Skip to main content
Home » Make a difference » The triple win from forests — for nature, people and the planet
CSR & Making a Difference Q3 2022

The triple win from forests — for nature, people and the planet

iStock / Getty Images Plus / SeventyFour

Nicole Schwab

Co-Head, Nature-based Solutions, World Economic Forum 

Ireland experienced a net gain of tree cover from 2000–2020. However, tree gain does not negate the impacts of deforestation in other regions.

Forests are responsible for regulating the climate, recharging groundwater, providing a home to various plant and animal species, acting as flood barriers and much more.

Source of life

Forests have the power to sequester carbon from the atmosphere, helping the world stay on the 1.5°C pathway to avoid catastrophic climate change. More importantly, forests provide homes and livelihoods for 1.6 billion people. 

However, the destruction of our ecosystems continues. Deforestation alone is responsible for about 10% of all global emissions.

Public and private funding

More than 100 countries pledged to halt deforestation by 2030 at COP26 in Glasgow. These countries own about 85% of the world’s forests. 

At the same event, the LEAF Coalition (Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest Finance) — one of the largest-ever public-private efforts to protect tropical forests — announced that it had mobilised USD 1 billion for countries and states committed to increasing ambition to protect tropical and subtropical forests and reduce deforestation.

There is tremendous pressure on companies to also eliminate deforestation from their value chains and activities alongside robust net zero commitments.

Jurisdictional approach

A jurisdictional (or landscape) approach to REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) convenes diverse stakeholders to develop common environmental, social and economic goals in large-scale geographic areas.

Jurisdictional REDD+ projects also offer more robust measurement and monitoring of forest carbon stocks from an environmental integrity perspective.

More than 20% of the world’s land area is managed by indigenous peoples and local communities.

Supporting indigenous people

More than 20% of the world’s land area is managed by indigenous peoples and local communities.

Recently, Ecuador’s highest court ruled that indigenous peoples’ consent for new oil and mining projects is required throughout the Ecuadorian Amazon. One of the pillars of Ecuador’s REDD+ strategy supports the poorest private and communal landholders, offering guaranteed yearly payments for forest conservation activities.

Investments in forests

The World Economic Forum, through both its Tropical Forest Alliance and initiatives, is mobilising stakeholders to commit to action for avoided deforestation, forest conservation, restoration and reforestation. 

The jurisdictional approach seeks to create a new business model for forests that incentivises governments to perform actions that only they have the authority to implement, including policy reform and strict law enforcement.

A whole-of-landscape approach creates the opportunity to factor in ecosystem services of the region, the protection of biodiversity and recognition of indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ rights and participation.

Next article