Davos Agenda

How leaders can grow the trillion trees movement and support inclusive climate action

Davos 2023 ; Today, there are roughly 3 trillion trees on Earth, which is 46% fewer trees than existed since the start of human civilization.

Today, there are roughly 3 trillion trees on Earth, which is 46% fewer trees than existed since the start of human civilization. Image: Unsplash.

Suzanne DiBianca
Chief Impact Officer, Salesforce
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Davos Agenda

This article is part of: World Economic Forum Annual Meeting

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  • Three years since its launch, the World Economic Forum's 1t.org movement has conserved, restored, and grown over 125 billion trees from pledges by more than 130 organizations globally.
  • The inclusive movement supports ecopreneurs, Indigenous and local community leaders – bringing diverse voices and innovative thinkers.
  • Companies in every industry must invest in protecting nature and biodiversity to effectively address climate change.

We’re living at a pivotal moment for the climate, a time when governments, businesses and other stakeholders must invest in “all of the above” solutions to effectively fight climate change.

Not every solution needs to be a flashy new technology. In fact, one solution has been quietly absorbing carbon dioxide since long before human activities caused emissions to skyrocket: trees.

Forests and trees are critical to the health of the planet and the 8 billion people who call it home. They keep the environment in balance, from regulating freshwater flows to recharging groundwater, and from anchoring fertile soil to acting as flood barriers.

Trees also sequester carbon, something we need to meet the emissions reduction targets set out by the 2015 Paris Agreement. Along with mangroves, peatlands, wetlands and other ecosystems, forests have the potential to sequester enough carbon to bring our emissions reductions one-third of the way to our interim 2030 targets.

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1t.org movement gains global support

Sadly, wide scale degradation and loss of forests is hindering the ability for trees to do their part in carbon sequestration. Today, there are roughly 3 trillion trees on Earth, which is 46% fewer trees than existed since the start of human civilization.

That’s why, in 2020, the World Economic Forum, with support from Salesforce, launched 1t.org, an ambitious global movement with the goal to conserve, restore, and grow 1 trillion trees by 2030. Today, 80 companies have pledged to protect and restore more than 7 billion trees across 65 countries.

Salesforce, for its part, has pledged to protect 100 million trees by 2030. Our company has also supported the Mangrove Breakthrough Initiative, which will mobilize $4 billion toward preserving 15 million hectares of mangroves worldwide by 2030. This new Tableau dashboard helps visualize these critical ecosystems and goals for their conservation and restoration.

In addition to these important corporate pledges, a number of countries have come forward with large-scale commitments, including:

  • 10 billion trees in Pakistan; 180 million in Colombia; 75 million in the UK; 70 billion in China; and Brazil’s commitment to zero deforestation by the end of the decade.
  • In the US, the US Chapter of 1t.org saw a total of 100 pledges since the chapter launched in 2020 from corporations, NGOs, cities, states, and local governments, including the cities of Houston, Tucson, Detroit and Boise, and the states of Maryland, Michigan, Washington and Hawaii among others.
  • At COP27, the UN Climate Change Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh this year, the US Agency for International Development joined 1t.org and pledged to support the conservation, restoration and management of 100 million hectares of forests with a climate change mitigation benefit this decade. In addition, the US Congress has provided approximately $20 billion to help conserve, restore and grow trees in the US.

In partnership with UpLink, a platform to crowdsource promising solutions to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals, 1t.org is also engaging experts to provide the resources and insights ecopreneurs need to support their innovative ideas. To date, 1t.org has run over 10 innovation challenges, sourced over 1,000 solutions, and selected over 130 "Top Innovators" who have collectively raised over $150 million.

These efforts are critical to combating deforestation, protecting biodiversity, and addressing the impacts of climate change, but more must be done.

Discover

What’s the World Economic Forum doing about deforestation?

Growing a strong and inclusive network

In the three years since the launch of 1t.org, its goals have only become more urgent. After a temporary drop in emissions during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, new report data unveiled that fossil fuel-related emissions are expected to hit a new alarming peak of 37.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide.

The Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos this month represents an opportunity for organizations and leaders around the world to continue to help change that trend, by reducing emissions and building broad support for 1t.org, and investing in nature for a healthy planet.

It’s up to all of us to embrace a net zero future that prioritizes nature. Please consider joining our global community and make a powerful pledge to invest in one of the best green infrastructure solutions readily available to fight climate change: trees.

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Related topics:
Davos AgendaClimate and NatureForests
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