A giant wall of trees that is being built across Africa is making a huge contribution to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
In Senegal, around 11 million drought-resistant trees such as acacias have already been planted. The millions of plants will make the ground more fertile, allowing about 100 million hectares of once lifeless desert to become agricultural land by 2030. In Ethiopia, 15 million hectares of agricultural land have already been reclaimed from the previously rapidly expanding Sahara.
Once complete, the Great Green Wall will be the largest living structure on Earth, three times the size of the Great Barrier Reef. The vast expanse of greenery will be able to extract 250 million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year. The region is at the front line of climate change, which is causing persistent droughts and famine.
But the project is not just about improving the environment. Its promotional video says it is “growing food; growing a reason to stay for the families forced to migrate to Europe; growing green jobs, giving real incomes and opportunities; growing peace in places where conflict is widespread; and growing a response to climate change in a region where temperatures are rising faster than anywhere else on Earth.”
It is therefore making a multi-faceted contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals, as it is relevant to no less than six of them: SDG 1 (no poverty); SDG 2 (zero hunger); SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth); SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities); SDG 13 (climate action); and SDG 15 (life on land).
“The importance of SDGs to ensure a safe, healthy and economically viable future are becoming increasingly evident,” says Rainer Baumann, Head of Investments for RobecoSAM. “The primary focus of the fund is on companies who are positively contributing to the SDGs and moving us closer to achieving the goals.”
“Forward-thinking companies like these are not only making strides towards protecting and preserving people and planet – they are also in a strong position to benefit from the enormous tailwinds created by increased consumer demand and regulatory action towards sustainable products and services.”
“Companies in the fund are carefully screened and selected based on the quality and intensity of their contributions across all 17 SDGs. Only companies with a high net positive impact are selected for inclusion in the portfolio. The result is a concentrated portfolio of sustainably-run, high-impact companies, diversified globally across regions and economic sectors.”