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Daniel Vallauri & Stephanie Mansourian
Today, companies are pledging to plant millions, billions and even a trillion trees. Trees serve many purposes including eco-marketing. There is much appeal in the positive act of planting a tree. We carried out research among the Global Fortune 500 companies with headquarters in France, Switzerland and the UK to understand, characterise and quantify, where possible, their tree planting initiatives. We carried out a comprehensive desktop review, and interviewed two companies, two funding instruments, one project developer, one enabler and one implementer. Our findings show that overall a total of 58 out of 62 companies fund tree planting. A total of at least 190 million trees were reported to have been planted between 2000 and 2018 by the 58 companies analysed. There are several other actors along the ’tree planting chain’ including brokers that act as intermediaries between the companies and those carrying out tree planting, financial mechanisms, verifiers and certifiers in the case of certified schemes, and implementing NGOs or communities on the ground. A typology is proposed based on the findings. Our research highlights that there is little or no evidence that companies pay enough attention to the ultimate purpose of tree planting, to the landscape within which these efforts take place, or to the role of trees in a wider perspective: the emphasis is clearly on the number of trees planted. Four recommendations are proposed to channel available funding, infrastructure, social and environmental responsibility and energy towards tree planting that contributes to real Forest Landscape Restoration projects.
Conference Presentation, SER2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program