The Foundation believes that economic development is one of the means to sustainable development; it is not an end in itself, but when financial stability coupled with social and environmental progress can lead to sustainable development. Environmental issues like illegal logging persist as long as the basic needs of a community go unmet. Recognising that the well-being of nature depends on human stability, the Doi Tung Development Project has business units in Food, Horticulture, Tourism, and Handicrafts. The Project went from being a crop substitution initiative, to provide various livelihood options with the end goal of empowering locals to become business savvy, able to cope with global market forces. As an example, the Project itself has been financially self-sustaining since 2002. The social enterprises are a balance of maximizing social returns on investment verses a financial one. Today, locals are being trained in everything from landscape design to coffee roasting. They are encouraged to set up their own enterprises. In less than 10 years, the ownership of some of the business units in Doi Tung will be transferred to the local community.
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