This is not new. What is new is the scientific quantification of the forest impact on climate. 4 years ago the New York Declaration on Forests provided very specific numbers on how much forest the world would have to restore to limit our temperature increase: 350 million hectares of additional forest by 2030 (an area the size of India) could sequester up to 1.7 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent annually or 4.7% of the world's total annual emissions. Other research suggested already in 2011 that halting and reversing tropical deforestation could reduce net emissions by as much as 30%!
Who will fund this? Pioneering companies around the world are showing the way: Unilever with their ´position on eliminating deforestation´ aim at zero deforestation in their supply chain. Shell with “Sky” pledge to reach net zero emissions by 2070, calling the fight against deforestation, ‘ a game changer to push the stretched 1.5 ºC ambition of the Paris Agreement´. UCB restores thousands of hectares of degraded forests in Ethiopia to offset the carbon footprint they are unable to reduce. Brabantia and Samsonite are rewarding customers who buy their most sustainable products with a tree, making the consumer part of the solution.
These leading companies know that forests are not only the best technology for climate, they help deliver on all UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as ending poverty and giving everyone access to clean water.
How do we keep the current momentum initiated by these pioneers, make it mainstream to reach the scale needed to limit our global temperatures?
We have seen with the #MeToo movement for women’s rights that -within just one year- mentalities can be transformed for the better. As consumers, we vote many times a day when choosing the products and services we consume. Why not choose brands that have demonstrated a clear commitment to protect our forests against others that don’t? It’s time for #EarthToo where we all stand up for the cause.