Conservation International and SC Johnson partner again to offset carbon impacts

06/13/05

Investment will help to conserve Makira Forest in Madagascar

WASHINGTON, DC (June 13, 2005) --In an effort to help protect the rain forests of northeastern Madagascar, SC Johnson has made a $5,000 contribution to Conservation International's Conservation Carbon program.

The donation, which will offset the carbon impacts associated with the printing and distribution of SC Johnson's 2005 Public Report, will be used to help fund the Makira Forest Project--protecting three hectares or about 7.5 acres of forest. The project, which is managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in partnership with the government of Madagascar and Conservation International (CI), was created to reduce the deforestation of the Makira forest along with preventing species extinctions, working with the local communities to develop sustainable agriculture, and demonstrating a viable market for some of the forest's ecosystem services.

"SC Johnson again has taken a leadership position by offsetting the carbon emissions from the production of its annual public report," stated Michael Totten, senior director, climate and water at CI. "Through the company's generous contribution, it will help continue this important work and conserve the forests of Madagascar."

This is the second time SC Johnson has partnered with CI's Conservation Carbon program. In 2004, the consumer packaged goods manufacturer helped restore 45 acres of degraded forest in Ecuador's Mache Chundul Ecological Reserve by offsetting the printing and distribution of every SC Johnson Public Report dating from 1991 to 2004.

"As a company, SC Johnson is committed to investing in programs and technology that help preserve the Earth's resources," said SC Johnson Chairman and CEO Fisk Johnson. "In the last year alone, SC Johnson has cut worldwide emissions by 23 percent, reduced fossil fuel use by just over 30 percent and achieved a 7.6 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions at our seven top production facilities. In the end, this is about doing what's right for business and the environment."

Land-use based carbon-offset projects, such as the Makira Forest, are designed to implement actions to address global climate change and biodiversity protection while benefiting local community sustainability projects. Healthy intact forests store carbon taken from the atmosphere and play an important role in mitigating the harmful effects of climate change. Currently, global deforestation accounts for about 20 percent of the annual emissions of greenhouse gases, and wide-scale climate change is expected to accelerate biodiversity loss and species extinctions over the next 100 years.

The Makira forest region consists of 350,000 hectares (about 1,350 square miles). It is one of the largest remaining patches of rain forest on the island nation of Madagascar. Within the forest, the level of species diversity is among the highest in the country; including a number of critically endangered animals, such as lemurs.

"Through the Makira Forest Project, we are working to successfully reduce deforestation and preserve Madagascar's nature beauty and biodiversity, which doesn't exist anywhere else on the planet," said Helen Crowley, Madagascar Country Director at the Wildlife Conservation Society.

One of the world's hotspots, Madagascar is a living example of species evolution in isolation, evolving an exquisitely unique assemblage of species. The biodiversity hotspots are 34 regions worldwide where 75 percent of the planet's most threatened mammals, birds, and amphibians survive within habitat covering just 2.3 percent of the Earth's surface (roughly equivalent to the combined areas of the five largest U.S. states). This habitat originally covered 15.7 percent of the Earth's surface, an area equivalent in size to Russia and Australia combined. New hotspot analysis shows that an estimated 50 percent of all vascular plants and 42 percent of terrestrial vertebrates exist only in these 34 hotspots.

By working in an innovative partnership with the Government of Madagascar and the Wildlife Conservation Society, Conservation International also has secured previous funding for the Makira Forest Project through its Conversation Carbon Program from the musical group Pearl Jam, the Vans Warped Tour, NAVTEQ and Mitsubishi. To further public awareness about Madagascar, the Makira region, WCS will open an exhibit at the Bronx Zoo next year.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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