Businesses, Local Governments and Citizens Challenged to Conserve and Restore Land

WASHINGTON, 11 June 2018–As part of the Global Climate Action Summit, WWF, together with a broad coalition of partners, today issued the 30X30 Forests, Food and Land Challenge: calling on businesses, states, city and local governments, and global citizens to take action for better forest and habitat conservation, food production and consumption, and land use, working together across all sectors of the economy to deliver up to 30% of the climate solutions needed by 2030.

Hosted in San Francisco from September 12-14, the Summit will bring together thousands of people from around the world to drive ambition to the next level. It will be a moment to recognize the extraordinary achievements of states, regions, cities, companies, investors, and citizens taking climate action and to catalyze bold new commitments and action.

Collectively, the global food system, unsustainable forest management, infrastructure development, and other activities related to land use are a major driver of global climate change, accounting for more greenhouse gas emissions than the total emissions from all cars, trucks, trains, planes and ships in the world. Forests, grasslands, and other habitats pull carbon out of the atmosphere, but when they are cleared, they release carbon and their capacity to reabsorb it is diminished. In the soil and in healthy ecosystems, carbon is a building block of life; in the atmosphere, it heats the planet.

“To curb climate change, we must address the second-greatest source of emissions: our use of land,” said Manuel Pulgar Vidal, head of WWF’s global climate and energy practice. “By taking concrete action, businesses and local leaders also can encourage national governments to more aggressively reduce carbon emissions using every resource available, including trees, grasses and soil.”

California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., a Summit co-chair, recently underlined the actions California is taking to deal with forest losses. Forests serve as the state’s largest land-based carbon sink, drawing carbon from the atmosphere, but even a single wildfire can quickly undermine those benefits.

“Devastating forest fires are a profound challenge to California,” Governor Brown said recently when issuing a sweeping Executive Order to increase the ability of forests to capture carbon. “I intend to mobilize the resources of the state to protect our forests and ensure they absorb carbon to the maximum degree.”

“Climate change is already disrupting and destabilizing our global food and agricultural systems,” said Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever. “By eliminating habitat loss and degradation from our supply chains, we can prevent the emission of billions of tons of greenhouse gases. Businesses like ours have a responsibility and an opportunity to help the nations of the world meet and exceed the goals of the Paris Agreement.”

Businesses, state and local agencies, multilateral organizations, scientists, and other stakeholders can meet this challenge by taking concrete action to:

  1. Halve food loss and waste and consume conscientiously.
  2. Sequester one gigaton of carbon per year in natural and working lands.
  3. Enable better production of food and fiber by unlocking finance, providing tools to increase transparency, fostering public-private collaboration and protecting local rights.

Because Indigenous Peoples and local communities are among the most effective wardens of natural habitats and most directly harmed by their loss and degradation, engaging these constituencies are a critical piece of the 30X30 Challenge. 

About WWF

WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries.  WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.

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About the Global Climate Action Summit

The Global Climate Action Summit takes place from September 12 to 14, 2018 in San Francisco under the theme ‘ Taking Ambition to the Next Level’.  To keep warming well below 2 degrees C, and ideally 1.5 degrees C – temperatures that could lead to catastrophic consequences – worldwide emissions must start trending down by 2020.  The Summit will showcase climate action around the world, along with bold new commitments, to give world leaders the confidence they can go even further by 2020 in support of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.  The Summit’s five headline challenge areas are Healthy Energy Systems; Inclusive Economic Growth; Sustainable Communities; Land and Ocean Stewardship and Transformative Climate Investments.  Many partners are supporting the Summit and the mobilization in advance including Climate Group; the Global Covenant of Mayors; Ceres, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group; BSR; We Mean Business; CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project; the World Wide Fund for Nature; and Mission 2020. For more information on the Summit visit globalclimateactionsummit.org. #StepUp2018