We’re not ready
to say farewell to our forests
In a city, trees and green spaces provide much needed peace and tranquillity from the hustle and bustle of work life and traffic. On warm summer days, we flock to green spaces and appreciate every second spent in the cooling shade of our trees, as our children play on the grass. In the city, we wouldn’t dream of cutting down a healthy tree, so why is this different in our rainforests?
There has never been a more important time to care about our trees. Even those that are thousands of miles away. Across the world’s forests, an area of trees the size of 36 football pitches is cleared every single minute. This process, known as ‘deforestation’, is caused by things like the planting of crops and materials that we rely on in our everyday lives and that, in global industries, workers and local communities depend on to provide for their families.
"When we live in a city, we think that the rainforest is so far away from us when it's really very present. From the urban droughts and flooding across the world, to the air we breathe or medicine that we need," says Andre Laurentino, Creative Director. Watching the "Farewell to the Forest" film, which shows a ‘Treefugee’ fleeing towards an urban city for safety, makes you wonder if a tree may be safer in the city than in the rainforest these days.
Forests are vital to our existence, wherever we live on this planet. Often referred to as ‘the lungs of our planet’, trees help produce the oxygen that we breathe. Not only that, they also store carbon, which can be released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide - a greenhouse gas, when trees are cut down, destroyed or burnt. With trees being lost at an alarming rate, the destruction of our forests is emitting more greenhouse gases than all the planes, trains and cars on the planet!
The result of this imbalance is increasing the likelihood of extreme weather events, worldwide. São Paulo in Brazil has already suffered record droughts and water crises, California has experienced devastating wild fires, and Indonesia has seen flooding wreaking havoc on homes and livelihoods. In South Africa, this year’s droughts will cause the lowest corn crops in nearly a decade.
Ensuring the protection of the world’s forests is a huge challenge. Unilever believes the products we all enjoy should be made in a way that does not harm our forests. As part of our Sustainable Living Plan, we want to halve the greenhouse gas impact of our products throughout our supply chain by 2020. We already source 55% of our agricultural raw materials sustainably and have committed to achieving zero net deforestation. We hope to set an example to other businesses that shows it is possible to meet the demands of a growing population, while protecting our forests. Click here to learn more about our Sustainable Living Plan goals and achievements.
This year, we are also supporting the work of WWF to help protect one million trees in two of the most threatened forest areas in the world, Brazil and Indonesia. WWF is a respected leader in the area of forest protection and, through this partnership, we will work to reduce deforestation and forest degradation, restore forest areas, promote sustainable forest management and increase tree stocks in agricultural landscapes. WWF and Unilever believe that, together, we can spread the message about the importance of preserving and protecting the world’s trees.
We are working hard to do our part but we can’t do it alone. Take climate action and sign the Unilever & WWF pledge today to help us protect one million trees. For every signature we collect, Unilever and WWF will help protect a tree on your behalf.
By working together, we can build a bright future for our children and generations to come.