Sponsoring a forest: TMC on CSR projects carried out with Social Forest

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Social Forest is dedicated to caring for forests through sustainable forestry. Since the well-being of our planet and the people living on it affects us all, it is everyone’s responsibility to take care of it. In this blog entry we explain why forest management is so important, what Social Forest does about it and how we can collaborate to create a better world together.

We have already carried out several projects with companies such as the Formula 1 Circuit Montmeló and Comercia Global Payments. The Telemedicine Clinic (TMC), a company dedicated to telemedicine, also takes its social and environmental responsibility very seriously. Since 2017, Social Forest collaborates with TMC to carry out forest management projects in one of the fincas (El Dalmau) of the Generalitat de Catalunya. To understand how a collaboration with Social Forest can work, Alexander Böhmcker – former CEO ofTMC – answered some questions for us.

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Why did you decide to engage in a CSR project?

In 2016, the desire arose from the Telemedicineclinic (TMC) team to compensate for the CO2 emissions we produce, especially since we send many of our radiologists from Europe to Australia by plane. For us it was important that the compensation happened in a nearby forest, where we could observe, learn and visit the interventions with the team. That is why we have established a three-way collaboration with the Generalitat de Catalunya, who provided the terrain, Social Forest, who did the forest work, and TMC as a business partner that finances the project.

How did you decide to sponsor a forest with Social Forest?

Social Forest was recommended to us by the Generalitat, since they had positive experiences from previous projects. The team’s professionalism and passion for the project quickly convinced us. The “social” component of Social Forest was also important: with its purpose of “creating sustainable minds” and involving young people at risk of social exclusion in their team, they deliver social value in multiple dimensions.

Are you happy with the implementation of the project?

We are very happy, because we can visit the work sites and interact with the Social Forest team. The team was very committed to the project and organized training sessions. They also made it possible for members of the TMC team to collaborate in forest brushing tasks, facilitating work and safety equipment. The paella at the end of the day always marks a highlight and is full not only of healthy food, but of deep satisfaction for the work done.

How do you evaluate the cooperation with Social Forest?

Very positively, we can recommend them for being experts, for their commitment to the project and their purpose.

Do you have recommendations for companies that are thinking of doing a CSR project?

Clarify the motivation from which the desire arises and clarify the objectives, analyze the needs and how to cover them, find the right partners, get involved in the execution and ensure that there is permanence / sustainability in the initiatives.

 

Why is sustainable forest management important?

Forests are an essential part of the terrestrial ecosystem. They are indispensable to ensure the balance of ecosystems, combat climate change and are the habitat of countless animals. At the same time, forests are very vulnerable with respect to the negative effects of climate change. The increase in temperatures, prolonged droughts, trembling climatic phenomena (strong winds) and the accumulation of biomass in forests encourage forest fires of the sixth generation with their own climatology: more intense, faster and more devastating.

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Sustainable forest management has many positive impacts. For example it improves water regulation. The forestry we practice improves soil moisture and drainage, making it more resistant to drought. We can also increase biodiversity with activities such as the creation of dead wood corners for insects, the construction and placement of nest boxes for birds or bats, as well as the construction and placement of insect hotels. Placing nest boxes in an area can not only increase biodiversity, but also help maintain pest control. In addition, well-implemented forest management provides protection against erosion. Forests also play a great role in the fight against climate change.

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Forests and Climate Change

According to the Kyoto protocol, forests are, together with the ocean plankton and peat bogs, the main carbon sinks of the planet. By promoting the conservation of forests, the atmospheric CO2 levels that promote global warming due to the greenhouse effect will be reduced. Huge amounts of carbon accumulate in the wood. Through photosynthesis, plants absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, store carbon and return oxygen in the environment. Carbon represents about 50% of the weight of a tree (it also depends on the species).

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Forests not only accumulate carbon in living plants. When the tree dies, the wood is decomposed by bacteria, fungi and invertebrates, recycling its carbon as biomass, dead organic matter (corpses and excrements of these organisms) and, in the form of gases (CO2 and methane), released into the atmosphere or water. That is why it is so important to guarantee the persistence of the forest. In case of disturbance, be it a fire or an uncontrolled logging, not only the CO2 sequestered in the plants would be released but also that retained in the soil, due to the erosive processes that follow such a disturbance.

CO2 forest management is a type of forestry that increases the capacity of CO2 absorption of forests through different management practices such as clearing or prevention of forest fires so as not to lose the already fixed CO2.

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Why do companies have to take responsibility?

Climate change is the biggest environmental threat of the 21st century, with economic, social and environmental consequences of great magnitude. The climate change affects everyone and everything; citizens, businesses and nature. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the air has plummeted in the end of the 20th century and since then it has been rising gradually, until it reached the climax that we are at now. It can be stated that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by 30% since 1850, in Spain it has increased by 5% in 2015. We must act to reduce this carbon dioxide and to keep the consequences of this pollution as small as possible.

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Climate change is increasingly an imminent issue and it is necessary to create alliances to promote business models that are not so carbon dependent, thus reducing emissions. Companies must commit to urgent measures to combat climate change and its effects. More and more companies acknowledge this responsibility and invest, among other things, in the management of our forests. It is the objective of Social Forest, in cooperation with other organizations, to preserve the multifunctionality of forests. Together with other companies we have to transform the territory into a persistent and fire-resistant mosaic landscape, at the same time being a social engine creating decent and dignified employment.

 

Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a way of directing companies based on the management of the impacts that their activities generate on their customers, employees, shareholders, local communities, the environment and on society in general. One way to achieve that is through sustainable forestry. Social Forest accompanies people, organizations and companies in the search for solutions to the social and environmental impact of the climate emergency through sustainable landscape management, while supporting the achievement of the SDGs (read more about the SDGs and what they have to do with CSR here).

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Every hectare of forest that exists is a generator of life and oxygen necessary for our existence on this planet. Help us manage our forests! With your involvement you also help create job opportunities for groups in the process of social integration. If you want to know more about what we offer and how you can work with us, do not hesitate to contact us!

 
 

Related SDGs

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