There is no doubt that the country’s natural forest is in dire straits. In 2010, the Global Forest Watch pointed out that the Philippines had 13.2 million hectares of natural forest, extending over 62 percent of its land area.
However, there was a major setback in 2020 as the country lost 46,800 hectares of natural forest, equivalent to 27.4 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
Nevertheless, the private sector, led by Nestlé Philippines, launched recently a new initiative to plant 2.5 million native bamboo clumps and a million trees over the next three years in the country. This reforestation supports Nestlé’s goal to plant 200 million trees by 2030.
Nestlé PHL Chairman and CEO Kais Marzouki told reporters in an online news briefing that the company is also planning to increase activities in regenerative agriculture.
The company also plans to deploy nature-based solutions to absorb greenhouse gases and contribute to achieving Nestlé’s net-zero target by 2050.
Chris Johnson, executive vice president of Nestlé SA and CEO of Zone Asia, Oceania and sub-Saharan Africa, said developing and maintaining a healthy, robust forest system will help a lot in preserving the environment.
“We are facing a global climate emergency today. Forests stabilize the climate because they store significant amounts of carbon, maintain healthy water and soil systems, and provide habitat to plants and wildlife,” Johnson said.
“Millions of livelihoods also depend on healthy forests. Planting trees in areas where we source our ingredients helps protect and restore food systems. It helps our supply chain and the local communities that grow our ingredients to be more resilient,” he added.
Alaistar Jones, major projects manager in Asia Pacific of One Tree Planted, underscored the importance of carbon insetting and the role of reforestation in tackling climate change.
Marzouki said Nestlé is partnering with One Tree Planted, a nonprofit environmental organization focusing on global reforestation, and EcoPlanet Bamboo Group, which champions the industrialization of bamboo as a sustainable fiber source.
He explained that Nestlé recently kicked off its global reforestation program across the Americas that was supported in part by its ongoing partnership with One Tree Planted before expanding it to several countries.
Marzouki said the project is targeting Mindanao for the reforestation initiative. Nestlé sources coffee beans from the region.
He further said that planting bamboo native to the Philippines in this sourcing region, known as “insetting,” aims to absorb greenhouse-gas emissions, conserve local biodiversity, improve water quality and restore degraded soils.
Camille Rebelo, founder and CEO of EcoPlanet Bamboo, said bamboo is vital in forest restoration when it is planted in the right place and setting.
Marzouki said Nestlé’s reforestation initiative is a pillar of the company’s Forest Positive strategy, which looks beyond stopping deforestation, to protecting and restoring forests over the long term. It aims to make a positive impact on the critical agricultural areas where Nestlé sources its ingredients.
In addition, it contributes to advancing regenerative and equitable farming systems that help conserve and restore the world’s forests and natural ecosystems, while promoting sustainable livelihoods and respecting human rights.
Marzouki added that the company will continue in trailblazing in the private sector as a “Kasambuhay,” or a trusted companion for the environment, as a force for good.
In April, Nestlé Philippines made commitments in supporting the country’s Nationally Determined Contribution to reduce GHG emissions by 75 percent by 2030.
Today, 71 percent of Nestlé Philippines’s electricity comes from renewable resources, and 77 percent of its packaging is designed for recycling.
Image courtesy of Nestlé.com photo