Tetra Pak has announced the launch of the pioneering land restoration initiative The Araucaria Conservation Programme in Brazil. The ambition is to generate positive environmental, economic and social benefits for local communities and restore and protect biodiversity in the region.
Developed in collaboration with Apremavi, a Brazilian NGO specialising in conservation and restoration projects since 1987, the initiative is set to restore at least 7000 hectares over a period of ten years – equivalent to 9800 football pitches – of the Atlantic Forest, one of the richest biomes and the second most endangered in the world.
Originally, this rainforest covered 17 Brazilian states, but today only 12% of its original area is preserved, putting thousands of species that do not exist elsewhere at risk. The Araucaria Conservation Programme will target an area of particular risk, the Forest of Araucarias, which today only has 3% of its original area preserved.
Forest restoration also plays a vital role in combating climate change, as trees absorb and store carbon dioxide as they grow. With forests currently responsible for absorbing 30% of all carbon emissions in the world, restoration projects like the one in the Atlantic Forest can have a significant impact on reducing the levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere and subsequently help reverse the effects of climate change.
Julian Fox, director nature programmes, Tetra Pak, commented: ‘This initiative is our response to the United Nations challenge to make this the decade of ecosystem restoration. We are thrilled to be a lead partner of such a pioneering project, connecting a range of stakeholders and merging environmental restoration with carbon capture analysis to help mitigate climate change and recover biodiversity.’
In addition to a pilot restoring 80 hectares, the project’s first year will focus on mapping potential areas for restoration. After the validation of this initial phase, the model will be replicated on other rural properties over ten years across the 7000 hectares of the Atlantic Forest, which bridges the states of Santa Catarina and Paraná.
Tetra Pak will also certify a much broader territory under international voluntary carbon and biodiversity standards. The certification will measure carbon sequestration, meaning the project will play a key role in the company’s commitment to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions in its operations by 2030. The aim is for this territory to reach up to 13.7 million hectares – an area the size of England – and encourage other organisations to join the initiative.
Miriam Prochnow, counselor and co-founder of Apremavi, added: ‘Among the proposed methodologies are the planting of native seedlings, the ecological enrichment of secondary forests and natural regeneration. In the long run, the restored areas will be integrated into ecological corridors, contributing to reducing pressure on endangered animals such as the purple breasted parrot and the pampas deer. These actions are fundamental for the protection of biodiversity, the restoration of soil quality and the maintenance of water availability in the region.’
The project will also help bring social and economic benefits to the area in the medium/long term, with hundreds of farmers and landowners having support to ensure their properties benefit from environmental legislation.
Incentives are also in place to encourage landowners to become allies of the preservation of these areas in the long term. For example, farmers will be given the opportunity to diversify their income through the Payment for Environmental Services Programme, meaning they will be remunerated for land they restore linked to carbon credits, which is unprecedented in the country.
Critical to realising these ambitions has been collaboration with Tetra Pak’s partners, which have the technical expertise necessary to drive forward the initiative. In addition to Apremavi, the initiative’s strategic partners include Conservation International and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) Brazil. Klabin, a leader in paper production for packaging in Brazil and a supplier for Tetra Pak, is also participating.