WWF and Unilever have announced a one-year, international partnership to engage consumers in the fight against deforestation — one of the key drivers of climate change — with the goal of protecting a million trees.
The partnership between the world’s leading conservation organization and the consumer goods giant aims to raise awareness of the importance of forests to life on earth as well as the threats our forests face.
An area the size of England is lost to deforestation every year, while up to a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions come from deforestation and forest degradation, WWF says. With world leaders due to meet in Paris in December for the UN climate talks, the campaign will engage consumers in the issues and give them practical ways to raise their voice and make a difference.
As part of the partnership, Unilever and WWF will help protect a million trees by supporting forest protection programs in Brazil and Indonesia, the countries with historically the highest rates of deforestation in the world and some of the largest areas of intact forest globally.
Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International, said: “This partnership with Unilever is an opportunity to engage millions of consumers for forests and for the climate, inspiring positive change in people's everyday lives. WWF's relationship with Unilever goes back to the 1990s when we worked together to establish the Marine Stewardship Council. Since then, Unilever has been leading corporate efforts and commitment to the planet. We hope others will be inspired to follow suit.”
“Stopping deforestation is an urgent priority in tackling climate change,” said Unilever CEO Paul Polman. “Forests are second only to the oceans as the largest global store of carbon and support 80 percent of terrestrial biodiversity across the globe.
"As a business it is crucial that we operate sustainably and take action to help consumers live sustainably. It’s a moral imperative and a business one — to be here for the long term. We are delighted to be partnering with WWF to bring together a growing community of people that want to fight deforestation.”
Consumers are invited to pledge their support at https://brightfuture.unilever.com. Next month, a social media campaign will be launched simultaneously in the UK, Brazil, Indonesia and the US to engage consumers in the fight against deforestation.
No word yet on how WWF and Unilever plan to engage the masses on this issue, but they’d do well to take a cue from Code REDD, whose recent #StandForTrees campaign rallied consumers to offset almost 17,000 tons of CO2 in its first two days, thanks to a powerful video from spoken-word artist Prince Ea.
This partnership with WWF is just Unilever’s latest foray into engaging citizens on global issues — in April, the company announced plans to partner with leading mass social movements Global Citizen and Live Earth: Road to Paris, which respectively commit to activating consumers to demand climate action at COP21 and reducing extreme poverty by 2030. Unilever built the partnerships as part of its brightFuture campaign, which — combined with its Project Sunlight initiative — encourages consumers to take action for a more sustainable future. Through joint efforts with these mass social movements, the CPG giant says it is demonstrating its support for ambitious sustainable development and climate goals this year.