Pioneering Technology In Community-Conservation With Baotree

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Baotree, a company at the forefront of community-conservation technology has a vision to bring transparency and accountability to environmental, climate and social impact efforts.

“We saw so much money being wasted,” Baotree CEO Dimitri Syrris explained in an interview. “No one could audit or verify what was being done on the ground. There was no transparency or trust in the deployment of capital.”

Baotree’s innovative approach involves engaging local communities and conservation teams to collect and report sustainability data through a user-friendly mobile application. This data is then synced to an online dashboard, providing organisations with clear, actionable insights into the impact of their work. By fostering transparency and trust, Baotree ensures that sustainability efforts are not only effective but also accountable.

“We wanted to create a system where humans and nature can coexist in a mutually beneficial way,” Dimitri said. “Our platform helps track real-time progress, showing what’s being done and where improvements are needed.”

Currently, Baotree operates in five African countries—Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Zambia, and Namibia—and has expanded its reach to India, with plans to launch in Latin America soon. Dimitri emphasises the importance of creating a sustainable business model where nonprofits can monetize non-sensitive data to secure funding from corporations though impact certificates. This approach addresses the challenge that many nonprofits face: a lack of resources to invest in new technologies.

Syrris grew up in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, surrounded by the rich biodiversity of Zululand. This early exposure to nature, coupled with an understanding of the close-knit communities living alongside these ecosystems, fueled his lifelong passion for human and nature coexistence. However, his career initially took a different path.

Dimitri spent a decade in the advertising industry, focusing on data and technology. Here, he witnessed firsthand how data was utilized to steer human behavior, and not for the right reasons, prompting him to rethink his professional direction.

In 2019, Dimitri left his advertising career and embarked on a transformative journey across Africa for nine months, traveling through countries like Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, and Mozambique.

This experience highlighted the fragmented and often ineffective approach to conservation, where efforts operated in silos, and substantial resources were wasted without accountability. Inspired to make a difference, Dimitri founded Baotree in Kenya in 2020, aiming to integrate community involvement with cutting-edge technology to create a more effective conservation model.

Syrris’s vision for Baotree extends beyond simple monitoring, reporting and verification. He aims to transform data into a valuable commodity that nonprofits can use to attract funding from corporations interested in corporate social responsibility. By ensuring that data is collected and shared transparently, Baotree helps bridge the gap between corporate funding and grassroots conservation efforts. This model not only increases the financial sustainability of nonprofits but also enhances the overall impact of all sustainability projects.

“Through the data that gets collected, we create a commodity for nonprofits with the aim to sell their evidence-based impact certificate to corporates,” Syrris explained. “This way, they can fund their projects without relying solely on donations.”

While Baotree has not yet implemented in Botswana, Syrris is optimistic about future collaborations. With several organisations already in the pipeline, he envisions a broader implementation of Baotree’s technology across Africa and beyond. By following necessary processes and building strong partnerships, Dimitri hopes to bring his innovative solutions to more countries, fostering a global movement towards transparent and accountable conservation, and sustainability work.

Syrris’s journey from the bushlands of Zululand to the helm of Baotree is a testament to the power of passion and innovation. His work exemplifies a critical shift in conservation, where data and technology play pivotal roles in driving accountability and effectiveness. As Baotree continues to expand its reach and refine its technologies, the future of conservation looks promising, with Dimitri leading the charge towards a more sustainable and harmonious coexistence between humans and nature.

“My heart and my mind are intertwined,” Syrris concluded. “They do a beautiful dance together to ensure that we find alternative ways for humans to coexist with nature. This is just the beginning.”

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