Nature Bag Project Syncs Beautifully with the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals

The UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development "Transforming Our World" is a plan of action with 17 goals to strengthen sustainable development around the globe. Through collaborative partnerships with individual countries and organizations, they seek to heal the planet and recognize human rights. The UN plans to achieve their goals through economic, social, and environmental development.

The JungleVine® Foundation joins this effort by continuing to produce Nature Bags for their Khmu/Lao Poverty Reduction Project. Through this project, JungleVine® has met many of the UN's goals for sustainable development. During President Obama's visit to Luang Prang this week to meet with the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI), the UN's goals were a hot topic for discussion and were embraced by YSEALI. Through Nature Bag, JungleVine® effectively addresses 13 of the 17 UN goals for sustainable development.

Goal #1 - End poverty in all its forms everywhere.

The JungleVine® Foundation and the Khmu/Lao Poverty Reduction Project have been working to eliminate poverty in Southeast Asia, an area that has one of the lowest income levels per person in the world. Through the production of Earth's Greenest Bag™, the project seeks to unite the Khmu tribe of Northern Laos with the rest of the world by endowing them with economic stability.

Goal #2 - End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.

JungleVine® addresses this goal directly through the production of the Nature Bag. Initially, the Khmu artisans exchanged their handicrafts for essentials since money was not essential to their society. Today, through advancements in transportation, communications, electricity, healthcare, and education, the Khmu have begun to development monetary-based markets in an effort to improve their lives.

Goal #3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all people of all ages.

The artisans who handcraft Nature Bags are able to provide resources for their families by allowing their children and grandchildren to have the necessities they need to live comfortably as well as the money to pay for healthcare when needed. In particular, this is essential for isolated groups who may not have had easy access to healthcare in the past. These groups live too far away to effectively access health services.

Goal #5 - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

Many of the artisans who produce Nature Bags are women. Through this opportunity, they are able to craft a life and sustain themselves and their families economically as well as pass on the traditions of their people. By learning how to handcraft the bags, young Khmu girls can work with their families and empower themselves by learning a craft that they can take into adulthood. The Nature Bag project provides an income for these women and empowers them with hope and the knowledge that their children will be provided for.

As each bag is crafted by hand, these women and girls can take pride in their work as they pass on the tradition of a thousand-year-old sustainable culture. In addition to continuing their own culture, they take part in educating the world and women of other cultures of the possibility of a sustainable economic model for everyone.

Goal #7 - Affordable and Clean Energy

Very little energy is used in the production of the JungleVine® Nature Bag, making its manufacture incredibly efficient and sustainable. Since these bags are handcrafted by local Khmu artisans, the only energy required to construct them is human energy.

Through the handcrafted manufacture of the Nature Bag, JungleVine® and the Khmu help contribute to improving the world's energy efficiency by establishing a production model that uses very little resources. In addition, the income that the bags provide to the Khmu allows them to have better access to affordable energy. Their connection to the outside world through the increasing popularity of the bags puts the Khmu and JungleVine® at the forefront of global education on renewable, sustainable models for energy consumption.

Goal #8 - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

JungleVine® is helping in this effort by promoting economic growth in northern Laos by helping artisans to provide economically for their families and encouraging a marketplace that rewards them for their efforts with monetary income. The Khmu now have a desire to share their handicrafts as a market now exists for them. And as the efforts of the UN to help promote local products across the world increases, so will the demand for their goods.

Because they are able to establish their own prices for the homemade goods they sell, they are now able to provide their children with opportunities and technology such as appliances and phones that will allow them to connect with the rest of the world. This connection will help the indigenous peoples to improve their conditions and the economy of their culture, bringing advancements in technology, infrastructure development, and transportation, among others.

Although global marketing efforts have been slow to develop, Khmu bags are now becoming trendy in large markets like Paris, Barcelona, and Milan. As these centers for style embrace the Khmu's handicrafts, demand for the items will spread and further increase economic growth for their society and provide work for even more artisans.

Goal #9 - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.

By producing a sustainable product with Nature Bags, the Khmu people are joining the effort for sustainable industrialization through their own small enterprise by offering a product to the global market that is earth friendly and 100% biodegradable with a very low carbon footprint.

JungleVine® and Nature Bag allow the Khmu people to connect with the outside world and begin to develop needed infrastructure and provide support for economic development. A money-based market will bring even more advancements in technology, communication, transportation, and education. And in their own way, the Khmu are educating the rest of the world on the possibility of industries that seek harmony with nature.

Goal #10 - Reduce inequalities within and among countries.

Through the crafting and sale of Nature Bags, the Khmu people of Southeast Asia, one of the poorest areas in the world, are able to provide income for themselves and their families regardless of sex or age. The artisans who craft the bags are given fair prices for their goods, ensuring they have the ability to implement sustainable environmental and social practices by giving them a respectable income and standard of living. JungleVine® Nature Bags helps to fulfill goal number ten by providing a sustainable income for them while still preserving their tradition and culture.

Goal #11 - Sustainable cities and communities.

The Khmu have always been a culture centered on sustainability. Even the very crafting of the Nature Bag is sustainable in that it uses natural resources and very little energy to produce.

This use of natural resources for daily living and producing goods is now being shared with the rest of the world through JungleVine® and Nature Bags. Their culture and the production of the bags is an encouraging model for the development of sustainable communities.

Goal #12 - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

The Khmu people have a culture that is naturally harmonious with the environment around them. Recent advancements in transportation and communication have allowed them to connect with the outside world, but the Khmu are still steeped in the rich tradition of their culture which includes searching the forest around them for the goods they need for day to day survival.

However, the sale of their bags is crucial to their well-being, as it allows them an income to provide basic needs for their families. As the culture begins to connect with the outside world, monetary income is necessary to offer them opportunities for economic advancements and to allow them to purchase goods the forest does not provide.

The handwoven reusable bags are made from wild-harvested Pueraria phaseoloides, or JungleVine®, a naturally occurring vine in Southeast Asia that can be harvested without the need for cultivation or agriculture. JungleVine® is a 100% biodegradable textile making it the perfect product to encourage sustainable production.

Goal #13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

Since climate change has a direct link to sustainable production, JungleVine® and Nature Bag are assisting this effort by manufacturing a product that leaves a very low carbon footprint. The JungleVine® used for the production of the Nature Bag is harvested and processed by hand. In addition, as JungleVine® grows, it produces the oxygen necessary for life. Climate change has been linked to lower oxygen levels in the ocean, so any additional oxygen to our atmosphere can certainly help protect against these unwanted changes.

Because the bag is so lightweight, shipping uses very little energy. Earth's Greenest Bag® is produced without any chemicals, irrigation, cultivation, agriculture, or fuel consumption, making it an eco-friendly product all the way from vine to bag. Along with its low carbon footprint, it allows the people of Southeast Asia to continue their traditional lifestyle while maintaining an environmentally friendly way to encourage economic development.

Goal #15 - Protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

For 5000 years, the Khmu culture has been a self-sufficient one, gathering what it needed from the mountainsides and jungle forests where the people lived. Through The Khmu Non-Timber Forest Product Research and Conservation Project, the people here are taking part in preserving their land and culture. JungleVine® joins this effort by using the natural resources in the protected areas to encourage economic development for the Khmu people.

The production of these bags from 100% biodegradable natural resources found within their own ecosystem allows the Khmu to purchase necessary items for their children and grandchildren such as schoolbooks, healthcare, and even the simple things those in the developed world enjoy like electricity for their homes.

Goal #17 - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

Through recent advancements in transportation, communications, and education, the Khmu people of Southeast Asia have been able to connect with the rest of the world. This link has allowed them to partner effectively with other areas of the globe to create sustainable development by providing their own economically viable, earth-friendly model of production. As partnerships increase across the globe, more opportunities will come to this area allowing the Khmu to expand their market even more.

Because this project also addresses poverty, JungleVine® also meets the goal of enhancing the macroeconomic stability of the Khmu people and Southeast Asia by increasing sustained economic growth across its population. As the demand for Nature Bags grows, the economy of this area will grow with it, bringing advancements to the area which will push their economy forward even further.