- Date: July 16, 2020
Combatting climate change means taking a hard look at how we live—reducing emissions in our daily lives and in the manufacturing, processing, and distributing of products. It also requires advocating for the implementation of climate-smart local and national policies. But increasingly, it’s not enough to do “less harm.” We also need to harness the power of nature to help fight climate change, all while providing critical benefits for people and wildlife.
Nature gives us water and food, protects us from diseases, and supplies so many of the products we rely on every day. If we don’t take care of nature, we put all of that at risk. The same principle also applies to climate impacts. In fact, nature can be the best technology to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
Forests are a great example of where nature-based solutions can really pay off. When forests are not managed responsibly, they release large quantities of carbon into the atmosphere. Deforestation and degradation are the largest sources of CO2 emissions after the burning of fossil fuels—and scientists estimate that up to 13% of global carbon emissions come from deforestation. On the flip side, by protecting, restoring, and improving the management of the world’s forests, we can address up to 20% of the current climate crisis by 2050.
But forests aren’t the only solution to climate change. Grasslands, like those in the Northern Great Plains, store carbon in the soil and keep it out of the atmosphere. Mangroves that line coasts around the world reduce the force of storm surges, and wetlands retain floodwaters. Conserving and restoring these areas help us mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change, making communities more resilient and potentially saving lives.
As the world has come together to slow the pace of climate change, nature-based solutions have emerged at the forefront of corporate strategy. As companies work to meet their own sustainability goals, many are recognizing that it’s no longer enough to just reduce emissions within their own operations and supply chains. They are starting to redirect their work to where it can be most impactful: at the nexus of climate and nature.
P&G, one company that’s embraced this model, today announced a project with WWF to advance restoration in the Atlantic Forest on Brazil’s eastern coast. This project is part of a larger commitment from P&G to have its global operations be carbon neutral for the decade through efforts including a series of interventions that protect, improve, and restore nature.
There is no either/or when it comes to addressing climate and protecting nature. The two are not, and never were, mutually exclusive. When we talk about how to rise to the challenge of climate change, nature must be part of the conversation and not just for its own sake. We must all advocate for nature-based solutions, investing in the future we all want to see.
Embracing nature-based solutions to the climate crisis, P&G announces a project with WWF to advance restoration in the Atlantic Forest on Brazil’s eastern coast. This project is part of a larger commitment from P&G to have its global operations be carbon neutral for the decade.