The partnership between the conservation organisation and the multinational consumer goods firm will seek to raise awareness of the importance of the world’s forests, as well as protect one million trees.

The partners will support protection programmes in Brazil and Indonesia, two countries with some of the highest historical rates of deforestation in the world.

Deforestation remains one of the main drivers of climate change, with up to a fifth of greenhouse gas emissions coming as a result of the loss of forests and forest degradation.

“Stopping deforestation is an urgent priority in tackling climate change,” said Unilever CEO Paul Polman. “Forests are second only to the oceans as the largest global store of carbon and support 80% of terrestrial biodiversity across the globe.

“As a business it is crucial that we operate sustainably and take action to help consumers live sustainably. It’s a moral imperative and a business one – to be here for the long term.”

Engaging consumers

The campaign will engage consumers through Unilever’s Bright Future platform, with a social media campaign to launch in August to raise awareness.

WWF International director general Marco Lambertini said: ““This partnership with Unilever is an opportunity to engage millions of consumers for forests and for the climate, inspiring positive change in people’s everyday lives.”

In April this year, Unilever fast-tracked its deforestation pledge to 2015 after reaching 87% sustainable wood-packaging in 2014. The firm aims to source 100% of wood-based packaging from sustainable sources five years ahead of schedule.


The Rainforest Alliance recently questioned the accountability of companies claiming to be ‘deforestation-free’.

“We don’t yet have an agreed framework for turning this important objective into reality,” said Rainforest Alliance president Tensie Whelan. “Deforestation free is not the same as no trees being cut, though consumers might interpret it that way.”

The conservation group said tackling the problem required greater public accountability and clear independent standards.

Matt Field

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