Jennifer Broome, Vice President of Philanthropy
COMPANIES in the United States play an important role in restoring America’s forests — and many are already leading by example. That was the main message from American Forests President and CEO Jad Daley when he moderated a discussion at the recent VERGE Carbon conference.
“With the products they are creating and the way they operate their businesses,” companies can make a big difference, Daley told the crowd of corporate sustainability leaders from across the country.
He provided examples of how Travelers, Clif Bar, Bank of America and other companies work with American Forests to plant trees, fund the development of data-driven action plans for creating urban forests, and more. Leaders from Microsoft and United Airlines talked about how their companies are innovating around ways to incorporate forest restoration into broader sustainability goals, including driving down their carbon emissions.
This type of work is critical, given that forests and forest products absorb and sequester approximately 15 per- cent of our country’s CO2 emissions, making them one of the most effective nature-based solutions to addressing climate change.
This was the first VERGE conference, an annual event, solely focused on unlocking the value of carbon by sequestering it and using it to create innovative products, materials and services. American Forests co-sponsored the conference, as we want to ensure trees and forests are front and center in that conversation.
We walked the talk by hosting a tree planting event during the conference. In partnership with Urban ReLeaf, Clif Bar and several conference attendees, we planted 20 trees in the city of Oak- land, Calif. The sycamore, gingkoes and Chinese pistashe trees will absorb carbon and help create Tree Equity in the city.
Jennifer Broome writes from Washington, D.C., and is American Forests’ vice president of philanthropy.