SDG 15: LIFE ON LAND

Iberdrola is committed to achieving zero net loss of biodiversity by 2030

Iberdrola group protects, restores and promotes sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems in all the countries in which it operates, directly contributing to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 15: life on land. In this context, the company takes biodiversity conservation into account when planning and developing all its actions.

OUR CONTRIBUTION TO SDG 15: LIFE ON LAND

 Iberdrola has pledged to achieve zero net biodiversity loss by 2030. It therefore implements biodiversity protection programmes in all the countries in which it operates and incorporates this issue into its environmental management systems (EMS).

 The group has carried out more than 1,450 actions to protect biodiversity over the last two years, according to its 2018-2019 Biodiversity Report [PDF].

 An exhaustive environmental plan has been drawn up for all projects for new facilities in order to minimize their impact on flora and fauna. Discover how to protect and preserve biodiversity on some of our more emblematic projects.

 Member of the Biodiversity Pact, promoted by the Biodiversity Foundation, with the aim of highlighting the company's commitment to conserving the environment and the sustainable use of biodiversity.

 Iberdrola has received the first AENOR certificate for Corporate Environmental Footprint.

 Iberdrola Mexico was awarded the prize for Environmental Excellence by PROFEPA because of the efforts made with the the Estero Garrapatas (Altamira III and IV Combined Cycle Power Plants) and Support for Cats (Altamira III and IV and Altamira V) projects.

WHAT IS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 15: LIFE ON LAND?

SDG 15 seeks to protect, restore and promote the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, halt and reverse land degradation, combat desertification and halt biodiversity loss.

WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO ACHIEVE SDG 15: LIFE ON LAND?

Almost 31 % of the world's surface is covered with forests. Forests provide humans with the essential elements needed for survival: air, food and water. They are home to more than 80 % of all terrestrial species, including animals, plants and insects and more than 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their subsistence. Yet humankind cuts down 13 million hectares of forest each year.

Despite efforts to achieve the goals for this objective, the report on the progress of fulfilling the UN 2020 SDGs does not offer good prospects and highlights that terrestrial ecosystem conservation does not tend to be sustainable, with species continuing to disappear at an alarming rate and protected species on the way to extinction.

Deforestation and habitat encroachment not only deprive people of essential nutrients, they are the main sources of transmission for emerging infectious diseases, including COVID-19. 75 % of emerging diseases (including bird flu and Ebola) are transmitted from wildlife to people. This occurs when humans invade natural habitats and disrupt ecosystems. Crime against wildlife, poaching, and illegal animal trafficking — such as the pangolin, which is one of the main suspects in transmitting coronavirus from bats to people — not only threaten the health and biodiversity of the ecosystem, they can also disrupt human health, economic development and global security, as is happening now in the current pandemic.

It is estimated that more than two billion hectares of the earth's surface are degraded, directly affecting the well-being of approximately 3.2 billion people, driving species to extinction and intensifying climate change.

The global forest area, as can be seen, continues to decline, although at a slightly slower rate than in previous decades: from 2015 to 2020, the annual deforestation rate was 10 million hectares, compared to 12 million hectares in 2010 to 2015. At the global level, forests went from occupying 31.9 % of the Earth's surface area (2000) to 31.2 % (2020). However, although forest disappearance remains high, the 2020 data show that forests in protected areas increased or remained stable.Currently, of the 4,060 million hectares of forest in the world, more than half are subject to protection plans.

But biodiversity is declining at an alarming rate and human activity is making ecosystems more fragile and less resilient. The risk of species extinction worsened by 10 % in the last three decades worldwide. Currently, more than 31,000 species are in danger of extinction.

In an attempt to reverse the situation, countries are trying to implement social principles to protect biodiversity and ecosystems, including public awareness work. In early 2020, 123 countries committed to setting voluntary targets to achieve land degradation neutrality.This would improve the diversity and well-being of millions of people and would also support the fight against climate change.

Reversing this reality has become a major international goal. Protecting, restoring and promoting sustainable terrestrial ecosystem use, sustainable forest management, combating desertification and halting and reversing land degradation and biodiversity loss is therefore SDG 15 of the 17 UN 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 world deforestation [PDF]

SDG 15 TARGETS: LIFE ON LAND

The specific targets set for 2030 are:

  • Conserve, restore and use terrestrial ecosystems and inland freshwater ecosystems (forests, wetlands, mountains and arid areas) in a sustainable manner.
  • Fight against desertification and rehabilitate degraded lands and soils.
  • Ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biological diversity, to achieve essential benefits for their sustainable development.
  • Take urgent measures to end poaching and trafficking of protected fauna and flora species.