Unilever plants 195 770 trees to combat climate change

In partnership with Wildlands

Dr. Andrew Venter, CEO of Wildlands and Mr. Peter Cowan, Chairman of Unilever South Africa Mr. Peter Cowan, Chairman of Unilever South Africa with Wildlands employees Dr. Andrew Venter, CEO of Wildlands and Mr. Peter Cowan, Chairman of Unilever South Africa

Climate change is a reality that is faced the world over, most recently manifesting in droughts, heatwaves and unseasonably cold weather in some parts of South Africa. From food security to access to clean water, the consequences of climate change are vast and far reaching. Unilever South Africa has, in partnership with Wildlands, taken action to combat climate change by planting 1 million trees across South Africa.

As part its brightFuture climate action plan, one million indigenous trees will be planted in predetermined areas of South Africa over the next three years. Although the campaign was only launched in September this year, it is already showing much success, with 195 770 trees already having been planted. These trees were planted in line with Unilever’s commitment to plant a tree for every pledge or tweet received*. Since the campaign launch, over 100 000 pledges and tweets have been received.

“The launch of the tree-planting campaign coincided with the establishment of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development,” said Peter Cowan, Senior Vice President and Chairman of Unilever South Africa. “The Unilever Sustainable Living Campaign, which strives to make sustainable living commonplace, mirrors the aims of the Global Goals and, in the instance of combatting climate change and preventing deforestation, aligns perfectly with Global Goal number 13 (Climate Action).”

Cowan confirms that the trees planted, with the assistance of Wildlands, promote sustainable forest management, while aiding in the conversion of carbon emissions and the reduction of carbon footprints. “Our commitment to plant 1 million trees is fully aligned to Unilever’s global commitment to climate action seen with the recent commitment made at COP21 for Unilever to be carbon positive by 2030.”

In addition to the tree-planting campaign, Unilever has developed key climate change advocacy messages. As the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) is held in Paris, France, Unilever confirms that it sees climate change and sustainable development as two sides of the same coin, stating that the cost of inaction now exceeds the cost of action.

According to Dr. Andrew Venter from Wildlands, this project has the power to change the world – and its climate. “Trees have often been cited as the best technology to fighting climate change. However, it is essential to remember that preventing deforestation is only one part of the solution – reforestation must occur too. This is the goal of this tree-planting campaign.”

With the impressive progress achieved, Unilever and Wildlands believe that others will follow suit, playing their role in making a brighter future for all a reality. Taking action against climate change is essential, and achievable; and if the number of pledges received to date is anything to go by, it is a problem that society believes can and should be solved.

“We urge everyone to join us as we combat climate change. The 1 million trees we are planting in the next three years will help to reduce deforestation and alleviate flash flooding due to forest degradation,” concluded Cowan.

*Pledges can be made at www.brightfuture.unilever.co.za.

About Unilever South Africa

Barry Dijoe External and Media Relations Manager

031 570 247 or 072 633 7248

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