How HR Supports Sustainability Efforts on World Tree Day and Beyond
In discussions around sustainability, trees can often be forgotten as many focus on issues around pollution, but over the last 10 000 years the world has lost a third of its forests through deforestation, logging, and climate change. World Tree and Forests Day, celebrated on the 21st of March, intends to raise understand around the significant role that forests and trees play in the global environment while also increasing awareness of steps that can be taken to protect and support them.
Over the last few years, HR has been progressively involved in their organisation’s sustainability efforts. In earlier articles we have looked at the new role that HR is playing in sustainability actions in detail and seen how this differs from corporate social responsibility. It’s encouraging to see that 62% of Certified Top Employers are using their dashboard consistently to show their social and environmental performance. 64% of Top Employers are also incentivising their employees to support environmental goals.
The key for organisations is to not only raise awareness but to also create programmes that show actionable positive results for the environment. On World Tree and Forests Day, we would like to highlight some of the practices actioned by Top Employers and Top Employers Institute as an organisation.
What are Top Employers Doing
- Deutsche Post DHL Group have aimed to plant one million trees every year until 2025, aligning with the organisation’s sustainability efforts to protect the environment while reducing their carbon emissions. DHL Express Thailand are working towards making this goal a reality by partnering with the Royal Forest Department to plant 5 380 trees on a 41 600sq.m. in Dong Phaya Yen National Reserve Forest, Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Thailand. They undertook this work on their Global Volunteer Day. The reforesting initiative wasn’t only limited to their planting activities but also included a supporting donation from DHL. Alongside this project they also gave DHL plant growing kits to customers at their DHL Express Service Points in Thailand. The tree planting projects are part of the organisation’s aim to become a green logistics service provider.
- Unilever are committed to building a deforestation-free supply chain in palm oil, tea, soy and cacao, paper and board, by the end of 2023. By 2023 they want to protect and regenerate 1.5 million hectares of land, forests, and oceans. To meet these ambitious goals they have supported landscape programmes in Southeast Asia. In November 2022 they had already planted 150 000 trees across various programmes, protected 150 000 hectares of natural ecosystems protected, certified 67 000 hectares of plantations and smallholder farms, and certified 5 000 independent small holder farmers as RSPOs. Their Chief Procurement Officer, Willem Uijen, notes that while they have achieved several results there are still challenges ahead of them they are collaborating with governments, farmers and partners to work towards a more sustainable future.
- Vodafone are unleashing the superpower of trees to help overcome climate change in Tanzania through the Vodacom Tanzania Foundation and the World Wildlife Fund, which have partnered in a reforestation programme. The programme not only plants trees but also uses digital tools to educate communities to support a more sustainable future for everyone. This programme chose to focus on Tanzania because they had found that over 60% of the country had been affected by climate change. The reforestation programme aims to help restore over 5.2 million hectares of forests in the country. In 2022 the four-year initiative had already planted over 90 000 seedlings and trees, generated job opportunities and raised awareness in the community about climate action, working with over 350 000 families and communities. Their plan to harness the superpower of trees is part of their ambition to empower communities, improve food security and act against climate change for a better future.
It is uplifting to see how these Top Employers have been able to make actionable steps to a more sustainable future through these programmes. Inspired by these Top Employers and many more leading organisations, Top Employers Institute has also set up a tree planting programme.
How does Top Employers Institute’s Tree Planting Programme Work
The Top Employers Institute’s Trees for Tomorrow tree planting programme began in 2021 as a World Earth Day pledge. The organisation chose to plant trees because we believe that trees represent life and growth while also contributing to a better world. These beliefs align with our organisation’s purpose and as such the tree planting has continued to this day through a partnership with Trees for All.
Whenever a new employee joins Top Employers Institute, no matter where in the world they are based, they will have two trees planted in their names. One of their trees will be planted in the Netherlands and the other will be planted in another country in the world, in 2022 with Trees for All Top Employers Institute planted trees in Bolivia, Madagascar, Mexico and, of course, the Netherlands. In last year that meant that we helped to plant 158 trees.
The new employee always gets a certificate that tells them where their two trees have been planted. It is all part of our organisation’s way of contributing to a more sustainable future.
Organisations that support World Tree Day can help to improve their local environments by supporting programmes and initiatives that contribute to a sustainable future. It is important to acknowledge that every small action counts and whether it is through a large programme or a small one, there can be a significant impact on the world.