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A case study on profit

All profits are reinvested in the business, invested into projects or distributed among producers and staff.

Last Forest is a social enterprise in India by Keystone Foundation, a not for profit civil society organisation. All profits are reinvested in the business (with a focus on growing social impact), invested into projects (including through the parent foundation) or distributed among producers and staff. With sales of over €0.4 million, they are based in Kotagiri in the heart of Nilgiri mountains.

They focus on market opportunities for producer groups and communities that are working on forest and agriculture produce which are natural, wild and local. Last Forest procures from over 45 groups across the country and sell through over 100 outlets including three retail shops in the Nilgiris that are owned by them. Signature products include wild organic honey (from the mountain side), soaps and personal care products (from Beeswax).

It was set up to pioneer sustainable living choices by connecting indigenous producers with the market. The board is comprised of three civil society representatives, the managing director and one business expert. Its main supplier, Aadhimalai, is a producer-owned enterprise, with a board comprising of producers. Aadhimalai was also incubated by Keystone Foundation. The governance, management and business model is designed to allow Last Forest to be commercially nimble while prioritising the needs of indigenous communities and producers, ensuring the benefits of commercial success are enjoyed by them. This means they can invest into long-term partnerships with producers, into supporting global movements with staff time (e.g. Organic, Fair Trade and Slow Food) and support to production that maintains eco-systems and supports local communities (e.g. forest honey).

They have focused on growing sales in the quickly developing ethical market in India, with domestic sales making up their income.

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