Why collaboration is key to global reforestation efforts

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Kristina Kloberdanz, Chief Sustainability Officer, Mastercard


  • Multi-stakeholder collaboration is essential for accomplishing ambitious Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
  • The business community can play a key role in the reforestation movement by developing large-scale initiatives.

Quarantine, lockdown, social distancing – these are COVID-19 terms that now are part of our everyday vocabulary. These terms and their actions have both reinvigorated many people’s love of the outdoors, while also limiting our ability to see new sites in nature beyond our own backyard.

Where do you dream of travelling when you finally can? I bet there is a tree, a mountain, a landscape or a body of water somewhere in that image. For me, that image includes trees. They signify life, growth, weathering the seasons – the proof that we can too. And that gives me hope and optimism. The preservation and regeneration of nature is not only critical to the survival of the planet, it is also essential to the health and wellbeing of each of us.

Restoring nature is bigger than any one of us can accomplish alone and all sectors are needed – including the private sector which can often act faster, has the financial resources and can help to reach scale. That’s why we at Mastercard are applying the full scale and scope of our business, technology, partnerships, and most importantly our people, to pioneer environmentally sustainable growth for all. We’re doubling down on our efforts to partner with and learn from those on the frontlines of sustainable development and I am honoured to Chair the 1t.org US Chapter’s Stakeholder Council.

In 2020, we were one of the first companies to pledge support to 1t.org, because we truly believe we can make a greater impact together than if we each acted alone. Multi-stakeholder collaboration is crucial as it brings together a diversity of viewpoints – across regions, sectors and academic disciplines – that ultimately strengthen our mission. It helps us unlock common challenges, speed up idea generation and ultimately, find and implement of solutions. For example, a recent deep dive on geospatial restoration monitoring techniques has given many of our stakeholders an actionable opportunity to instill hard science and new technology into their planning.

What’s the World Economic Forum doing about deforestation?

Halting deforestation is essential to avoiding the worst effects of global climate change.

The destruction of forests creates almost as much greenhouse gas emissions as global road travel, and yet it continues at an alarming rate.

In 2012, we brought together more than 150 partners working in Latin America, West Africa, Central Africa and South-East Asia – to establish the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020: a global public-private partnership to facilitate investment in systemic change.

The Alliance, made up of businesses, governments, civil society, indigenous people, communities and international organizations, helps producers, traders and buyers of commodities often blamed for causing deforestation to achieve deforestation-free supply chains.

The Commodities and Forests Agenda 2020, summarizes the areas in which the most urgent action is needed to eliminate deforestation from global agricultural supply chains.

The Tropical Forest Alliance 2020is gaining ground on tackling deforestation linked to the production of four commodities: palm oil, beef, soy, and pulp and paper.

Get in touch to join our mission to halt to deforestation.

2021 is set to be a crucial year for climate action, and we believe the private sector has a vital role to play in the transition to a zero-carbon economy. The quality of all our futures are deeply and inextricably linked to the health and wellbeing of our planet, and the private sector can lead by example. This week, we announced our commitment to net-zero by 2050.

In addition to improving our own environmental footprint, we’re driving systemic change through powerful coalitions and empowering our network of nearly 3 billion consumers to take collective action to preserve the environment. In practice, this means going beyond reducing our own environmental footprint to actively regenerate the natural resources which continued growth relies on. That’s why we also launched the Priceless Planet Coalition – pledging to restore 100 million trees over five years, with more than 40 partners.

Driving social and biodiversity co-benefits is integral to this work. The success of initiatives tackling the UN Sustainable Development Goals depends on the cooperation of local communities, and they deserve to derive as much benefit from forest restoration as our planet does. In fact, without proper planning to optimize benefits for local communities that call these places home – we can’t claim to have been successful at all. The experience of the 1t.org working groups in these disciplines is deep and gives us all an opportunity to leverage their expertise.

For this coming decade, we need commitment and support from all industries to reimagine a new type of growth – one that benefits not just our economies but also people, communities and nature. 1t.org US is scaling up recruitment to welcome new pledges in 2021, so I encourage you to consider how your participation can drive meaningful change for the planet. We can all apply our people, assets and innovation toward building a more sustainable future. Our future is depending on us all doing our part.

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