National Co+op Grocers (NCG) has announced the planting of 3,348 trees in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest to help mitigate the impacts of the climate crisis. The trees will be planted as part of the cooperative’s Co+op Forest program, a carbon offset program that funds fair trade farmer cooperatives within NCG food co-ops’ supply chain that are pursuing reforestation, agroforestry and rainforest conservation in the Peruvian Amazon since 2012.
As wildfires in North America and across the globe have increased in size and intensity because of climate change, so too has the practice of burning tropical rainforest in South America for cattle ranching. The combined effect makes the need for global reforestation efforts urgent. Planting native trees in tropical areas benefit the entire planet, as tropical trees reach maturity quickly, allowing them to store more carbon over their lifetimes. The 3,348 trees NCG plants in 2020 are expected to sequester more than 1,000 tons of carbon dioxide gas—enough to offset the amount generated by NCG’s business travel and office utility usage in 2019.
“In a year marked by crisis and tragedy, planting trees is a tangible act of hope for the future—we can, and we must, take action now to protect our ecosystem,” said C.E. Pugh, CEO of NCG. “Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the historic wildfires we’ve seen this year in California, Oregon and other western states. NCG will continue to invest in climate solutions for them, and for us all.”
While wildfires are a regular natural occurrence in hot, arid regions of the world, research shows that climate change has increased their frequency and severity. Warmer, drier conditions overall have led to prolonged periods of drought and extended the seasonal risk for wildfires—the number of large wildfires has doubled since 1984. Trees are an essential part of any model to slow or even reverse climate change, they are efficient at removing carbon dioxide from our atmosphere, storing it as carbon and giving us oxygen in return.
NCG’s 2020 offsets are their eighth annual contribution to the program pioneered by PUR Projet in partnership with cocoa co-ops in and around San Martin, Peru. To date, NCG’s offsets and additional contributions have facilitated the planting and/or conservation of nearly 2 million trees in the Amazon.
Co+op Forest is one way that NCG helps make co-op supply chains greener—the farmer-led, fair trade cooperatives in Peru that plant and maintain Co+op Forest are putting into practice a number of leading climate change solutions. See a full timeline of food co-ops’ investment in Co+op Forest through the years.