In a threatened stretch of rainforest along the Atlantic coast of Brazil, new restoration work will be funded by a somewhat unlikely partner—the tech manufacturer HP. The company is spending $11 million over the next five years to help the World Wildlife Fund scale up work protecting forests both in Brazil and in China on a total area of land covering roughly 200,000 acres.
“It’s an example of what we really want to see replicated more by companies, which is building on responsible sourcing from those areas, but taking action for forests even outside of that,” says Linda Walker, senior director of corporate engagement at World Wildlife Fund. The nonprofit had previously worked with HP to help the company examine its own supply chain for its line of HP-branded paper. Other companies, like Apple, have also recently invested in protecting forests in a way that goes beyond any direct impact from their own supply chain. “We’re excited because we see more companies interested in basically giving back more to forests than they’re taking out,” says Walker, calling it a “forest positive” approach.
In Brazil, the funding will help World Wildlife Fund expand its efforts in an ecological hotspot that is home to 10% of the world’s plant and animal species; it will work to restore around 1,200 acres in the area. The forest is also critical for providing clean water to some of Brazil’s largest cities. In China, the funding will help forest plantations covering another 197,684 acres get FSC certification; the nonprofit believes that building a more sustainable forestry sector in China can help relieve pressure on forests in other parts of the world. The nonprofit has teams on the ground closely monitoring the progress in both areas.
Funding from companies can add to forest protection work being funded by governments, such as a new commitment from Norway to spend $150 million to help protect forests in the African nation of Gabon. “We feel strongly that those can be mutually reinforcing,” says Walker. “We need more private sector action that can support and encourage stronger public sector actions and stronger land-use planning and governance. And in the same way, stronger government action and commitment can create the enabling conditions so that companies that want to source responsible forest products or agricultural products can do it in a way that they can meet the commitments that they’re making to be deforestation-free.”