14 Trees

Africa Manufacturing

14Trees is a joint-venture between LafargeHolcim, a global leader in building materials based in Switzerland, and CDC. The venture aims to accelerate and scale up the production and commercialisation of Durabric bricks – an environmentally-friendly, affordable alternative to the clay burnt bricks widely used across sub-Saharan Africa, and other innovative green building solutions.

This investment was made when British International Investment was named CDC Group.

Our investment

In 2016, LafargeHolcim and CDC jointly committed $10 million to the joint venture. CDC’s $5 million contribution was made through the Impact Accelerator. Our investment enables 14Trees to commercialise innovative green building solutions at scale in sub-Saharan Africa and beyond.

Expected impact

Many African countries face the effects of climate change as a result of deforestation driven by the demand for wood used in the production of traditional bricks. An expanding construction sector, boosted by population growth and urbanisation, also puts pressure on resources. 

Durabric bricks are produced from a mixture of earth and cement, compressed in a mould, and left naturally to cure without firing. This process saves up to 14 trees per house. By avoiding this firing phase, Durabric reduces greenhouse gas emissions tenfold.

Since 2016, 14Trees has already sold about 1 million Durabric bricks in Malawi, most of which have been used for the construction of schools.  14 Trees is looking to expand its operations in Malawi and other countries, which will contribute to the creation of hundreds of new jobs.

Environmental and social aspects

14Trees delivers reliable, affordable and environmentally-friendly building materials and facilitates the construction of affordable housing. It will also contribute to lower greenhouse gas emissions and reduced deforestation.

With our support, the business will also strengthen the local construction industry by accelerating the adoption of green building standards and partnering with local entrepreneurs in the construction sector.

Key facts


Since 2012, we’ve only invested in Africa and South Asia. Investments outside these regions are from our pre-2012 portfolio.


We have seven priority sectors. However, we continue to invest outside these sectors, largely in the most challenging regions, as new investment supporting any sector helps to underpin the private sector, and create jobs and livelihoods for people.

Investment type

We provide capital in three broad ways: direct equity, debt, and intermediated equity (principally through investment funds).

Direct Equity
Start date

For direct investments, this is the date British International Investment committed capital to the business or project.

For funds, this is the date that British International Investment committed capital to the fund.

For underlying fund investments, this is the date that the fund invested capital into the business.e

June 2016

For direct investments, this is the total amount that British International Investment has committed to the business or project (it may be a combination of equity and debt).

For funds, this is the total amount that British International Investment has committed to the fund.


This is the investee company’s place of incorporation; or a fund’s jurisdiction.


We are now British International Investment