The South Punjab Forest Company (SPFC) and World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-Pakistan) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to enhance the forest cover in Punjab by promoting commercial and corporate social responsibility initiatives with respect to forestry in South Punjab.
The MoU was signed at the SPFC office by company CEO Tahir Rasheed and WWF-Pakistan DG Hammad Naqi Khan. The heads of both organizations pledged to play their roles in improving forest cover in the assigned riverine, arid, and irrigated areas of South Punjab, promoting forestry by engaging multinational companies through corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, and protecting existing tree cover.
It was also agreed that both organizations will share lessons learnt in other spheres e.g. habitat improvement, importance of corridor connectivity, significance of restoring natural flora, and environmental education, etc, to promote conservation.
According to Naqi, “WWF-Pakistan will support the SPFC in establishing relationships with multinational companies (MNCs) and the corporate sector to engage them in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and commercial forestry initiatives. Furthermore, a plan of action will be prepared to involve the corporate sector in forest conservation and promote the ‘Adopt a Forest’ campaign in collaboration with MNCs and other corporations for restoring indigenous flora and protecting natural regeneration of forests.”
SPFC head Tahir Rasheed was also hopeful about working closely with WWF-Pakistan in introducing commercial forestry and environmental standards of sustainable forest management to improve the value and yield of forests. According to him, “We’ll strive to promote mutually beneficial relationships that can attract investment, especially from the green climate fund (GCF) and other international funds, by leveraging the potential of sustainable forestry in Pakistan. Through this partnership, we’ll work closely to build relationships, which capacitate investors to plant, harvest, and market their crops in environmentally sensitive ways.”
Both the organizations also agreed to seek the possibility of getting carbon credits for MNCs and other corporations against their efforts to increase the forest cover, organize educational trips to SPFC’s assigned areas for research, knowledge sharing, and awareness, develop informational material for the promotion of public-private partnerships (PPP), and raise awareness to promote commercial forestry and CSR activities in the forestry sector.