By Jena Thompson-Meredith
For more than 30 years, The Conservation Fund has worked at the intersection of conservation and community. We believe that environmental protection and economic vitality must go hand in hand, and this longstanding principle guides our team every day.
With a presence in every state across the U.S., we have protected 7.5 million acres valued at more than $5 billion, including more than two million acres of forests valued at just short of $2 billion.
And, in many ways, our work is just beginning.
The Conservation Fund was founded on a simple premise: that environmental conservation fosters economic development. Our people-focused, business-minded approach has enduring impact and multiple benefits for land and water resources through conservation and sustainable community and economic development.
I believe every person can and should be a conservationist. To quote one of our previous Board Chairs, we must take an “all-hands-on-deck” approach to conservation. Our collaboration with UPS® exemplifies this approach.
UPS has supported The Conservation Fund since 2010 through the UPS carbon neutral shipping program, which enables customers in 36 countries to offset the carbon impact of their envelope, package, or freight shipments. It’s a tangible example of how a company can partner with its customers to make a positive impact.
When a customer supports UPS carbon neutral, their support is not just reducing greenhouse gas emissions. With The Conservation Fund, UPS is protecting forests that filter water, create habitat for wildlife, support education programs for schoolchildren and maintain jobs for the local economy.
On average, for just a few cents per shipment, customers are able to demonstrate their commitment to climate protection and environmental sustainability more broadly. It’s a win-win proposition, and we hope other companies will follow in the footsteps of UPS.
Support from the carbon neutral shipping program helps The Conservation Fund protect redwood and Douglas-fir forests that trap carbon dioxide within our North Coast Forest Conservation Initiative. More specifically, UPS’s commitment is playing a central role in conservation efforts within the Garcia River, Big River, and Salmon Creek Forests, which the Fund protected and continues to manage as sustainable forests.
This area is home to beautiful redwoods and rich wildlife, including spotted owls and the coho salmon – a species near extinction. Without leaders like UPS, the forests of California’s North Coast could be at risk of being developed for commercial or residential purposes. The company is helping to ensure that we keep this area intact for the surrounding communities, the region and our broader climate.
Equally important, UPS has been active in our “Parks with Purpose” program, which addresses the specific challenges facing urban conservation efforts. For each Parks with Purpose project, we work with the local community to identify, protect and restore the very best land that creates safer places for children to play and families to gather. We also demonstrate how these natural areas can filter, slow and clean floodwaters, grow healthy food and create green jobs. One project that has directly benefited from UPS’s efforts is Lindsay Street Park, which is in the shadow of downtown Atlanta and less than a mile from the Georgia Dome.
UPS recognizes the importance of both forest and urban-based conservation. It’s a company that translates this knowledge into daily leadership.
Support from UPS carbon neutral shipping has enabled the capture of 120,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of taking 25,316 cars off the road for a year. The carbon is trapped by about 400 acres at the Fund’s Garcia River, Big River, and Salmon Creek Forests in Mendocino County.
However, these impressive numbers only tell part of the story. Through all of our collaborations, UPS and The Conservation Fund are charting a new path -- one in which private sector leaders help to ensure that the resources and places we rely on will be there for generations to come. We can’t wait to continue this essential work alongside our friends at UPS.
Jena Thompson-Meredith is Director, Business Partnerships for The Conservation Fund.
How many trees would you need to plant to offset your carbon impact? You can find out here: https://gozero.conservationfund.org/ups
Learn more about UPS’s sustainability efforts at ups.com/sustainability.