Rooted in sustainability: seeing the forest for the trees
Flex celebrates the International Day of Forests
As part of last year’s Earth Day Challenge, 71 of our sites from 20 countries carried out around 320 environmental activities, including planting over 4,300 trees.
Over the course of the last year, we have planted over 6,800 trees around the world.
Today, on this International Day of Forests, we reflect on our efforts, but also on what we still need to do to combat global deforestation and climate change. We look at how we’ve chosen to live by our values and drive our Sustainability strategy, to achieve our Flex 20 by 2020 goals.
Seeing the forest for the trees; this is where we live and work
Committed to seeing the forest for the trees, we aim to understand how our environment and sustainability practices affect us. We have made resource conservation a focus.
We know that forests cover one third of the Earth's land mass, performing a vital function for humanity. According to experts, these functions include removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, releasing oxygen into the atmosphere, preventing soil erosion, cleaning water, purifying the air, offering cooling shade, attracting birds and wildlife and beautifying the community.
Yet despite all of these priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits, global deforestation continues at an alarming rate - 13 million hectares of forest are destroyed annually. The persistent degradation of drylands has led to the desertification of 3.6 billion hectares. Deforestation and desertification – caused by human activities and climate change – pose major challenges to sustainable development and have affected the lives and livelihoods of millions of people, our communities included.
Flex reforestation efforts around the globe
Our community cornerstone is about giving back where we live and work. We have committed to making every day about our communities and we are on track in our goal to increase the number of volunteer hours we dedicate to them.
"Our global community efforts, especially volunteering activities, drive understanding of local needs and engage employees,” Kelly Hampton, Vice President Global Marketing and Sustainability, explains. “Our employees get to see and experience the impact that they and our Sustainability efforts have to conserve natural resources."
Our volunteer hours have put seedlings in the earth, around the globe:
Since 2014, our sites in Guadalajara, Mexico have carried out extensive reforestation efforts, where around 1,000 employees and their families have planted more than 8,000 trees. It is estimated that these trees will capture almost 21,000 CO2 tons over the next 30 years, generate over 15,000 tons of oxygen, and avoid stormwater runoff by over 209,000 m3, assuming a 70% survival rate.
“My family and I have participated on this reforestation effort since the beginning,” Flex Sustainability Director, Maria Sepulveda says. "It has become a family tradition! Volunteering in our community and for the environment is a pleasure. I’m so proud of being part of this great company.”
Last year, our sites in the US planted over 200 trees in the Americas. 120 volunteers gave time to their communities to raise environmental awareness and helped clean an area of over 95,500 m2 in public parks, including Bushy Creek Lake Park in Austin, TX, Gate City Community Garden and Park in Nashua, NH to name a few.
Flex volunteered 230 people to collaborate with City Hall, the community and other organizations to revitalize the Municipal School Nova Vida in Manaus, Brazil. We helped paint the school, participated in afforestation efforts, planting gardens, landscaping projects, internal cleaning, neighborhood cleaning, pavement of the neighborhood, creation of access ramps, and signaling improvements in lighting. Overall, 1,150 volunteer hours were donated by our employees.
In 2018, our sites in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Rumania, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdome and Ukraine planted dozens of trees. Our Ukraine site, Mukachevo also took 40 volunteers on a hike through the “Obawski Stone” Mountains, a forested area where they collected litter and garbage.
As part of our last Earth Day Challenge, our Suzhou site organized a clean-up of the Lingbai Line, an eco-training center for kids, collecting hundreds of kilograms worth of waste. They donated 10,000 seeds to a local non-profit and committed over 3,500 volunteer hours. 179 volunteers from our site in PTP, Malaysia gave 1,488 hours of their time to plant 400 mangrove trees.
At the moment, we are evaluating different options to reduce our paper consumption in all regions and save trees so they can continue to provide all the benefits we’ve discussed.
Flex Foundation Environmental Grants
These efforts are also supported by the Flex Foundation. To protect the Satoyama Forest in Ibaraki, Japan, a forest is susceptible to air and soil pollution from nearby factories, The Flex Foundation provided funding to Satoyama Wo Mamoru Kai (i.e. Association for Protecting Community-based Forest) to build awareness and protect forest health.
Another good example is the donation the Flex Foundation gave to EXTRA A.C. a local non-profit in Guadalajara, Mexico, whose goal is to plant a tree per inhabitant. With these funds the non-profit planted 20,000 trees in the second largest metropolitan area of this country, benefiting an estimated 10,500 persons.
Our commitment to the UN SDGs
By protecting forests, we are able to strengthen natural resource management and increase land productivity. The UN Sustainable Development Goals include “Life on Land” and its targets 15.1, 15.2 and 15.B highlight the importance of ensuring the conservation, and restauration of forests.
We are working to support the UN sustainability goals, and to celebrate the International Day of Forests today, tomorrow and all year round, around the globe. We are committed to a sustainable future.