5 Million Trees to create resilient forests and communities
5 million trees planted by 2030, prioritizing areas vulnerable to natural disasters
At MetLife, our commitment to the environment reflects our purpose as a company. Building a more confident future requires us to use natural resources sustainably and address issues such as climate change. We hold ourselves accountable by setting ambitious goals and sharing them with our stakeholders.
As part of MetLife’s 2030 Environmental Goals, MetLife is committed to plant 5 million trees prioritizing areas vulnerable to natural disasters. MetLife expects to achieve this goal through a variety of tree planting initiatives, including reforestation programs, community distribution, and employee volunteering. We plan to engage all stakeholders in this commitment and educate our employees, customers, and community members about the importance of trees. We will prioritize areas that have experienced, or are likely to experience severe weather impacts, as defined by FEMA Disaster Declaration data and other similar entities in MetLife’s markets of operation. By planting five million trees, we are investing in not only the resilience of our local communities, but a nature-based solution to reduce the impact of climate change. In addition to this goal, MetLife has publicized ten other environmental goals to reduce the environmental impact of MetLife’s global operations and supply chain, while leveraging its investments, products, and services to help protect our communities and drive innovative solutions.
Aligned with MetLife’s 5 million tree planting goal, MetLife also commits to support conservation and sustainable forestry through other mechanisms. For example, MetLife has been carbon neutral for GHG emissions associated with our global owned and leased properties, vehicle fleet (Scope 1 and 2 Emissions), and business travel (Scope 3 emissions) since 2016. MetLife achieves carbon neutrality annually through continued implementation of energy efficiency measures across its real estate portfolio, increased use of collaboration tools to reduce employee business travel, and continued support of renewable energy and carbon offset projects for the remainder of its GHG emissions. As part of our carbon offset portfolio, MetLife supports forestry projects that aim to prevent deforestation through a combination of forest protection, sustainable development activities and reforestation. These projects align with the aims of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals and prioritize benefits for the local community, including indigenous peoples’ rights, improved livelihoods, job creation, and physical health and wellbeing improvements.
MetLife Investment Management (MIM) also prioritizes sustainable forestry within our investment portfolio. As of year-end 2020, MIM’s timber and timberland mortgage portfolio, had approximately $3.9 billion assets under management (AUM) (A component of MIM’s managed Total AUM, reported at estimated fair value as of December 31, 2020) of which more than 90% of collateral acreage is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). MIM’s Agricultural Finance Group debt portfolio encompasses more than 10 million acres of certified sustainable timberlands as security (Measured as of December 31, 2020, using collateral securing loans in the MIM Agricultural Finance’s Timberland and Forest Products portfolio. The collateral had one or more of the following certifications at origination: American Tree Farm System (ATFS), Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC), Programme for the Endorsement of Forest (PEFC), and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI)).
Actions in this pledge
Conserving trees and forest landscapes
- Permanent conservation
- Secure a forest through acquisition or legal agreement to avoid planned or unplanned deforestation or degradation, and/or ensure permanent conservation of land
- Conservation support activities
- Support the operating costs and activities of existing conservation areas, including advocacy for conservation policy
As part of MetLife’s annual commitment to carbon neutrality, MetLife purchases carbon credits each year. MetLife works with our partners to identify and select high quality carbon offset projects that align with our values, geographic presence, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. MetLife only purchases credits that are verified by ICROA approved carbon standards and our partners undergo a rigid verification and due diligence process that prioritizes permanence, additionality, and measurement. MetLife has been prioritizing and will continue to prioritize the selection of nature-based projects, including forestry projects, especially REDD+ conservation projects. Over the past several years, we have supported REDD+ projects located in Colombia and Brazil, and we will continue to identify REDD+ projects to support in the future.
Restoring and growing trees and forest landscapes
- Re-establishment of forest through planting and/or deliberate seeding on land classified as forest, that has been degraded or where trees are unlikely to regenerate naturally
- Activities that establish and manage the integration of trees into agricultural landscapes, silvopastoral systems, farming in forests and along forest margins and tree-crop production
- Mangrove restoration
- Establishment or enhancement of mangroves along coastal areas and in estuaries
- Watershed protection and erosion control
- Establishment and enhancement of forests on very steep sloping land, along water courses, in areas that naturally flood and around critical water bodies
- Urban tree planting
- Planting and maintaining trees within urban areas
MetLife is supporting several reforestation programs in the United States and forests around the world, as well as smaller scale urban tree planting programs in cities around the world. We will continue to scale these programs globally and identify projects with meaningful impact for the environment and local communities.
Restoring & Growing
- Land area
- 25'500 acres
Enabling activities for trees and forest landscapes
- Sustainable forest management
- Activities that support the stewardship and use of forests (including by local communities and indigenous peoples), to maintain their biological diversity, productivity, and regeneration capacity, as well as their potential to fulfil relevant ecological economic and social functions
- Education and capacity building
- Forest / tree species conservation and restoration education programmes, targeted educational and behaviour change campaigns, training and capacity building, including promotion of local and traditional knowledge and practices
- Community mobilisation
- Community mobilisation and engagement activities for conservation, restoration and reforestation, including enabling systems of community governance, etc.
- Youth engagement
- Engagement of young people and/or youth networks to catalyse a restoration generation
- Data collection, management and technological tools
- Activities that provide data and/or technological tools to support conservation and restoration (e.g. monitoring etc.)
- Financial innovation
- Activities that create additional financial opportunities and incentives for conservation, restoration and reforestation (e.g. blended financing vehicles, etc.)
MetLife is engaging thousands of employees, customers, and partners in our tree planting programs. For example, in the U.S., MetLife has committed to plant a tree on behalf of every new hire and every retiree. Additionally, we are planting trees on behalf of major employee milestone anniversaries (i.e. 5 years, 10 years with the company). As recognition for participating in environmental programs at work, such as our annual EcoChallenge, we send employees trees to plant at their homes through Arbor Day Foundation’s Community Canopy program. Furthermore, we are engaging employees and customers in urban tree planting programs through volunteerism. We are also identifying ways to connect tree planting with our products and customer communications. For example, in Romania, we have launched a program called “Tree of Life”, where we are planting one tree on behalf of new customers in certain product lines. In Korea, MetLife sent plants and small trees to employees and schools to promote mental and environmental wellbeing. Also in Korea, MetLife hosted an environmental engagement campaign on social media and planted trees on behalf of engagement. We will continue to identify innovative ways of encouraging tree conservation and restoration with our stakeholders.
Across the MetLife enterprise, we have also prioritized digitization across our operations, products and services. We are continuously working on ways to reduce our paper consumption and encouraging customers to adopt paperless communication options. Within our supply chain, MetLife prioritizes purchasing paper that has (Forest Stewardship Council) FSC or (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) SFI certification. We will continue to measure and monitor our paper consumption and work with partners across the organization to reduce consumption and offer sustainable purchasing guidelines.
Our ecologically and socially responsible approach
For all the tree planting and carbon offset projects we support, MetLife prioritizes projects that create benefits for people and society, in addition to the environment. We work with highly reputable and thoroughly vetted tree planting partners for project implementation. Through these partnerships, appropriate planting sites, tree species, stakeholder involvement and maintenance are assessed, selected and implemented. As one example, the Arbor Day Foundation has set “guiding principles for forest restoration” which include “planting the right tree, at the right time, in the right place, for the right purpose” and “respect, empower and benefit local people and communities”. When it comes to carbon offsets, MetLife’s provider undertakes additional due diligence to confirm ecologically and socially responsible implementation of the projects, in addition to ensuring all projects align with ICROA standards.
Our results tracking
iTree tools and Nature Quant
Science based estimates of: net carbon dioxide sequestered, air pollutants removed, avoided runoff.
Nature Quant Score will be associated with many of the urban projects.
Our system of accreditation
All the carbon offset projects that MetLife supports meet ICROA approved carbon standards, including Gold Standard, VCS, CDM, and ACR.
Arbor Day Foundation and their network of local non-profit and governmental partners, Natural Capital Partners, and others
We are working at locations across Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Hungary, India, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Romania, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom (UK), and United States of America (USA).
Regions of focus as determined by recognized regional needs will include: restoring lands devastated by natural disaster in the great American west, hurricane recovery in coastal states and countries, strategic tree planting in areas vulnerable to drought and stressed water conditions, and activating our network of employees and stakeholders in local green infrastructure projects.
Some project locations already supported or are in the process of supporting include:
• Angeles National Forest, California
• Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida
• Oaxaca and Chiapas regions, Mexico
• Sao Paulo, Brazil
• Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
• Madrid, Spain
• Brighton, UK
• Charlotte, NC; Cary, NC; Somerville, NJ; Aurora, IL; St. Louis, MO
• REDD+ carbon offset projects in Colombia and Brazil
Forward-looking statements, such as “commits,” “commitment,” “expect,” “will,” and “2030” are based on assumptions and expectations that involve risks and uncertainties, including the “Risk Factors” MetLife, Inc. describes in its U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings. MetLife’s future results could differ, and it has no obligation to correct or update any of these statements.
Our implementation progress
Pledge implementation progress reporting is managed in collaboration with IUCN’s Restoration Barometer, and is required annually from the year following pledge publication.