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24th April 2023
...continued from Part 1

Where the private sector can help

The private sector has a key role to play to bring scale, innovation, funding and expertise to restoration projects. Many companies have already made high quality commitments to support restoration efforts, through initiatives such as the World Economic Forumís initiative, which aims to support the movement to conserve, restore, and grow one trillion trees by 2030.

Companies across the world invest in forests for all sorts of reasons, to clean up their own supply chains or to align with corporate net-zero plans and contribute to the achievement of global sustainability goals. But sadly some companies have done it for the wrong reasons - greenwashing. Restoration instead of reducing fossil fuel usage, phantom forests, failing plantations, and cheap, poorly planned, top-down projects are the result. This leads to declining consumer confidence in green claims. It is important that both the private and public sectors understand that achieving high quality forest restoration will cost more and that appropriate diligence is needed.

Greenwashing is never okay. The most important thing companies can do is reduce their fossil fuel emissions, as well as protect intact ecosystems. But even if we dramatically dial down emissions, we would still need to remove additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. And we still need to protect and restore nature to safeguard the ecosystem services on which we all rely. Reforestation remains one of the most cost-effective, scalable methods for carbon dioxide removal, but poorly-planned, ineffective and damaging practices move us off-course from reaching critical targets.

It takes time, concerted effort from all sectors, and pushing the boundaries of science, practice and policy to reforest well through a socio-ecological approach. We have already come a long way. Letís not lose the momentum that has been built.