AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Coca-Cola Foundation, Silk (a Danone North America brand), Google, Meta, and Microsoft are coming together to collaboratively invest $972,000 to restore 2,000 acres of longleaf pine forest on private lands in Trinity County, Texas. Coordinated by the Texas Longleaf Team, with support from Texan by Nature, the restoration will entail managing and removing invasive plants, conducting prescribed fire, and planting approximately 100,000 Longleaf Pine seedlings over the course of five to ten years to create a healthy Longleaf Pine ecosystem that will filter and store freshwater, sequester carbon, support biodiversity, and benefit the community.
“At Meta, we are committed to creating a positive impact in the communities where we operate. This project will play an important role in water conservation and improving water quality in the Trinity River watershed,” said Stefanie Woodward, Water Stewardship Lead at Meta. “We are proud to continue our partnership with Texan by Nature as part of our goal to be Water Positive in 2030, aligning our efforts to bolster this restoration initiative to enrich the region for decades to come.”
“As we work to make progress against our commitment to replenish more than we consume by 2030, we are looking to collaborate with local stakeholders on impactful projects that align with local needs,” said Eliza Roberts, Water Lead, Microsoft. “The Texas Longleaf team is leading critical work to restore this Longleaf Pine forest in Trinity County, which will provide clean air, water and economic benefits to communities in Texas.”
This investment is a result of project matching through the Texas Water Action Collaborative (TxWAC) and collaboration with Bonneville Environmental Foundation, through their Business for Water Stewardship program. Led by Texan by Nature, TxWAC is a coalition of industry, nonprofit, and governmental organizations established in 2021 to increase investments in efforts that yield positive returns for Texas’ water resources.
“The Texas Longleaf Team is honored to serve as a conduit for these companies as they seek to achieve their sustainability goals in Southeast Texas,” says Jenny Sanders, Coordinator at Texas Longleaf Team. “The Longleaf ecosystem is one of the most biologically diverse and ecologically important systems on earth and its benefits - from water to carbon, biodiversity, community, culture, and more - will leave a legacy for the companies who invest in its restoration long into the future.”
Range-wide, Longleaf Pine once spanned from Virginia to Florida, and westward into East Texas, with the range covering nearly 90 million acres at the time of European colonization. Only 3 million acres remain standing today, with approximately 60,000 acres remaining in Texas. The Texas Longleaf Team was organized in 2010 to promote the restoration of this historic Longleaf Pine ecosystem on private and public forestlands in Southeast Texas.
The value of ecosystem forest restoration projects, much like the roots of the longleaf pine, extends beyond just a tree in the ground. When businesses and charitable organizations invest in local conservation projects, the returns are reaped by both people and the planet in the form of ecosystem services, jobs created, costs avoided, education received, and more.
“Investments in local conservation have global impact and should play a critical role in corporate ESG strategy and corporate philanthropy,” says Joni Carswell, CEO at Texan by Nature. “This type of project and investment practice is scalable and beneficial to our natural resources, health, and economy for years to come.”
Longleaf pine is exceptionally beneficial for our water resources as it provides both an open canopy and diverse understory ecosystem that work in parallel to recycle and filter water that passes through it. Researchers believe that longleaf pine filters and captures water more efficiently than other southern pine species due to its maintained native grass savannah. Through this project environmental monitoring data will be collected to bolster existing research.
The primary benefit driving this investment is water. Through restoration of the 2,000 acres, increased water filtration is projected to provide over 200 million gallons per year for 8-12 years. Investing companies may choose to claim this benefit in support of their water goals and strategies.
About Texas Longleaf Team:
Texas Longleaf Team (TLT) shares their passion for restoration of the longleaf ecosystem in Texas through landowner and industry outreach and education, technical support, and cost-share programs that assist landowners in implementation of prescribed fire, planting and other beneficial management practices. The mission of TLT is to promote the maintenance and restoration of the longleaf pine ecosystem on private and public forestlands, including its cultural and economic values, through a collaborative network of diverse stakeholders and working groups. Learn more about the longleaf pine on the Texas Longleaf Landscapes Story Map and Texas Longleaf Team website.
About Texan by Nature:
Texan by Nature (TxN) unites conservation and business leaders who believe Texas’ prosperity is dependent on the conservation of its natural resources. TxN, founded by former First Lady Laura Bush, acts as an accelerator for conservation groups and a strategic partner for business. TxN supports 140+ conservation organizations and has accelerated projects and programs that have impacted 7 million-plus people, 20 million acres, and all of Texas’ 254 counties. Get involved and learn more at www.texanbynature.org and follow us on Facebook @TexanbyNature, Twitter @TexanbyNature, and Instagram @texanbynature for the latest.
About Bonneville Environmental Foundation:
BEF is the most trusted, knowledgeable, and proactive partner on water projects in the U.S. Our Business for Water Stewardship™ team unlocks collective corporate action to accelerate real, measurable, and lasting solutions for water, nature, and business. Learn more and join us today at https://www.b-e-f.org/programs/business-for-water-stewardship/
About The Coca-Cola Foundation
The Coca-Cola Foundation is the global charitable arm of The Coca-Cola Company. Its mission is to make a difference in communities around the world where The Coca-Cola Company operates and where our employees live and work. We support transformative ideas and institutions that address complex global challenges and that leave a measurable and lasting impact. Our giving is focused on sustainable access to safe water, climate resilience and disaster risk preparedness and response, circular economy, economic empowerment, and causes impacting our hometown community. Since its inception in 1984, The Coca-Cola Foundation has awarded grants of over $1.5 billion in service of its mandate to strengthen communities across the world.
Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. Through products and platforms like Search, Maps, Gmail, Android, Google Play, Google Cloud, Chrome and YouTube, Google plays a meaningful role in the daily lives of billions of people and has become one of the most widely-known companies in the world. Google is a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc.
With roots in Boulder since 1977, Silk believes in the power of plants to do a world of good, so people can enjoy good, feel good and do good. That's why Silk is of the land and for the land, creating better plant possibilities for all. We've got the know-how on how good plant-based can be, and that's why we keep creating better food options that everyone can enjoy. Today, we offer a broad portfolio of great-tasting plant-based options, including almondmilk, Nextmilk™, oatmilk, soymilk, cashewmilk, coconutmilk, dairy-free coffee creamers, and dairy-free yogurt alternatives. Connect with Silk online at Silk.com and @Silk.
About Danone North America
Danone North America is a purpose-driven company and an industry leader in the food and beverage category. As a Certified B Corporation®, Danone North America is committed to the creation of both economic and social value, while nurturing natural ecosystems through sustainable agriculture. Our strong portfolio of brands includes: Activia®, DanActive®, Danimals®, Dannon®, evian®, Happy Family® Organics, Honest to Goodness®, Horizon® Organic, International Delight®, Light + Fit®, Oikos®, Silk®, So Delicious® Dairy Free, STōK®, Two Good®, Wallaby® Organic and YoCrunch®. With more than 6,000 employees and 16 production locations across the U.S. and Canada, Danone North America's mission is to bring health through food to as many people as possible. For more information, visit www.danonenorthamerica.com/. For more information on Danone North America's B Corp™ status, visit: https://www.bcorporation.net/en-us/find-a-b-corp/company/danone-north-america.
Meta builds technologies that help people connect, find communities, and grow businesses. When Facebook launched in 2004, it changed the way people connect. Apps like Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp further empowered billions around the world. Now, Meta is moving beyond 2D screens toward immersive experiences like augmented and virtual reality to help build the next evolution in social technology.