Telefónica has joined the international initiative of the World Economic Forum (WEF) 1t.org which intends to motivate companies to commit to investing in and restoring trees with the goal of conserving, restoring and growing one trillion trees by 2030.
Protecting the environment is a priority for Telefónica, which is why it is working to curb climate change, reverse biodiversity loss and build a greener future through digitalisation. These cross-cutting issues are clearly interrelated and can be addressed through nature-based solutions.
To do so, and in line with its goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2040, as well as to neutralise emissions from its main operations by 2025, Telefónica commits to 1t.org to grow and conserve forest ecosystems and enhance biodiversity with 1.5 million trees by 2030, which means avoiding and absorbing 700,000 tonnes of CO2 in ten years with initiatives that will follow the Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standards.
Thus, at the same time as having an efficient and low-carbon telecommunications network, reinforcing its long-term sustainable growth, the company has a positive impact on nature.
“At Telefónica we are convinced that without digitalisation there is no green transition. Aligned with our goal of net zero emissions, we continue to support nature-based solutions. We are proud to reinforce these commitments by joining 1t.org, the World Economic Forum’s 1 trillion trees initiative. We truly believe that #EverythingIsConnected: trees, climate, biodiversity and progress, and that together we can build a greener future,” says Elena Valderrábano, Global Chief Sustainability (ESG) Officer at Telefónica.
In the short term, until 2025, Telefónica is committed to supporting projects that prevent the degradation of ecosystems and generate carbon emission reduction credits, quantified at more than 200,000 tonnes of CO2. In this way, it contributes to halting deforestation, supporting the conservation of existing forest landscapes and promoting the development of indigenous peoples and local communities. This type of project is particularly relevant in Brazil, Peru and Colombia, countries where Telefónica has operations.
As Telefónica is also committed to neutralising the GHG emissions it is not able to reduce, nature-based projects will be a priority. Therefore, from 2025 onwards, it will grow more than 1.1 million trees, which will eliminate almost 500,000 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere.
Commitment to local environments
This type of action is not new for the telco, as in 2020 it launched the Telefónica Forest in Palencia (Spain), which has 12,500 trees of native species on more than 22 hectares, helping to recover a degraded agricultural area and boosting the local economy by generating employment. Thanks to the offsetting of emissions from this project, Telefónica has been awarded the “calculo-reduzco-compenso” seal by the Spanish Climate Change Office.
In Germany, for example, Telefónica has already neutralised 20% of its Scope 1 and 2 emissions through the CO2OL Tropical Mix project, which involved restoring land used by extensive livestock farming and converting it into mixed forests by planting 20 different species and protecting a further 30 and providing sustainable timber and cocoa production that boosts the development of the area.
Telefónica Hispam has launched the ‘one mobile, one tree’ campaign, in which a tree is planted for every device returned by customers. In 2021, 7.5 hectares have already been reforested in the Nevado de Toluca national forest reserve in Mexico. In line with this initiative, through Telefónica’s online sales channel “tu.com”, the carbon footprint related to their purchases is offset free of charge, making customers aware of their impact and encouraging them to make more sustainable purchasing decisions either through the REDD+ Project in Peru which helps local families to sustainably harvest Brazilian walnuts; or to reforest the Alto Tajo National Park (Spain) or to contribute to a sustainable agriculture project in the Jari Valley in Brazil.