Leveraging Corporate Might to Create a Legacy of Impact

Sep 14, 2023 7:00 AM ET
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Arbor Day Foundation

By Dan Lambe

In the forestry space, partners are the key to progress.

Collaboration is crucial as we strive to implement the nature-based solutions our planet urgently needs to slow the effects of climate change. More and more, leaders in the private sector are taking a leading role in that conversation. Corporations have the platform to direct both financial resources and public attention to conservation initiatives. Companies are modifying their own internal practices to accommodate a more sustainable approach to sourcing and packaging products and these decisions ultimately lead to consumers making more sustainable choices.

Companies have the power to lead by example.

Climate Week in New York City is a rallying point for those organizations eager to leverage their corporate might to drive meaningful change. During Climate Week, corporations can measure their advancements in the sustainability space and set markers for the future. The Arbor Day Foundation is proud to join these forward-thinking leaders for an inspiring week of learning, sharing and reflection.

In our more than 50 years, the Arbor Day Foundation has partnered with hundreds of corporate organizations eager to make their mark through trees. Those partnerships have spawned innovative work that has transformed communities and forests around the world. We’re grateful for the trust of these companies who understand both the seriousness of this environmental movement and the value of trees.

Some of our partners are exploring the scale of their work through the Arbor Day Foundation’s Evergreen Alliance. This cohort of supporters will convene with Arbor Day Foundation leaders, like myself, during Climate Week for a meeting on the need for biodiversity. We’ll also host a separate walk-about meeting through Brooklyn, highlighting the need to use urban forests to address extreme heat. Though we always look forward to the opportunity to impart some of our nonprofit’s collective knowledge and experience, the Arbor Day Foundation is also grateful for the chance to learn from these private sector leaders. They each bring a unique perspective on how they’d like to make a positive difference in the world, while also still nurturing a growing sustainable business.

We are excited to be invited to support more corporate leaders making commitments to sustainability during the Private Sector Forum, hosted by the UN Secretary-General. This year, the UN is encouraging corporations to commit to becoming ‘early movers’ of the Forward Faster initiative. The campaign encourages private sector leaders to foster tangible results in five systemic areas of impact, including climate. We know that trees are one of the most affordable and scalable solutions to battling our current climate crisis. By engaging in tree planting in communities and forests of greatest need, companies have the opportunity to make a difference right now. It’s a ‘win-win’ to advance biodiversity, improve water quality, capture carbon and improve the wellbeing of people everywhere. We appreciate the UN giving us this chance to bring this viewpoint to this group of corporate leaders. We know they feel an immense sense of responsibility to contribute to the climate change conversation and we believe planting trees is one of the most unifying solutions available, transcending both politics and prejudice.

Over these few days in New York, there are bound to be countless announcements of ambition. The Arbor Day Foundation is eager to see the private sector assert these bold pledges. We encourage them to reach higher, push farther and dream bigger when it comes to their sustainability goals.

But it can’t stop there.

Climate Week—and the promises made therein—should serve as a catalyst for action. This moment is a launching pad for companies to enact changes that will affect our planet for generations to come.

A legacy of impact starts now.

Dan Lambe is CEO of the Arbor Day Foundation, the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees. He can be reached at dlambe@arborday.org