SDG 14: LIFE BELOW WATER

We protect and conserve the biodiversity of natural ecosystems

The oceans and forests are responsible for making our planet habitable. However, 40% of the world's oceans are severely affected by our activity and each year 13 million hectares are deforested. Respect for the biodiversity of all ecosystems is essential for our own survival.

Oceans cover three quarters of the Earth's surface and 40% of this large body of salt water is seriously affected as a result of human activity. According to the United Nations, the waters are deteriorating due to the pollution and accumulation of organic waste in the oceans: each year around 12 million tons of plastic end up in the sea. Similarly, 30.7% of our planet is covered by forests, but, again, human hands eliminate 13 million hectares every year.

Beyond the serious environmental consequences of these practices, our planet's economic and social development is also seriously affected: around 350 million people depend on forests for survival (World Bank) and more than 3,000 million people depend directly on marine and coastal biodiversity to survive (UN).

Faced with this situation, conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas and natural resources, managing forests sustainably and combating desertification, land degradation and the loss of biodiversity became the fourteenth and fifteenth of the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals, approved in September 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda.

IBERDROLA WITH THE SDG

KEYS TO UNDERSTANDING DEFORESTATION IN THE WORLD

WHO DOES IT AFFECT?

Every year 13 million hectares of forest disappear. Trees absorb approximately 2 billion tons of C02 per year, while deforestation generates 12% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Around 1.6 billion people need forests to survive; 70 million of them are indigenous and totally dependent on them.

HOW IS THIS DISTRIBUTED AROUND THE WORLD?

The 10 countries that lost the most hectares of forests in 2017 are in the tropics, where tree cover has declined steadily over the past 17 years:

5,000,000

4,000,000

3,000,000

2,000,000

1,000,000

0

Brazil

Dem. Rep.
of Congo

Indonesia

Sri Lanka

Madagascar

Malaysia

Bolivia

Colombia

Paraguay

Ivory Coast

MAIN CAUSES

The growing expansion of agriculture and cities; the proliferation of industries that want to use wood as fuel; natural disasters, like fires and tropical storms; and the absence of laws protecting green areas in some countries.

HOW CAN WE PUT AN END TO IT?

We have to recycle and reduce the consumption of paper and plastic; reforest the burned land and plant fast-reproducing trees; forestry education programs must be established to raise awareness among the population; and global policies must be put in place that guarantee the protection and development of forests.

 

 SEE INFOGRAPHIC: Keys to understanding deforestation in the world [PDF]

IBERDROLA AND BIODIVERSITY

The protection of biodiversity is a fundamental corporate value for the Iberdrola group. Our commitment to the conservation and promotion of the biological diversity of natural ecosystems is expressed in the following areas of action:

  • Making the conservation of biological diversity part of the group's strategy and decisions on infrastructure projects.
  • Making biodiversity part of the group's Environmental Management Systems (EMS).
  • Participating in research, preservation, education and awareness-raising projects.
  • Protecting species and habitats, by avoiding locating new infrastructures in protected areas or those with high biodiversity value.

Our biodiversity reports.

WHY ARE THE MARINE LIFE AND LIFE IN TERRESTRIAL ECOSYSTEMS GOALS SO IMPORTANT?

Rainfall, drinking water, the climate, coasts, some of our food and the oxygen in the air we breathe ultimately come from the sea. The oceans also provide fundamental natural resources such as food, medicine and biofuels, to name but few.

The forests provide food security and shelter to the species and the indigenous population that live there, and are an essential element in the fight against climate change, since they act as carbon sinks.

TARGETS FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS FOURTEEN AND FIFTEEN

The targets set for 2030 are:

  • To sustainably manage marine, coastal, terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems.
  • To bring an end to the loss of biological diversity, deforestation, desertification and the degradation of natural habitats.
  • To promote the rehabilitation of degraded lands and soils.
  • To address the effects of ocean acidification and to regulate fishing.
  • To end poaching and trafficking of protected species and to prevent the introduction of toxic and invasive species.