The importance of reforestation, and how your business can help

With COP27 around the corner, climate change is top of the agenda for governments and organisations around the globe. The world’s forests are a key weapon in the fight against climate change because trees and plants absorb carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas that traps the sun’s heat inside our atmosphere and causes global warming.

Since the start of the industrial revolution more CO2 has been released than forests and other “carbon sinks” can absorb, a problem exacerbated by deforestation.

According to the World Resources Institute, the planet is currently losing 3.9 million hectares of primary tropical forest a year. And that’s just tropical forests. It’s difficult to imagine the full scale of forest loss but this online tool gives an idea of how much is destroyed, mapped to your neighbourhood.

Why is reforestation important?

Reforestation is our attempt to replace the lost trees and help rebuild the planet’s ability to absorb and store CO2. Until now, reforestation has mostly been carried out by charitable trusts using donated money. In 2005, the Kyoto Protocol, supported by the UN and governments around the world, set up carbon credit trading in an attempt to turn carbon into a marketable commodity that can be invested in. Reforestation is one of the major elements in the carbon credit system and is a great way that businesses can do the right thing and protect our environment for future generations.

Governments, organisations, and individuals can purchase carbon credits to offset their own carbon emissions. The credits bought in one part of the world fund projects to replace an equivalent amount of CO2. And because trees both store carbon and absorb CO2, funding reforestation projects has become a major part of carbon credit trading.

Building carbon offsetting into your business

There are many ways for your business to get involved in carbon offsetting and make sure you’re doing the right thing. It’s easy to calculate your business’s carbon footprint and then offset.

With consumers becoming ever more conscious of the environmental impact of their decisions, the appetite for working with sustainable businesses is ever stronger. Aligning your business with this isn’t just the right thing to do, but it’s also smart business.

In terms of making it happen, there’s a whole range of organisations out there that can assist. Ecologi for example, is just one business that has emerged to help businesses go carbon neutral. Likewise, charities like One Tree Planted allow you to link purchases to tree planting, all of which makes it easier than ever for entrepreneurs to go carbon neutral and give customers the opportunity to join in this mission, and work with businesses that don’t cost the earth.

So, as we can see, entrepreneurs in the 21st century no longer need to make a choice between success in business, and being kind to our shared environment. Now more than ever it’s not only possible to do both, but also a good business move.

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Philip Keezer

I’m Philip J. Keezer, president and founder of management consulting firm Grindstone Capital. Dedicated to hard work, learning, positivity and accountability.