Hanwha Solar Forest: Creating carbon-neutral forests
Restoring and growing trees utilizing solar energy to tackle climate change
- Restoring & Growing, Enabling
- This pledge will take place from
- 2021 to 2030
- South Korea
At Hanwha, we are firm in our belief that the choices we make today will impact the world tomorrow. Driven by our relentless commitment to sustainability, Hanwha develops tangible solutions to global issues through our business, technological, and corporate activities.
Long recognized as a prominent global solar energy leader, we are pleased to make a pledge to support 1t.org through our global reforestation initiative, “Hanwha Solar Forest.” Hanwha has spent the past decade creating sustainable forests to help tackle climate change, and now we are taking steps forward for another decade by participating in the 1t.org initiative.
Hanwha Solar Forest is a standout amongst its peers due to its use of solar energy to power nurseries.Traditionally, sapling nurseries are powered by electricity produced from fossil fuels, which means the work of tree-planting – watering, seasonal climate control, general maintenance, and more – can ironically end up releasing more carbon into the atmosphere, the very same carbon afforestation efforts aim to remove. To reach their full potential, it is important that afforestation initiatives use green energy. Hanwha Solar Forest nurseries are powered by electricity produced from Hanwha’s solar panels. This solar energy supports the clean water supply, temperature and humidity control, and lighting conditions required to nurture saplings, resulting in a more environmentally friendly, carbon-neutral forest.
At a general meeting of the UNCCD (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification) in 2011, the initiative was cited as the world’s first corporate practice of utilizing solar energy to fight desertification. Beginning with the Tujiin Nars anti-desertification forest in Mongolia in 2012, the initiative has created ten forests throughout the world. Since its launch, the Solar Forest initiative has helped plant around 540,000 trees across 1.45 million square meters throughout South Korea, China and Mongolia.
Hanwha Solar Forest also encourages public engagement by taking the forest out of the woods and onto people’s phones, fostering environmental consciousness. People can plant virtual trees using Hanwha’s Solar Forest app, and in return, Hanwha plants real trees in vulnerable areas. In terms of social and economic impact, the initiative has also improved indigenous people’s livelihoods and created economic benefits, leading to tangible and practical changes to the lives of local residents. For instance, in Mongolia, residents who were forced to leave their homes due to desertification caused by unauthorized logging and arson have been able to return home and work as forest managers at sites created by the Hanwha Solar Forest initiative.
Building on these achievements, we are committed to continue restoring and growing sustainable solar forests in support of the 1t.org initiative, and our goal is to create 20 solar forests locally and globally by 2030. We aim to bring about tangible and practical changes for individuals, society, and the planet, paving the way to a greener tomorrow.
Actions in this pledge
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
We will implement and monitor our solar forests according to best practices and with 1t.org's support on consultation and to connect with relevant local partners and networks.
Restoring & Growing
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
- 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
Seedlings for the forests are grown in nurseries using solar energy generated from panels that are donated and installed by Hanwha. Using solar energy to power the seedling nurseries provides multiple ecological benefits, including consistent temperature and humidity control, optimal lighting conditions required to nurture saplings, and maintenance of a clean water supply.
Also, the initiative’s mobile application, Solar Forest, helps increase public awareness and keep the public engaged, incentivizing participants to plant trees virtually. People are able to plant virtual trees through their mobile devices and in return, Hanwha will plant a real forest in vulnerable areas.
Our ecologically and socially responsible approach
We select tree species with high carbon absorption and create forests with species that can contribute to biodiversity due to their high local viability. (e.g., planting bee trees to help restore the bee population and preserve biodiversity.)
When the initiative is implemented in Korea, we follow the guidance of the Korea Forest Service, a government agency that is overseen by the South Korean Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Likewise, when forests are created overseas, we follow the protocols/guidelines of relevant local authorities.
Tree Planet, a social venture company
We are working at locations across South Korea.
Our implementation is planned to take place in South Korea, U.S. and/or EU countries.