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UPS pledges to plant 2 million trees

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Employees' volunteer work and UPS's funding commitment are part of a larger reforestation effort.

In the 1800s, legendary folk hero Johnny Appleseed (real name, John Chapman) traveled throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio and the Midwest planting apple orchards and spreading the word about conservation. Fast-forward to the 21st century, and thousands of UPS employees worldwide are following in his footsteps.

Trees are important in the fight against climate change because they absorb carbon dioxide and other pollutants and emit pure oxygen through photosynthesis.

It's all part of the UPS Global Forestry Initiative to plant, preserve and protect trees in the United States and around the globe. "Investing in tree planting and reforestation is strategic to our environmental sustainability program," says Eduardo Martinez, president of The UPS Foundation, the philanthropic arm of UPS.

Trees are important in the fight against climate change because they absorb carbon dioxide and other pollutants and emit pure oxygen through photosynthesis. In addition, whenever tree cover is lost, rain turns into costly stormwater runoff, washing oils, heavy metals and other harmful substances into waterways. The result: Fish and wildlife suffer, and drinking water is more costly to reclaim.

Sustainable roots

UPS has partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation and other pre-eminent global environmental organizations such as The Nature Conservancy, Earth Day Network and World Wildlife Fund to provide funding for reforestation efforts worldwide. In addition, UPS is encouraging its 400,000 employees to lend a hand, planting trees where they live and work.

Last year, UPS employees and their friends and families worldwide donated 1.8 million volunteer hours. Here's a map that shows where UPS has already planted more than 1.3 million trees globally. The goal is to plant another million trees by year's end.

Tree efficiency, by the numbers

Planting a tree is surprisingly easy and a low-tech way to save energy bills, too. Properly placed trees can provide summer shade, winter warmth and useful windbreaks, says the Arbor Day Foundation. Some stats:

  • Large deciduous trees, such as oaks or maples, when planted on the east, west and northwest sides of a home, can provide welcome shade and reduce summer air conditioning costs up to 35 percent.
  • For winter warmth, conifers (evergreens such as Colorado blue spruce or white pine) planted on the north and northwest block winter winds. A row of conifers on the north side of your house can form a windbreak that will save heating costs up to 30 percent, says the foundation.

Learn more about UPS's partnership with Arbor Day Foundation and the global tree-planting efforts. Or download an infographic.

Learn more about UPS's corporate giving and sustainability initiatives or review the company's entire 2012 Corporate Sustainability Report.

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