Written by Lauren Smith - 14th Jan 2022

A Guide To The UN SDG's – Goal 15 Life On Land

UN sustainable development goals poster

We’re kicking off 2022 with another instalment of our series on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We began this series last year as a way to look at each of the goals that we directly support, and share the amazing stories of our social venture partners who are working on these issues right now. This month’s instalment will focus on goal 15 - life on land. We will be looking at why this is so important, what we as businesses and consumers can do to help and of course, our social venture partners who are tackling these problems right now.

QUICK REMINDER - WHAT ARE THE UN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS?

The 2030 Agenda was adopted in 2015 by all UN Member States and describes an ambitious strategy to stimulate action in areas of critical importance. At the centre of this strategy are the 17 SDGs and each of these goals represents the issues that matter most and will bring about peace and prosperity to humanity and the planet.

GOAL 15 – LIFE ON LAND

Forests cover 31% of our planet’s land area and are home to more than 80% of all species of animals, plants, and insects. They play a key role in reducing the risk of natural disasters, as well as providing shelter, jobs, and security for forest-dependent communities. In short, forests help to sustain life on earth.

UN sustainable development goals 15

However, through deforestation, global warming, and unsustainable farming, biodiversity is declining faster than at any other time in human history. The aim of goal 15 of the UN SDG’s is to sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss. 

WHAT IS LAND DEGRADATION?

land degradation in thailand


Land degradation describes the decline or loss of productive land resources and is caused by numerous factors such as climate change and unsustainable agriculture practices. It is one of the world’s most pressing environmental problems and affects everyone through food insecurity, climate change, and the loss of biodiversity. One of the most extreme forms of land degradation is called desertification – where fertile land becomes desert due to a lack of minerals and nutrients in the soil. This has been intensified by the effects of climate change and frequency of droughts.

5 THINGS WE CAN ALL DO TO COMBAT DEFORESTATION 

• Minimise your use of single-use products and always recycle responsibly. WWF have an app called My Footprint where you can find a variety of information and challenges to reduce your impact on the environment.

• Go paperless at home or the office – not only will you be saving trees and reducing your waste but you’ll have a lot less clutter!

• Support businesses and organisations that are committed to reducing deforestation. Many businesses like Social Stories Club now offer carbon neutral shipping which means that any CO2 released into the atmosphere from a company's activities is balanced by an equivalent amount being removed, find out more about our carbon neutral shipping here.

• Making more sustainable food choices. Some ideas include reducing our meat consumption and composting our food scraps - which reduces your impact on the environment and can be used as nutrient rich food for your garden.

• Raise awareness by spreading the word! Let your friends, family and colleagues know the steps you're taking to reduce your impact on the environment and share any educational articles you found helpful.

HAVE WE MADE ANY PROGRESS?

While forest loss remains high, progress has been made towards sustainable forest management. Deforestation in tropical regions has slowed in the past decade and a reports have shown that the proportion of forests in protected areas increased or remained stable in most regions of the world.

Whilst this is a step in the right direction, efforts will need to be increased to maintain this trend. The UN has set some ambitious targets to achieve by 2030, but it will require the efforts of each of us to ensure our natural habitats survive.

OUR SOCIAL VENTURE PARTNERS WORKING TOWARDS GOAL 15

Chocolate and Love are an award-winning brand that makes delicious dark chocolate from the finest organic ingredients. Every aspect of the business is run as ethically as possible from reducing their shipping to cut down on fuel costs or using FSC certified paper and plastic free silver wrappers that are completely biodegradable. They also collaborate with innovative reforestation organisation Weforest.org and to date have planted 28,000 trees! By planting trees with this organisation they can offset the production of paper used in packaging their chocolate bars.

Toast Ale is here to change the world. They use surplus bread to make their beer. This not only helps reduce food waste but by replacing virgin barley, they use less land, water, and energy, while avoiding carbon emissions. To date, they have saved over 2.07 million slices of bread and donated over £48,000 to charity.

VENT for Change is a sustainable stationery company. Proceeds from every VENT product sold go towards global education projects getting children back into school. Through their PENCILS with PURPOSE programme, they have been working with education-based charities to get pencils into the hands of those that need them most. Their pencils are made from recycled CD cases in the UK and they sharpen with a normal sharpener.

UpCircle Beauty creates award-winning sustainable skin care using by-products from other industries. The brand is 100% natural, organic, vegan, cruelty-free, palm oil-free, handmade in the UK and housed in 100% recyclable packaging. Creating a positive environmental impact is at the heart of what they do and by reusing would-be waste ingredients, they have already saved 80 tonnes of coffee grounds from going to landfill.

We hope you enjoyed the latest instalment of our SDG series. If you would like to know more, we recommend checking out the UN SDG website where you can discover more about each individual goals objectives or why not go back to the start of our series and find out more about our social venture partners working towards these goals right now. 

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