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Zurich sponsors reforestation project in Brazil

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Zurich will sponsor an eight-year reforestation project in Brazil to convert barren farmland back into native forest.

The project will plant a million trees in recognition of the importance of healthy ecosystems in the fight against climate change and the devastating effects of biodiversity loss.

Brazil’s Atlantic Forest will be restored with native trees in collaboration with non-profit Instituto Terra. A tree will be planted for each of Zurich’s 55,000 employees, with the remainder available to customers through offers to plant trees when they purchase insurance policies.

“Tree planting can be a powerful tool for curbing climate change and preserving the variety of animals, plants and ecosystems we have on our planet,” Zurich’s CEO Europe, Middle East & Africa Alison Martin said. “We are contributing to an aspect of climate change mitigation that is often overlooked: biodiversity.”

Zurich was the first insurer to sign the UN Business Ambition for 1.5°C Pledge, and says the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the significance of biodiversity. If ecosystems deteriorate, the natural barriers between humans and disease break down.

The trees will recreate a self-sustaining subtropical forest on land in Minas Gerais province that was cleared for cattle farming last century, with up to 120 different species of tree on 700 hectares of land. Just 7% of Brazil’s original Atlantic Forest remains.

Zurich has halved carbon dioxide emissions per employee since 2007 and has offset remaining emissions with carbon credits at the Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve in Borneo, making it a carbon-neutral business since 2014.