Bloomberg Green Summit
Breakout Lunch Briefing: The Power of Restoration: Impacting People & Planet
April 26, 2023
At the intersection of people and planet, nature restoration projects are a powerful tool of choice for many companies devoted to a net-zero future. How can corporate partners ensure their restoration projects drive real climate, social and economic progress? Top environmental leaders and corporate executives gathered at this breakout lunch briefing to discuss best practices for measuring success, engaging authentically at the local level and more.
Click here to watch “The Power of Restoration: Impacting People & Planet”
- Karl Burkart, Deputy Director, One Earth
- Sarah Charlop-Powers, Executive Director & Founder, Natural Areas Conservancy
- Dr. Pooja Choksi, Co-Founder, Project Dhvani & Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Minnesota
- Cristina Paslar, Executive Vice President, ESG Products, Mastercard
- Tillie Walton, Host, Wild Rivers with Tillie
- Abby Danzig, Senior Programming Director, Bloomberg Green & Sustainability Events
Christina Paslar, Executive Vice President, ESG Products, Mastercard, delivered opening remarks. “We really believe in the power of collective action,” Paslar said, adding that partnerships like the company’s Priceless Planet Coalition are a key part of their climate action plans.
Science-based target initiatives are finally giving us a clarity on what net zero means, said Karl Burkart, Deputy Director, One Earth. “Part of all the pushback against corporates being involved in nature credits and offsets is because there’s this fear of greenwashing. You can do it wrong.” The answer lies in transparency and companies telling the story of their transition journeys, especially if they want to reach Gen Z consumers.
Restoration projects can create communities. Sarah Charlop-Powers, Executive Director & Founder, Natural Areas Conservancy used New York City as an example, with its more than 7,000 acres of intact woodlands within the five boroughs. “Those forest areas have 85% native canopy, which is similar to places like the Adirondacks.” Pairing ecological with social data, which indicates 50% of residents have never experienced nature outside of their city park system, they look for connections. “We think about the communities that are served, and not served, by these urban oases, and how we can connect those communities more wholly.” That includes hiring locals to care for those spaces.
Dr. Pooja Choksi, Co-Founder, Project Dhvani & Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Minnesota, who researches mostly in central India, said technology will be essential in providing remote sensing tools to monitor large and costly restoration efforts. “We can’t always know what’s going on with human effort alone. It’s definitely where we’re headed if we want to take this to scale.” Her focus is on acoustic technology – listening to forests – but the tech remains at the nascent stage. “We’re still trying to understand the ecological meaning of how a forest sounds. How do we correlate what we’re hearing with what a healthy forest sounds like?”
On the role of corporations in restoration, Tillie Walton, Host, Wild Rivers with Tillie, said they are important ones. “Having unusual bedfellows in the room is really important,” as is storytelling; connecting people to places. “It’s not just restoring the ecosystem, it’s also restoring our mental health, our wellbeing, because we all feel better when we’re in nature, we’re around water, we’re in these parks. All of these things are good for the health of our planet, the health of everybody, and the health of our businesses.”
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