Corporate stewardship is as much part of global conservation of nature as environmental organisations, the UNEP and governments. As World Conservation Day 2020 approaches, we shine the lights on corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts of global companies like the De Beers Group, HP, Intel and L’Oréal in protecting forests and wildlife.
World Conservation Day is dedicated to protecting forests, conserving biodiversity and finding ways to source raw materials sustainably.
1. Forevermark and De Beers Group
Forevermark, a diamond brand from De Beers Group, is committed to the protection of the environment with their numerous CSR initiatives that run deep connection between diamonds and the earth.
For every hectare of land affected by the Group’s mining activity, 6 hectares are set aside for conservation, equating to approximately 200,000 hectares, 2.5 times the area of New York City. De Beers Group has been active in rhino conservation for many years, including conservation, breeding and relocation programmes. Its joint venture with the Government of Botswana, support a significant proportion of Botswana’s white rhino population through initiatives that conserve and grow the population before releasing individual rhinos back into the wild.
The elephant conservation programme at the Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve in South Africa has been so successful that the number of elephants now exceeds the park’s carrying capacity. DeBeers’s is therefore moving 200 elephants more than 1,000 miles to Mozambique, where there is a need for re-population. De Beers Group is running a ground-breaking, multimillion-dollar research programme focused on using kimberlite rock to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and establish a carbon-neutral mine. 83% of the water used for diamond mining by De Beers Group and other natural diamond companies is recycled.
2. Hewlett-Packard Company
Today, nearly 50% of global forests are under threat due to deforestation and forest degradation. According to WWF, the planet is losing 18.7 million acres of forest each year—the equivalent of 27 football fields per minute. In November 2019, Hewlett-Packard Company— or HP as it’s come to be known—launched the HP Sustainable Forests Collaborative initiative, realizing the value to business and nature of accelerating forest and biodiversity protection. The Collaborative’s objectives are to:
– Maintain HP’s long-standing commitment to sustainable fibre sourcing through supply chain management.
– Support the development of science based targets for forests, which includes estimating carbon and nature co-benefits of forest restoration and improved forest management.
– Protect, restore, and improve the responsible management of forests.
– Collaborate across HP and with our industry, partners, and customers, using collective influence to inspire action.
– Drive the development of innovative printing technologies that reduce paper waste and improve the efficiency of paper consumption.
In partnership with WWF, the first projects of the Sustainable Forests Collaborative will focus on restoring and improving the management of nearly 200,000 acres (over 80,000 hectares) of forests in Brazil and China by the end of the calendar year 2024. The area of forest that will be under these projects would produce enough paper to run through all HP consumer printers over four years.
The first phase of work includes outreach and consultation with local communities, landowners, government authorities, NGOs, academia, and other stakeholders to support these forest conservation actions on the ground. As part of this process, over 1,200 acres (500 hectares) of native forest lands in the Upper Parana and/or Serra do Mar areas of Brazil’s Atlantic Forest will be mapped for on-the-ground forest restoration activities over the next five years, with the first round of forest restoration planting planned for the end of the calendar year 2020.
In addition to these activities, HP is supporting the development of a Forest Stewardship Council Consumer Marketplace. This will give consumers an easy-to-use, comprehensive way to find all FSC retail partners and FSC-certified brands as well as a means to purchase certified products. This project will build awareness about the importance of responsibly managed forests and generate demand for FSC-certified products.
Early on, L’Oréal became aware of the urgent need to address the challenges arising from the global environmental crisis. The company launched the programme ‘Sharing Beauty with All’. While continuing to reduce the environmental footprint of production, it addressed the core of activity: the development of beauty products. From 2013 to 2020, L’Oréal reinvented its way of doing business, transitioning to a more sustainable business model, mitigating its environmental impact and maximizing positive contribution to society at large. By the end of 2019, it had already reduced the CO2 emissions of its factories and distribution centres by 78% compared to 2005, while the volume of production increased by 37% over the same period.
Through the social inclusion programmes, including the Solidarity Sourcing programme, it had also helped 90,635 people from disadvantaged communities gain access to employment. L’Oréal was then recognized by experts, organizations such as the CDP, and by our suppliers and peers, as a leader in sustainability.
In addition to its ongoing long-term efforts to reduce its environmental impact as part of the ‘Sharing Beauty with All’ sustainable development programme, the L’Oréal Group has decided to engage €100 million into impact investing, in order to act upon two key environmental challenges:
Regenerating damaged natural ecosystems: €50 million will be used to finance marine and forest ecosystem restoration projects that also create new social and economic development opportunities for the populations that depend on these ecosystems (developing sustainable agriculture and fishing, eco-tourism, sale of carbon credits). The fund, the L’Oréal Fund for Nature Regeneration, aims to restore one million hectares of degraded ecosystems, capture 15 to 20 million tonnes of CO2 and create hundreds of job opportunities by 2030.
Preventing climate change: €50 million will be directed to financing for projects linked to the circular economy. With this fund, the L’Oréal Group aims to contribute to the quest for solutions and the creation of business models that support the development of a circular economy, particularly in terms of recycling and management of plastic waste.
During 2019, Intel made significant progress in the construction and operation of on-site water reclaim facilities. Eureka Ditch is one of eight earthen irrigation ditches that supply water from the Verde River in Arizona to over 200 property owners. Seepage and evaporation resulted in the loss of an estimated 12% of the water transported through the ditch. This project will enclose a half-mile stretch of the ditch in pipes to reduce water loss and, consequently, the amount of water drawn from the river. The project is expected to restore an estimated 107 million gallons of water to the Verde River each year while reducing maintenance costs, providing more reliable water delivery, building resilience for local farmers.
5. Mitsubishi Corporation
The shrinking of the world’s tropical forests has had a major impact on the global environment, including the effect on the conservation of natural ecosystems and the reduction in the absorption of CO2 which contributes to global warming. Loss of tropical forests is also blamed for causing abnormal weather conditions. Mitsubishi Corporation, in understanding the important role played by tropical forests, has been contributing to their regeneration since 1990.
The company promotes initiatives to achieve rapid regeneration through afforestation methods which are accomplished by the dense planting of native as well as mixed plants. The Malaysian project is based on research by Dr. Akira Miyawaki (of the famous Miyawaki technique). The CSR project’s aim is to demonstrate the feasibility of restoring degraded forest land to conditions that closely resemble a natural forested ecosystem within 40 to 50 years, by intensive mixed planting of native tree species.
The project began with backing provided by Mitsubishi for collaborative research by the Agricultural University of Malaysia and the Yokohama National University. The site is being conducted on land remaining after being cleared, burnt, and used for agriculture near Bintulu in Sarawak, Malaysia. 300,000 seedlings were planted on about 50 hectares. After just 10 years, some of the tallest trees have reached heights of more than 20 meters, and the site is taking on the appearance of a luxuriant forest. In addition, ecotours from Japan bring participants, who work with local people to continue the work of tree planting.
In 1992, the corporation started the Brazilian Project in Tropical Forest Regeneration near Belem at the mouth of the Amazon, in the state of Para, Brazil. This is a collaborative project with the Para Agricultural University and other organizations. With help from local students from primary, middle, and trade schools, more than 400,000 trees of about 100 species have been planted to date.
The challenge there was to plant trees on severely degraded land that had become devoid of vegetation, due to runoff carrying away soil nutrients during the rainy season and severe aridity during the dry season. The project involved covering the ground with mounds made from waste wood and soil, and then planting a mix of fast-growing tree species to promote afforestation under these harsh conditions. 10 years after the project began, some of the pioneer trees are over 20 meters tall and growing at a surprising speed. Mitsubishi provides support for these projects, from planning to management and funding.