The growing urgency of supporting environmental and social justice efforts around the world has fueled a new commitment by UPS to plant more than 50 million trees by 2030, in alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals period (2015-2030).
The new effort brings UPS’s commitment to environmental stewardship and reducing greenhouse gas emissions to a new level. While planting 50 million trees will have a measurable impact on the environment, UPS has evolved its strategy to focus on improving lives in Black and underserved communities in the U.S. and developing areas around the world. Through this new commitment, UPS will help to address environmental injustices by improving air quality, fostering better health outcomes, more job opportunities, more social engagement and creating safer and healthier neighborhoods.
Over the next 12 months, tree planting projects will get underway in more than two dozen metropolitan cities in collaboration with non-profit organizations. Around the world, UPS is supporting more than 50 environmental projects, working with leading environmental organizations including Arbor Day Foundation, Earth Day Network, Keep America Beautiful, The Nature Conservancy, National Park Foundation, the Student Conservation Association and World Wildlife Fund.
“Through our collaborative programs with leading environmental organizations we’ve learned the critical importance and positive impact on the health of our communities. We are launching this effort to focus our environmental programs in low-income and underserved communities,” said Eduardo Martinez, President of The UPS Foundation and UPS Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. “By taking this approach, we are using the power of our commitment to social justice, equity and the environment to bring life-enhancing changes that can restore the ability for our communities to thrive.”
The new commitment follows UPS’s success in surpassing 20 million hours of volunteer service in communities, and planting more than 15.4 million trees across 66 countries on six continents in collaboration with our environmental partners. More than 170,000 of the trees were planted by UPS employees, who often brought families and friends to join the effort.
Earlier this year UPS pledged to provide one million hours of volunteer service in support of mentoring and educational programs in underserved Black communities globally, which have long been disproportionately affected by environmental inequity. The planting projects in city environments will support health and well-being, provide an economic uplift, and create a better space to live and work. Other projects include Boreal forest plantings that help support indigenous communities; support for farmers to reduce soil erosion, increase yields, and generate greater economic conditions and healthier environments, and other projects to create a rebound from natural disasters and the long-term impact of poverty.
UPS is also participating in research studies, such as the Green Heart Project in Louisville, Ky., a multi-year initiative which will provide critical data on the importance of trees on health and well-being in city environments.
PROJECTS AT A GLANCE
Across The U.S.
Planting in cities – particularly in low-income and underserved neighborhoods – will provide significant social and economic benefits, fostering a healthier environment to live and work. Additionally, UPS’s support of the Student Conservation Association will create an environmental career path for minority students.
The Boreal Forest is the largest unbroken natural landscape of a forest ecosystem encompassing nearly three hundred million hectares across Alaska, Canada and Russia. Boreal forests absorb more carbon dioxide than any other forest. Hundreds of communities within Boreal territory derive economic income from forest industries that sustain indigenous communities.
The Africa region is prone to extremes of drought and floods. Monoculture plantings have further reduce topsoil health. Reforestation in the area will directly protect the land against erosion, while saving lives and property. By supporting the planting of fruit trees, UPS is helping famers increase crop yields resulting in a higher income potential, while helping to sustain the environment and support well-being.
Across India, widespread hunger and poverty remain key issues. The thousands of fruit trees that will be planted will help provide families with stable sources of food and a sustainable livelihood, uplifting them from poverty and providing a pathway to a better life.
In Latin America, the needs include forest protection, reforestation and disaster recovery. Non-sustainable agricultural methods, topsoil erosion, and devastation from natural disasters have made this a priority region for support. In Haiti, 98% of the original forest has been lost due to over-farming and natural disasters. The re-establishment of canopy cover will provide protection from storms. Tree plantings will also include areas in Brazil and Mexico in need of immediate support.
Europe and Asia
Projects focus on neighborhoods blighted by heat, with tree plantings offering relief by cooling and improving air quality. Integrated urban planting projects will improve the walkability and safety of neighborhood streets, helping to attract visitors and economic investment.