21 March: International Day of Forests 2024

We take care of our forests to protect the planet

Nature

International Forest Day is celebrated on 21 March, a global initiative to highlight the importance of these ecosystems in the fight against climate change and to warn of the danger of their degradation. In line with this objective, at the Iberdrola Group we join in the conservation and restoration of forests with different programmes to ensure their survival.

Bosque
In line with the International Day of Forests, we reaffirm our commitment to the environment.

Forests are considered the lungs of the planet. Trees purify the air by reducing CO2 and help regulate the climate. They are essential for sustaining life on Earth and play an important role in combating climate change. However, the threat of deforestation and degradation threatens the survival of forests worldwide. In order to raise awareness of their importance, 21 March is International Forest Day, a day that invites us to reflect on their importance and to commit ourselves to their preservation and care.

Fully aligned with this goal, we at the Iberdrola Group have integrated the conservation and promotion of the biological diversity of ecosystems into our strategy, a commitment that is materialised in the Biodiversity Policy and for which we have set an ambitious goal: to achieve zero net loss of biodiversity by 2030. In line with this world day, we reaffirm our commitment to ensure the preservation and restoration of forest stands with different initiatives. But why do we need to remember the importance of these ecosystems every year? 

Theme for the International Day of Forests 2024

This year, the International Day of Forests 2024 is framed under the theme "Forests and innovation: new solutions for a better world", the fundamental role of technology and innovation in the preservation of forest ecosystems. It is a call to action to harness technological innovations for our forests to address the growing threat of deforestation, habitat degradation and climate change.

Key messages of this year's campaign include: forest monitoring systems to monitor and report on forests; technological innovations, such as drones, are key in the fight against forest fires and deforestation; mapping and safeguarding ancestral lands can conserve their biodiversity; and forest products help create alternatives to sustainable materials such as steel, plastics and synthetic fibres.

Día Internacional de los Bosques

International Day of Forests 2024: “Forests and innovation: news solutions for a better word”.

Why is International Forest Day celebrated?

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that forests cover one third of the earth and are one of nature's great providers of essential functions for the preservation of the planet and life:

 They stem climate change

Trees store carbon, which helps mitigate the impacts of climate change. It is estimated that the world's forests contain 662 billion tonnes of carbon, making up more than half of the world's carbon stocks found in soils and vegetation. They are also a natural air conditioner, lowering air temperatures by 2 to 8 degrees.

 They form a noise barrier

Large forest stands dampen the sound waves of noise from roads, industries or urban centres.

 They are a source of water

Forests provide drinking water to almost half of the world's major cities.

They provide energy  

Woodfuels represent a potentially renewable and carbon-neutral energy source. FAO estimates that approximately 2.6 billion people rely on wood and other traditional fuels for household cooking.

They are home to many species

They play a key role in conserving life on the planet and are the most biodiverse terrestrial ecosystems, hosting 80% of the world's plant and animal species.

They preserve our survival

Between 3.5 billion and 5.76 billion people use non-timber forest products for their own use or to support their livelihoods. In addition, forests enable and contribute to improving mental health and preventing disease.

They strengthen environmental resilience

Forests, if managed sustainably, contribute to reducing soil erosion and the risk of avalanches, landslides and natural disasters.

Experts agree on the enormous ecological, economic and social benefits of forests, but deforestation and degradation threaten their conservation.

Raising awareness on deforestation and degradation

FAO defines deforestation as the conversion of forests to other land uses, such as agriculture, pastures, reservoirs and urban areas, and is the main risk to the future of these ecosystems. Deforestation is advancing at a rate of 13 million hectares per year and is responsible for 12-20% of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming, according to the FAO. This organisation estimates that since 1990, 420 million hectares of forest have been lost worldwide due to this threat which, although decreasing, is not decreasing at a sufficient rate to ensure the protection of the planet. 

The other major threat to these ecosystems according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is degradation, which is the reduction of the capacity of forests to provide goods and services after damage due to human activity (e.g., illegal logging, climate change) or natural (e.g., fire, pests).

International efforts are geared towards the protection and restoration of forests, with the aim of ending these threats and promoting their restoration to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Within the 2030 Agenda, SDG 15, point 15.2 speaks of the need to "promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and significantly increase afforestation and reforestation globally".

We commit, we reforest, we care

At Iberdrola, we work to ensure the conservation of forest biodiversity and preserve flora, fauna and natural heritage through different programmes: 

Our reforestation target: 20 million trees by 2030

We have a reforestation plan, the Árboles programme ("The Trees programme"), which promotes the planting of 20 million trees by 2030 —with a first goal of reaching 8 million by 2025—. This planting iniciative will capture approximately 6 million tonnes of CO2 in 30 years. This absorption of carbon dioxide would neutralise the emissions of a car circling the Earth 116 times. In the last few years, the Iberdrola Group has planted more than 2 million trees in seven countries.

This initiative is articulated in three branches:

  •  Conservation of natural heritage,

to mitigate and compensate for forest habitats affected by the occupation of new infrastructure. In 2020 and 2021, we planted two million trees in Brazil, Spain, Portugal, the UK, the US, Mexico and Greece.  

  • Regeneration and creation of natural value,

which will reverse the loss of forest mass by promoting initiatives that will enable planting on our own land or that of third parties. In 2022 we launched the challenge 'Innovation and sustainability in rural areas', in collaboration with Start-up Olé and with the support of the European Commission. A pioneering programme to promote the recovery of natural spaces in depopulated areas of Spain and Portugal through the conversion of burnt land or wasteland into forests.

  •  Research and awareness-raising,

to promote shared knowledge and social value through the company's Volunteering Programme and support for R&D projects. Through volunteer actions, Iberdrola has already promoted the planting of more than 13,000 trees.

Out foundation's commitment

The work of foundations is also a fundamental axis for the care of forests. Through them, we promote specific initiatives committed to planting trees and conserving natural spaces.

  • The Fundación Iberdrola España develops various programmes to actively contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals — especially SDG 13 (Climate action) and SDG 15 (Life on land) — by protecting birdlife, conserving natural habitats and disseminating actions that seek to raise awareness of climate change.
  • In Mexico, the Fundación Iberdrola México works on specific programmes for restoring ecosystems and projects for conserving flora and fauna species. An outstanding example of it is the action that the foundation is carrying out in the Cañón de Fernández State Park since 2019, focused on protecting the state park, preserving its ecosystem and benefiting local communities through sustainable ecotourism.
  • In its commitment to environmental protection and climate change, the Instituto Neoenergia actively contributes to improving biodiversity in Brazil's natural environments. Since 2015, the foundation has been carrying out important work in the conservation of migratory wader through the Flyways Brazil project.
  • The Trees for Like initiative, run by ScottishPower Foundation, aims to bring communities and landowners together to increase the natural capital of selected environments in the UK — creating sustainable nature-based economies. Along the River Endrick, for example, in northern Scotland, 2 kilometers of new woodland is being restores.

Committed to the environment and ecosystems

Transición

Pioneering the energy transition

Commitment to a clean, reliable and intelligent business model that replaces production with polluting sources with clean energy.

Acción climática

A benchmark in climate action

The fight against climate change has been at the heart of our strategy for profitable growth for more than two decades.

Medio ambiente

We respect the environment

We base our sustainable business model on the circular economy, based on emissions reduction, energy efficiency and resource optimisation.

Biodiversidad

We protect natural ecosystems

We integrate the Sustainable Development Goals, including SDG 14 and SDG 15, which focus on preserving life on land and underwater, into our strategy.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON

INTERNATIONAL FOREST DAY

On what date is it commemorated and when was the first one held?

World Forest Day is celebrated every 21 March. In 2012, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly agreed to commemorate this date, with 2013 being the first year it was celebrated worldwide. Although this was the first official recognition, there were already precedents. The International Day of Forests or World Forest Day was a recommendation of the World Forestry Congress held in Rome in 1969 and accepted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in 1971.

Why was this date chosen?

The selection of the day is not accidental, as it coincides with the onset of spring in the northern hemisphere and autumn in the southern hemisphere.

Who organises the International Day of Forests?

The official organisers are the United Nations Forum on Forests, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), as well as the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, among others.

What is this year's theme?

Each year, the UN chooses a theme for the celebration of the International Day of Forests, which has so far addressed everything from the relationship of these green spaces with water or the city to the importance of environmental education. After more than 10 years of commitment, the theme for the International Day of Forests 2024 is "Forests and innovation: new solutions for a better world". In the current campaign, the UN highlights the relevance of innovation in the monitoring, conservation and sustainable use of forests, as it can be an important tool to address the challenges of deforestation

Where and how to celebrate? International Forest Day 2024 activities

The UN encourages countries to take initiatives at local, national and international levels to organise activities to promote the restoration of forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns, or tasks that pay tribute to green spaces, such as art exhibitions or photo competitions. The organisation also encourages the adoption of any environmentally friendly activities that can be integrated into everyday life, for example recycling or reusing materials such as paper or plastic, avoiding bonfires - which emit greenhouse gases - or planting plants and trees to reduce the carbon footprint.