The environment has never been such a hot topic as it is right now — no pun intended. Everywhere you look is news of polluted oceans, burning rain forests and melting polar ice caps. The UN Climate Action Summit on September 23 took place amid worldwide climate action strikes attended by millions of people at thousands of events in hundreds of countries around the world.
Technology companies have a unique role when it comes to environmental issues. On one hand, by its nature technology can be detrimental to the environment, producing pollution and waste that causes damage. But technology can also be the key to preventing more damage and ensuring a healthier future, by creating more efficient systems that produce less waste, to efficiently monitor the planet’s existing resources and to make advances in alternative energy solutions.
At the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Development Impact Summit in September, HP Inc. announced plans with its longstanding partner World Wildlife Fund (WWF). In a five-year agreement, HP, in partnership with WWF, is committing to the restoration, protection and conservation of 200,000 acres of forest. Over the five years, HP will contribute $11 million for WWF to restore part of Brazil’s threatened Atlantic Forest and increase sustainable management of state-owned farms and forest plantations in China.
HP will also contribute toward WWF’s development of science-based targets for forests. According to the Science Based Targets website, “targets adopted by companies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are considered ‘science-based’ if they are in line with what the latest climate science says is necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement — to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.”
While WWF notes that it’s not really possible to answer the question “How many—and what quality of— forests are needed to sustain life on Earth?” they’re using science-based targets to develop answers, and are working with a number of large corporations. There are 200 companies around the world that are part of WWF’s Global Forest & Trade Network, mainstreaming responsible forest management and trade using Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. HP will amplify the conservation efforts already underway with WWF and International Paper, a longtime FSC stakeholder and certificate holder.
“We are thrilled that HP has decided to join us in our ambition to advance conservation and restoration actions in forest ecosystems beyond our existing fiber supply chains,” said Tom Cleves, International Paper’s vice president of global citizenship. “We applaud HP for holding all its suppliers accountable for responsible sourcing and ensuring consumers know that the paper they buy comes from renewable, sustainably managed forests.”
“HP’s sustainable impact strategy has three pillars: planet, people and community,” said HP’s Anneliese Olson. “That’s one of the reasons we’re thrilled WWF has this perspective — the way we’ve structured this program, it really is working to address all three of those pillars: the planet in terms of forest restoration protection, people in terms of the indigenous populations who rely on those forests for their immediate source of resources, and community – forests benefit all of us over the course of time.”
The new initiative, led by WWF, begins this November. The two major forest restoration and management projects mark the first within HP’s Sustainable Forests Cooperative.
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