AstraZeneca, a global biopharmaceutical company, has made a significant stride in its commitment to environmental sustainability and community resilience. The company’s flagship AZ Forest programme has pledged to plant up to six million trees in western Kenya, a project announced at COP28.
AZ Forest Programme: A Global Initiative
The AZ Forest programme is part of AstraZeneca’s broader commitment to plant and maintain more than 200 million trees across six continents by 2030. This initiative recognizes the strong connection between human and planetary health and aims to address it through large-scale reforestation.
Expanding Reforestation in Africa
The reforestation project in Kenya builds on AstraZeneca’s recently expanded African reforestation initiatives in Ghana and Rwanda. In Ghana, almost three million trees have been planted this year, taking the total to over four million since the project began in 2021. The project has engaged 1,200 farmers across 23 communities.
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In Rwanda, 6,000 farming households are signed up to the project, with 16 community nurseries established to grow a range of indigenous and fruit tree species. Planting is set to start in the coming months with a target to plant around 5.8 million trees across 21,000 hectares, in what is one of the largest forest restoration initiatives in Rwanda.
The Kenyan project will span six counties in the west of the country, adjacent to the Rift Valley, covering more than 3,500 hectares of land. The project will be amongst the first to use an advanced AI deep learning model to analyze drone footage and satellite imagery to monitor tree growth and health, while also quantifying levels of carbon sequestration.
Designed using a science-based approach and harnessing new technological innovations, the programme aims to promote long-term tree health, increase biodiversity of flora and fauna, and generate an economic boost for local communities. More than 5,000 local farmers and local community members will be engaged in the project.
A Commitment to Climate Action
“The link between planetary and human health is clear. Investing in our natural world through tree planting and conservation, and limiting deforestation, are some of the most effective preventative health steps we can take,” says Juliette White, Vice President Global Sustainability, AstraZeneca.