An ideal, a common goal,
and a lot of expertise

Blue Mangrove was born from a realization: diversity makes stronger. With the help of Friendship, its board of directors, and all of our local partners working in the field, we hope to reach our common goal: create a sustainable environment where nature and humans come together and live in harmony.

Blue Mangrove is an initiative of Friendship Belgium, a non profit organisation dedicated to support Friendship in Bangladesh.

We work on a voluntary basis and all the funds collected for Blue Mangrove are exclusively allocated to the Mangrove Plantation project. The statutes of Friendship Belgium and the fund budget are available in the Family Room.

Meet the board

Chair

HRH Princess Esmeralda of Belgium

Princess Esmeralda of Belgium is actively engaged in the protection of the environment as well as women’s rights. President of the King Leopold III Fund for Nature Exploration and Conservation she also advocates for the global rights of indigenous people.

Secretary

Pierre Schmitz

Pierre Schmitz is an entrepreneur with his apparel company. He lived in Bangladesh for 3 years. He is involved to ensure the effective implementation of codes of conduct for companies in the textile sector.

Treasurer

Marc Elvinger

Marc Elvinger is a lawyer and member of the Luxembourg bar. He is chairman of Friendship Luxembourg, and along with Runa Khan, co-chairman of Friendship International and influential in several NGO Foundations.

Member of the Board
(Founder and Executive Director of Friendship)

Runa Khan

Runa Khan is the active Founder and Executive Director of Friendship. She received international awards and recognition, some of them being Ashoka, IDB, Schwab Foundation, Positive Planet, Rolex Laureate from Bangladesh.

Member of the board

Roland Vaxelaire

Roland Vaxelaire is an entrepreneur heading a consulting firm involved in Responsibility Management. MBA from the University of Chicago. He was impact management director for Carrefour Group and CEO of Carrefour Belgium.

Member of the board

Paolo Pellizzari

Paolo Pellizzari is a photographer and professor at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. He previously ran a venture capital fund and worked for BCG. He graduated as an engineer and has an MBA from INSEAD.

Our values

What keeps us
surfing

Holistic

Our holistic approach is declined along two dimensions. The first one concerns the ecosystem. We need to make sure we are efficient in capturing CO2 while restoring the natural environment and the biodiversity. We must plant trees and then preserve them over the years. The second dimension is to take into consideration every single person involved in the process: the donors, the people working for the project, the local population, the local authorities and the public in general. For local people living next to the mangroves, the holistic approach also means addressing their basic needs (healthcare, education, rights, economic opportunities). In short, the holistic approach is taking care of the environment and the people.

Resultful

Blue Mangrove Fund will focus on bringing results. An amount of 10.000 EUR will be allocated to each hectare of plantation in Bangladesh, in order to bring long term and holistic results. The budget will cover direct costs of land negotiations, nursery, planting and maintenance. In addition, a percentage of this budget will be directed towards awareness raising programs and creating a sustainable income stream for the local population. We will also focus on building a strong relationship with local authorities to ensure the long term protection of the plantations. Good or bad, with transparency, Blue Mangrove Fund will document and share every step to the donors, and all questions will be answered.

Pride

Blue Mangrove considers pride as one of the main factors of this project. Every single person involved has to realize that they are a part of this adventure, without whom it could not come to life. The donors, our teams, the local population and authorities must all be proud and feel a sense of belonging to the project as a contribution in solidarity to solve the climate crisis. Providing dignity to all the players is essential.

Human

This project has two main dimensions. One is ecological, the other one is humane. We aim at creating a fully sustainable system with an extremely diverse network of actors. Our holistic approach will ensure that every single person finds its place within this system. Human values are therefore non-negotiable. Every person counts, and needs to be treated with our uttermost respect and attention.

Sustainable

Offsetting carbon through mangrove plantations is a long process. It is more than just planting, it does not stop at calculating and predicting: it needs to be carefully monitored over the years. So far, we are planning to follow up the project actively in the field over 5 years, before passing it on to reliable local caretakers under the responsibility of the Bangladesh Forest Department. If we were to realise that this will not be sufficient, we will share our preoccupation with all the local stakeholders.