social enterprises in different countries, bringing to light the diverse initiatives made by these enterprises.

Custodians of earth
Mathew John, Managing Director at Last Forest Enterprises Pvt Ltd (Last Forest): “We are on a mission of being pioneers in providing sustainable living choices by connecting communities and markets, and a greater vision of making each stakeholder of Last Forest a custodian of the earth. Our principles align with the characteristics of what is widely defined as a social enterprise. We are very proud that this has been recognized by the SEWF.” The SEWF Verification aims to support the growth of the global social enterprise ecosystem and expand market access for all social enterprises globally. The SEWF roots from Scotland, also the home country of the Social Impact Academy.

Women led
Last Forest creates sustainable livelihood opportunities by connecting -tribal- communities in the Nilgiri mountains, in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, with fair trade markets for organic and wild forest products, like handcrafted beeswax soaps and balms, various sorts of unprocessed wild honey, hair care, essential oils, and coffee, which it sells online. The production and value addition take place at village level production centers. These centers are completely run and operated by women who now do not have to go out of their villages to work in nearby estates. They are now able to earn an income in their own village while taking care of their homes and children.

To expand its business, the social enterprise recently opened a new and improved honey unit in Annur, a suburb of Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. Continues Mathew: “Moving down to the plains from the hills and expanding our operations was a dream that had slowly gathered pace through recent months and has finally become reality.” The shift of the ‘backbone’ of Last Forest has come at a right time when the company is looking to expand its horizons. The new unit is a joint result of Last Forest’s team, management, friends and its larger eco system of Keystone Foundation and Aadhimalai Pazhangudiyinar Producer Company Ltd. “To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream, not only plan but also believe”, adds Madhu Ravishankar, Communications Manager at Last Forest. In 2021, Women on Wings and Last Forest started collaborating on their joint goal of increasing the number of jobs for women in rural India where Last Forest is working.

Image | celebrating the opening of the new honey unit