The BaumInvest Blog

“Many foresters enrich the forest.”

Interview with Heiko Rock

We asked Heiko Rock, who is responsible for accounting and controlling at BaumInvest, some questions about this special AG. What is an AG? What advantages does this form of organization bring along? And how can shareholders participate?

BaumInvest: In 2018, three associations merged and produced BaumInvest AG. Why did the responsible people choose an AG (short for “Aktiengesellschaft” – meaning “Shareholder Company”)
Heiko Rock: I have to start earlier than that. The mentioned associations all worked in very similar ways. All of them shared the same business objective, all of them afforested pastures in Costa Rica and the members were partly overlapping. We wanted to combine the strength of all three projects – create a synergy and one entity. During this process, we evaluated various forms of organization and eventually picked the form of an AG, since the advantageous heavily outweigh the negatives.

BaumInvest: Which advantages?
Heiko Rock: First of all, it is a form of company, which allows for democratic decision-making. All shareholders have equal dividend and voting rights. They make key strategic decisions at the annual general meeting and the Supervisory Board, as the leading supervisory body, is elected from their own ranks. The board in turn determines the management for the operational business. This is a very comprehensible way of running a business. For investors, this means that they can see through processes and have a say in them.

BaumInvest: But it also sounds like there are many ways in which decisions are made. Doesn’t that sometimes make it difficult to move forward, like the saying: Too many foresters spoil the forest?
Heiko Rock: BaumInvest doesn’t shy away from the difficult path. Our experience shows that with co-determination, shareholders act more responsibly. It is important to us that shareholders who want to have a say actively participate in general meetings and focus groups, and that they get elected to the supervisory board, where they make important strategic decisions for BaumInvest. There is so much knowledge among our shareholders – it would be fatal not to use it positively to move forward. Many foresters ENRICH the forest!

BaumInvest: But not all “foresters” get to see their forests – because they grow some 9500 kilometers away in Costa Rica. How do investors find out how their tropical forest is doing?
Heiko Rock: We offer on-site visits, where our shareholders can travel to our fincas and get an insight into the work in Costa Rica. Many shareholders have taken advantage of this in recent years – we always get great input and feedback from these trips, which ultimately benefits the company. But of course, not everyone can fly to Costa Rica just like that – because of Corona it’s difficult at the moment anyway…. And of course, we are also keen to keep an eye on the carbon footprint at BaumInvest. That’s why we inform our investors about our work through various channels: at the Annual General Meeting, by mail via the shareholder letter, through various social media channels, via our newly designed homepage, blog posts and newsletters. And of course, every year we send out an annual report on events in Costa Rica – and since 2018 also our annual financial statements, which do get audited by independent and external auditors.

BaumInvest: 2000 shareholders support BaumInvest as of today …
Heiko Rock: …and I am particularly pleased with the wide range of supporters we have found. Our shareholder base is as broad as the population itself. To create harmony between social, economic, and ecological aspects, while operating sustainably – that is the appealing task that BaumInvest sets itself with its shareholders.

If you would now like to get to know the Supervisory Board better, take a short look at this video: the BaumInvest Supervisory Board introduces itself.

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