Inditex Donates €3 Million to The Great People’s Forest A Leading Environmental Restoration Project in South Asia

Focused on the preservation of the Eastern Himalayan region, a habitat to over one billion individuals and holding one-twelfth of the world’s biodiversity, Inditex has pledged €3 million to The Great People’s Forest initiative. This marks a significant step towards one of South Asia’s largest restoration endeavors, led by Conservation International alongside key organizations from Bhutan, India, and Bangladesh.

The objective of The Great People’s Forest is to safeguard and rejuvenate the Eastern Himalayan region, which encompasses diverse ecosystems and is crucial for global biodiversity, housing two biodiversity hotspots. The initiative aims to plant one billion trees and conserve one million hectares of land across the Eastern Himalayas, benefiting approximately one billion people reliant on this interconnected ecosystem. Among the founding partners of The Great People’s Forest are the Balipara Foundation, Friendship NGO, The Energy and Resources Institute, The Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, Bhutan Ecological Society, and Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation.

Spanning Northeast India, Bhutan, Nepal, and Bangladesh, the Eastern Himalayan region links the world’s tallest mountains, the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers, and the Sundarbans mangrove forest. Despite its ecological significance, the region faces pressing environmental and social challenges, with over one million people displaced annually due to extreme climate events and approximately 100,000 hectares of forest lost each year.

Dr. M. Sanjayan, CEO of Conservation International, highlighted the region’s importance and the ambitious goals of The Great People’s Forest, emphasizing the necessity of addressing transnational issues by integrating livelihoods, resource security, and conservation efforts.

Inditex’s CEO, Óscar García Maceiras, expressed pride in joining this initiative, emphasizing the company’s commitment to protecting biodiversity and combating climate change. Inditex aims to protect, restore, or regenerate five million hectares worldwide by 2030.

Inditex’s €3 million contribution will support various strategic initiatives under The Great People’s Forest, including coordinating with local organizations in India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal. Initial actions involve backing restoration and enterprise projects led by young leaders and local organizations, promoting regenerative farming, and supporting the protection and restoration of 60,000 hectares. Additionally, Inditex’s funding will facilitate scientific research and the development of an oversight framework to ensure evidence-based conservation and restoration efforts.

This partnership between Inditex and Conservation International reinforces their commitment to environmental conservation, building upon their earlier alliance in 2023 through the Regenerative Fund For Nature, which focuses on regenerative farming and breeding practices.

The funds contributed by Inditex are sourced from proceeds obtained by charging for paper bags and envelopes, a sustainability initiative launched in 2021. Further funds from this initiative will be directed towards environmental projects, including sanitation network improvements by Water.org in Southeast Asia and ecosystem recovery efforts in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America in collaboration with WWF.

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