The Restoration Economy and the Value of Trees
The idea of restoration economy has been around for a few years, but is only now being recognized for its value. In the face of recent natural disasters and climate change, scientists and researchers have put forth the idea that natural barriers are the best way to combat overall destruction and provide environmental stability. Governments have realized that these ecosystems work better, and are less expensive than humanmade solutions made from concrete and steel. The restoring of ecosystems to create better air and water quality, the reduction of carbon, and creating more jobs and wealth is known as the restoration economy.
Government projects can enjoy the many benefits of the restoration economy, such as the creation of thousands of jobs in sustainable industries while also improving food security. While most restoration projects and climate change solutions are carried out by the government, there has been a recent uptake in the number of corporate-driven projects as well. Well-designed activities and models are fuelling business enterprises and can employ financial mechanisms to ensure good returns.
Understanding the Restoration Economy and its impact
The restoration economy is still in its infancy, but its impact on the environment and local economies cannot be denied. There have been too many instances where sustainable development goals come into effect to deny its positive impact on the community at large.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the City of Hoboken in New Jersey decided to invest in creating a resiliency park to counter the impacts of climate change. Essentially, this was an effort to convert vacant land into marshes while also restoring existing marshes. On the climate front, this effort is capable of holding a million gallons of floodwater. The economies are also equally exciting. The project is part of a 25-billion-dollar economy and employs over 125 thousand workers and many more in supporting jobs.
Many more cities all across the world have been using funds to create projects that simultaneously invigorate the job market and help reverse environmental change. The city of Chicago has been combating the rise of urban heat by planting and maintaining millions of trees. This action of tree planting also helps to soak up gallons of storm-water to prevent flooding and reduce the burden on existing storm-water channels.
Delivering environmental returns through restoration
Several case studies of restoration projects have been published which showcases their positive effect on the environment. Many studies have also shown that a reduction in carbon will result in long term benefits and will increase resilience in terms of climate risks. With new ideas and plenty of work to be done, the prospects of the restoration economy include creating local employment opportunities over the world. Here, we are not talking about solar or wind energy; instead, we want to address natural ecosystems and create natural solutions to environmental challenges. The restoration economy can be a boundless industry, with many big and small actions to create real businesses.
Alaska has been seeing serious and worrying effects melting of permafrost on the environment. Apart from upsetting the local ecology, the melting snow also wreaks havoc on the transportation infrastructure and threatens roadways. To combat both issues, the transportation department has been layering insulation between layers of roadwork. This protects the permafrost against heating caused by roadways, which in turn protects the same roadways.
Florida, which has borne the brunt of many hurricanes in recent years, has seen several counties coming together to create a climate change compact. Each of the four counties in the South-East chapter has invested in different restoration projects with the overall aim of reducing the burden on the environment. While the compact has taken up 110 action items, a few have already been completed and the results have been very encouraging. Some cities have acted to prevent the backflow of seawater into their drainage systems and fight frequent tidal flooding. Most of the action items are geared towards maintaining the water balance of the region.
In the Asia-Pacific region, too, firms are stepping up in favor of the restoration economy. Green investments, growing natural assets, tackling climate change and introducing urban and peri-urban forestry are often on the agenda of many summits held in these countries. The APEC Forest Cover Goal 2020 has instituted goals to align nations in contributing to the environment in the APEC region– ‘20 million hectares by 2020’.
How cutting down trees affect the climate and how businesses can use restoration economy to change that
The cost of reforestation requires much more capital than what governments and philanthropic organizations can provide when it comes to restoring forests and trees on a large scale, and this where the public and corporate sector steps in. Unfortunately, up until now, the assumption has been that restoration of trees does not provide for creating an attractive business model.
There are several areas in which the corporate sector can get involved in a way where both income and capital gains are generated. There are three main ways in which to tap into the economy of restoring trees. The first one is where enterprises themselves plant and maintain trees. Then, there are other companies that provide consultation or technology for restoration. The last is tying up with restoration indirectly in order to draw in customers.
One of the most successful businesses in the first category is Better Globe Forestry. They work with small farmers all across Kenya to plant and maintain native trees. They provide seedlings, training, and even microfinancing options to the farmers. Their gains come in when the trees mature. The company buys the tree of the farmer and then utilizes them as high-quality timber.
In the second category of restoration of trees, a Dutch company has created the technology where trees can be grown in arid and semi-arid regions with a fraction of the water required for a normal tree. The technology can become proprietary or the company can consult on individual projects. However, there is no denying that converting previously untenable regions into lush forests will help trap more carbon and create a vibrant ecosystem.
EcoMatcher is one of the best reforestation companies that help companies set up corporate tree planting as a part of their business in order to promote tree conservation and highlight sustainable living. The aim is to decrease the negative impact businesses might have on the environment. While tree gifting is one of their eco-friendly corporate gift ideas, they also use them as initiatives to increase employee engagement.
The last category can seem the easiest with businesses simply pledging to donate a portion of their profits towards the restoration of trees. However, with customers having more knowledge, it is imperative that the right type of program is supported and one where the local community is benefitted.
The restoration economy is one of the best ways to combat climate change. It also has a whole host of other benefits, running the gamut from local employment to the prevention of water-logging and absorbing carbon emissions.
By partnering with organizations that specialize in these services, like EcoMatcher, eager firms can successfully divert their funds into programs that work as well as maintain their brand image while contributing to sustainable development goals and targets.