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Sustainability

Fighting Climate Change: Salesforce Surpasses 10 Million Tree Milestone in 12 Months

The view from a top of a forest of healthy trees

  • Salesforce announced today it has met a major milestone in its decade-long commitment to conserve, restore, and grow 100 million trees by 2030 in support of the 1t.org mission
  • Company’s climate strategy embraces nature-based solutions, renewable energy, technology and innovation, and supply chain reduction targets

Forests are one of the Earth’s largest carbon sinks, decreasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Despite their importance, however, systematic destruction by fires, deforestation, and other human activity has led to the loss of nearly half the world’s trees, most within the last 100 years. 

According to ecosystem ecologist Thomas Crowther of Restor, addressing climate change requires both cutting emissions and drawing down the carbon in our atmosphere. It’s an “and, not or” approach on the global journey to net zero emissions. So, when it comes to nature-based solutions for a carbon drawdown, forests are one of the best tools we’ve got.   

That’s why Salesforce has committed itself to conserving, restoring and growing forests as a major component of our integrated climate action strategy. 

Partnership drives major goals that combat climate change

In January 2020, we partnered with the World Economic Forum to launch 1t.org, a global effort to bring together companies, NGOs, climate activists, and governments with the goal of conserving, restoring and growing one trillion trees around the world by 2030. In support of 1t.org’s mission, Salesforce announced our own goal: to support and mobilize the conservation, restoration and growth of 100 million trees by the end of the decade. 

Since that goal was announced, we have supported 19 projects throughout the world. Critically, as of today, we have now reached the first milestone: funding over 10 million trees.

Salesforce partnerships in different regions to support 100m trees planted

Projects supported by Salesforce engage locally and globally

Our strategy is focused on catalyzing the right trees, in the right places, by the right people, for the right reasons (i.e., climate change, biodiversity, livelihoods, etc). Some are assisted natural regeneration, some are managed planting; and they are located in developed and developing countries. 

Trees planted today, if properly nurtured, will take about 10-15 years to mature. There’s an old adage that says the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; and the second best time is now. Our actions today are front-loading investments for future climate and biodiversity impact.

Globally, projects span from Africa, Australia to Europe to Latin America, as well as the U.S. Some highlights below and you can see all 19 projects here:

  • Mangrove restoration in Madagascar: More than 90% of Madagascar’s original forests have been destroyed, displacing entire animal species and limiting the Malagasy’s ability to farm and live on the land. With financial support from Salesforce, Eden Reforestation Projects is producing, planting, and protecting 2 million trees in Ankarafantsika National Park and 8 million mangrove trees in the Betsiboka River Estuary. The project will employ 150+ full-time and seasonal workers who receive a fair wage to produce and plant trees, patrol, and fight forest fires.
  • Reforesting the Camp Fire Burn Scar: Supporting American Forests to reforest land devastated by California’s deadliest fire, the Camp Fire, which claimed at least 85 lives. The project uses the latest climate science to pioneer new tactics to grow healthy resilient seedlings. In November, on the fire’s second anniversary, we planted 2,000 trees on private land burned by the fire. Salesforce is supporting planting 39,000+ more trees in the Camp Fire burn scar in the coming weeks and months.
  • Restoring degraded farmland in Australia in partnership with the Dja Dja Wurrung: With financial support from Salesforce, Greenfleet is restoring degraded farmland and planting 150,000+ native trees, linking two large patches of remnant woodland to increase biodiversity and ecosystems. Engaging on this initiative with the local indigenous group Dja Dja Wurrung has played a vital role in the planning and execution of this project. 
  • Reforestation in Scotland to help a farm diversify its business while supporting the environment and biodiversity: Working with Natural Capital Partners to support the reforestation of a multi-purpose native woodland that will enable the local farm diversify its business while supporting the local environment and biodiversity. The 23,000 trees will capture approximately 4,000 tones of CO2e during their growing lifetime. 
  • Watershed restoration in Latin America: In partnership with Salesforce and Global Forest Generation, Acción Andina is helping to restore one million hectares of high Andean ecosystems in six Latin American countries over the next 25 years. Salesforce funded 600,000 of the 1.2 million trees planted in 2020 and works with on-the-ground conservation leaders and indigenous communities to reforest priority watersheds for climate, biodiversity and people.
A forest of trees
Photo credit: Arnaud Mesureur

Enabling the ecopreneurs of tomorrow

Technology also plays a critical role in meeting these milestones through innovation.

Last year, the World Economic Forum launched UpLink, a new, open-source digital platform to foster mass participation from entrepreneurs, community groups and individuals around the world to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

Co-designed and developed with founding partners Salesforce and Deloitte, the platform helps to enable the next generation of mission-driven entrepreneurs and young innovators.

UpLink’s Trillion Trees Challenge, co-designed with 1t.org, was a global call for solutions to help meet the goal of conserving, restoring and growing a trillion trees over the next decade. Five priority areas were identified: mass mobilization, reaching scale, greening cities, building a forest economy, and Fourth Industrial Revolution (i.e., automation, IoT) technologies for trees. 

Through innovation and technology, tree innovators are driving impact at scale, including:

  • Pachama which is developing a modern market for forest carbon credits using remote sensing and machine learning. 
  • Dendra Systems provides a cutting edge ecosystem restoration platform that combines ecology with drone and AI technologies, making optimising and delivering transparency to biodiversity restoration projects at a scale never before possible.
  • Reforestum & Ecosphere+ deliver an end-to-end solution that brings transparency through technology to scale climate action, connecting companies and individuals to vital conservation and reforestation projects.

“All of the Above” solutions create new opportunities

Harnessing nature-based solutions like trees is a critical piece of our climate strategy as they help remove carbon from the atmosphere while supporting biodiversity, local economies and livelihoods.

But while trees and other nature-based solutions are absolutely vital, we must do more in order to meet our climate goals. We are at a critical juncture where an urgent “all of the above” approach is needed when it comes to climate solutions.

Key to how Salesforce is tackling climate change:

  • Making climate an official part of the company public policy platform
  • Setting an approved 1.5°C science-based emission reduction target and working with 60% of our suppliers to set their own emission reduction targets. 
  • Focusing on improving efficiency throughout our operations and sourcing renewable energy towards a 100% renewable energy goal.
  • Putting technology in the hands of companies to give them a 360-degree view of their environmental impact with Sustainability Cloud.

Partnering for a future we all want and can live in

Forests, which are critical to the health of our planet, covered about half the earth before the agricultural revolution began. In the 8,000 years since, while we’ve managed to feed and house billions of people, we’ve also lost or degraded half of those forests, fueling a biodiversity collapse and the climate crisis. It’s time we stop taking from our natural ecosystems, and start giving back.

Conserving, restoring, and growing 1 trillion trees is a movement that every company and every person can be part of. It won’t be easy, but every person can make a difference. You can plant trees in backyards and neighborhoods, or donate to one of the many responsible programs that have long been restoring and protecting forests around the world. By getting involved, anyone can start regreening the Earth today.

Join us by visiting 1t.org and be part of the movement.