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A purposeful approach to tree planting

Matthew O’Shea
Matthew O’Shea
Director, Social Innovation & Philanthropy

Friday 5th June 2020 marked the 46th year of World Environment Day, and we celebrated the occasion by announcing Refinitiv’s 2025 and 2030 sustainability targets.

One target I’m particularly proud of, that aligns perfectly with this year’s World Environment Day theme of biodiversity, is our commitment to plant and conserve one million trees by 2030.

Refinitiv Global Forest Project

To launch this goal, we are unveiling an ambitious Refinitiv Global Forest, with the first reforestation project in Creagan, Scotland.

Purposeful tree planting

Covering 20 hectares, the equivalent of 20 football pitches, with over 45,000 native broadleaf and Scots pine trees, every colleague at Refinitiv will be assigned a tree, as well as providing colleagues, customers and partners with the opportunity to continue to help us grow our Refinitiv Global Forest sites in a collective effort to reach our global 1 million trees target.

With an estimated 15 billion trees cut down every year globally, the impact of deforestation is not only recognized as one of the major sources of greenhouse gas emissions, but also contributes to the damage and degradation of the ecosystems that thrive in and around forests.

The journal, Science, confirmed tree restoration as the number one solution for carbon sequestration, with an estimated area the size of the US available for new forests, which once mature, could store 205 billion tonnes of carbon. Or to put it more impactfully – two thirds of all carbon released into the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution.

Land sinks are one of the most effective solutions to stopping climate change close to 1.5˚C of global warming by 2050 – so planting and conserving trees must without doubt remain on everyone’s agenda if we want to focus on an effective solution.

We recognize that efficiency, effectiveness and scale is key, if we are to make a meaningful impact, requiring a purposeful approach to planting and conserving, ensuring we’re planting the right tree in the right place. Without this knowledge and guidance, we risk losing perfectly healthy trees due to lack of care and unsuitable conditions, or worse – damaging the very ecosystems we intend to protect and preserve.

This is one of the reasons why we’re proud to be partnering with Natural Capital Partners, experts in carbon neutrality and climate finance, for the launch of this first site.

“By supporting a natural climate solution in the highlands of Scotland, Refinitiv is creating a new, thriving forest in a previously deforested area. This diverse, publicly-accessible native woodland will enable Refinitiv to take climate action while providing a habitat for local wildlife, including the rare pine marten and red squirrel. What a wonderful project to kick off an impressive global goal to plant and conserve 1 million trees – we are delighted to be working with Refinitiv on this impactful programme.” – Rebecca Fay, Chief Marketing Officer for Natural Capital Partners.

We’re excited to launch the Refinitiv Global Forest initiative, but note that it’s not just about the planting and conversation of trees to achieve organic carbon neutrality and protecting critical biodiversity, it’s about what we can achieve together by encouraging the inclusion of our clients, partners and employees on this journey.

The social innovators out there will be familiar with 3 Ps – People. Profit. Planet. I hope our example will shift the focus from siloed action to collaborative action for the benefit of both people and planet.

Here’s to the revised 3 Ps – People, Partnership, Planet.

WATCH: Refinitiv Perspectives LIVE – World Environment Day: Working towards a better tomorrow

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