AZ Forest: Our Reforestation Initiative
50 million trees to be planted globally by 2025
AZ Forest is a global initiative to plant and steward 50 million trees worldwide by 2025. In partnership with local governments and One Tree Planted, a non-profit organisation focused on global reforestation, the initiative supports 1t.org, the World Economic Forum's Trillion Trees platform. AstraZeneca's AZ Forest programme is part of the company's work to address climate change, together with its Ambition Zero Carbon strategy. AstraZeneca recognises the strong connection between a healthy planet and healthy people, and works to foster environments in which all life can thrive.
Trees are a nature-based solution to remove CO2 and are essential to mitigate the effects of climate change. Reforestation has a number of sustainability co-benefits, including:
- Reducing air pollution, leading to improved air quality;
- Cooling the environment by providing shade from the sun, helping manage surface and air temperatures;
- Reduce the risk of natural disasters, such as floods and landslides;
- Support a healthy water cycle by increasing flows in the dry season and reducing flooding in heavy rainfall;
- Foster biodiversity;
- Help increase physical activity in the local community through additional green space
Actions in this pledge
Restoring and growing trees and forest landscapes
- Assisted natural regeneration
- Actions that support natural regeneration without tree planting, such as Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration, forest soil remediation, exotic species control, disease prevention, and wildfire protection
- 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
- 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
- Other restoration and tree growing activities
- AZ Forest opportunities and broader nature-based solutions are still being explored and may extend to include mangrove restoration and urban tree planting in the future.
Partnerships have been developed for forest restoration and regeneration in Australia (25 million trees by 2025), Indonesia Kalimantan National Park (10 million Trees by 2025; restoration and biodiversity driven), Indonesia Citarum River (10 million trees by 2025; restoration, agroforestry, watershed protection, erosion control and biodiversity driven). Intermediate goals exist for each project, and we are working with a variety of partners to monitor the success of the planting projects out to at least 2030 and in many cases out to 2050.
Systematic monitoring, evaluation and reporting will include:
(i) registration of planting that sets out the rights, expectations and obligations of each party;
(ii) mapping each plot with GPS, and recording physical and economic conditions; and
(iii) field monitoring through physical field visits at intervals starting at 3-4 months after planting and continuing through the project to 2030/ 2050, with accompanying reports on survival and growth rates and other social, physical and ecological metrics.
We are also supporting innovation in remote sensing/ monitoring using drone and high-resolution satellite imagery, as well as IoT sensors to monitor the condition of trees, water infiltration, soil and air quality, biodiversity, carbon sequestration and carbon forecasts.
Restoring & Growing
- 50 million surviving by 2025
Enabling activities for trees and forest landscapes
- Nursery and seedling development
- Establish tree nurseries, including actions such as identification and collection of seeds and/or growing seedlings
- 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
- Market development for sustainable forest products
- Activities that create markets and demand for ecologically and socially responsible timber and non-timber forest and agroforestry products, e.g. capacity-building for the harvesting and processing of agroforestry products, forest certification standards, etc.
- 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.)
Establishing tree nurseries, including the collection of seeds and/or growing seedlings that are regionally appropriate are key activities underpinning our reforestation work in Australia and Indonesia.
We are actively working with landholders and planting partners to support activities that ensure the long-term stewardship and use of forests; this includes employment and direct engagement with local communities and indigenous populations.
We are also working to develop forest systems that are economically sustainable and equitable by:
(i) integrating tradition approaches with new technologies to create innovative bio-based value chains, respecting local traditions and rights,
(ii) increasing food security through innovative farming methods for our agroforestry based initiatives, and
(iii) embedding practices that cause less harm to the landscape.
We are supporting data collection, management and technological innovation and tool provision in remote sensing/ monitoring using drone and high-resolution satellite imagery, as well as IoT sensors to monitor the condition of trees, water infiltration, soil and air quality, biodiversity, carbon sequestration, and carbon forecasts.
Our ecologically and socially responsible approach
We work with our planting partners to ensure that ecological and social issues are integrated into our projects at the design stage. We also have a series of guiding principles that we follow which are described later in this pledge. We have a range of planting partners that currently include One Tree Planted, Greening Australia, Friends of the National Park (Kalimantan) and Trees for Trees (Citarum River). Other partnerships are under development. For example, the agroforestry project at the Citarum River, Indonesia has explicitly included human rights and modern-day slavery consideration within the project design given we will be working with >30,000 farming communities – the project states “respect for Human Rights is a guiding principle for the project partners. A monitoring and reporting framework will be established to assure that the activities of all participants in the project are carried out in fair and lawful ways. A hotline will be established to allow anonymous reporting in local language of cases of potential abuse.”
We will look to comply with relevant recognized standards and guidelines for socially and environmental responsible nature-based solution as they develop; including alignment with the IUCN Global Standard for nature-based solutions to global challenges and the guiding principles of Forest Landscape Restoration. We do have our own guiding principles that we followed for all projects that precede some guidance. These include:
(i) involving local people that will be impacted by the project (e.g. landowners, communities, governments, etc.) and ensure common goals are sought,
(ii) monitoring trees to ensure survival,
(iii) Scheduling the planting for a period that is appropriate for local seasons and climate conditions,
(iv) selecting tree species that are locally appropriate and will stand the test of time,
(v) ensuring there is a long term strategy to protect the area and trees as well as a risk mitigation plan (e.g. to prevent fires, encroachment, etc.),
(vi) considering land ownership and associated rights,
(vii) verifying that location of planting is aligned to impact objectives and clear co-benefits (social, economic and environmental),
(viii) determining possible negative impacts (e.g. on local communities, water, biodiversity, etc.),
(ix) testing soil for suitability prior to planting,
(x) reviewing local and national regulations,
(xi) reporting baseline metrics from local partner, # trees died (tree mortality); # trees planted; # trees planted by species; latitude and longitude coordinates etc.
Our results tracking
All projects will have annual reports from after the trees are planted until the end of the contract/ monitoring period. The annual reports that will contain communication assets (photography, stories from farmers, etc.), highlights (challenges/risks, big wins, plans for following year) and metrics, including and not limited to: (i) Number of trees planted (ii) Acres of forest habitat restored and number acres of forest under improved management (iii) Number of trees produced in the nurseries (iv) Increases in target species and associated biodiversity monitoring reports (v) Water restoration impacts (ex. reductions in sedimentation in the rivers) baseline and end results (vi) Miles of stream-side forest planted (vii) Reductions in polluted runoff (viii) Number of hectares of forest or each type established (ix) Increase of carbon stock in the landscape (Tons of CO2e)
All projects will have annual reports from after the trees are planted until the end of the contract/ monitoring period. The annual reports that will contain communication assets (photography, stories from farmers, etc.), highlights (challenges/risks, big wins, plans for following year) and metrics, including and not limited to: (x) number of volunteers involved, (xi) number of farming families that benefit (xii) number of employees and other staff involved, number of farming families that will benefit, ecological benefits including the range of endangered species protected, number of local people trained in new skills, (xiii) nature and number of jobs created directly through this project, (xiv) shade provided (xv) educational outreach activities to schools and colleges, metrics that (xvi) link planting initiatives to positive health and wellbeing metrics (xvii) smallholder forestry in terms of crop production, business management marketing their produce. (xviii) additional socioeconomic impact metrics as they arise
Our system of accreditation
All our tree planting will be subject to independent third-party verification by Bureau Veritas on an annual basis as we have KPIs that are captured in our Sustainability Report. This will ensure that we will have independent assurance of our goal to have 50 million surviving trees by 2025 and it will also address the accuracy of any co-benefit claims whether environmental or social. Planting initiatives where we capture carbon credits will be subject to scrutiny under the relevant verification scheme (e.g. VCS, Gold Standard).
One Tree Planted, Greening Australia, Friends of the National Parks Foundation, Trees for Trees, City for Trees and European Forestry Institute. Other partnerships are in development.
We are working at locations across Australia, Indonesia, United Kingdom (UK), and United States of America (USA).
We are working in Kalimantan National Park, Indonesia; Citarum River, Indonesia; and across various locations in Southern Australia. We are also finalising new projects in Africa, Europe and North America.