(Originally published on InspiredEconomist.com)
With funding from Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation, the Arbor Day Foundation is once again planting 1 million trees throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe this year. This is the tenth year in a row for Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) reforestation initiative, marking the tenth anniversary of its 50 Million Tree Pledge. One million dollars a year is being provided to plant one million trees, every year from 2006 to 2056.
So far, over 9 million trees have been planted through Enterprise’ unique CSR reforestation initiative. The 50 Million Tree Pledge is a unique public-private partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation, the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. National Park Service, Tree Canada, Trees Ontario, the U.K.’s Woodland Trust, and the German Forest Protection Association (Schutzgemeinschaft Deutscher Wald).
Using CSR to Strengthen the Link Between Forest and Water
Protecting the environment is often a strong focus of CSR initiatives. The Enterprise Foundation CSR initiative has not only benefitted regions in need of reforestation, but critical water resources that have been wiped out as a result of forest fires are also being restored. Although trees are often overlooked in our efforts to protect our water supply, over 180 million people a year get their drinking water from US forests. And with global warming-related droughts and water shortages expected to increase over the coming years, the need to protect these valuable watershed systems is urgent.
In Colorado, for example, the Enterprise CSR reforestation initiative has funded the planting of 860,000 trees in Pike National Forest over the course of three years. 20,000 more tree plantings are planned there for this year. In 2002, Pike National Forest was severely damaged by fire, dangerously impacting the health of the South Platte watershed, which supplies over 60% of Denver’s drinking water.
Speaking of its successful relationship with Enterprise, Arbor Day Foundation President Dan Lambe said, “We are now in the tenth year of this unprecedented partnership.” Stressing the link between forest and water supply, Lambe noted, “So far, the 10 million trees we’ve planted together have helped restore critical watersheds in California, Colorado, Florida, Canada, the U.K. and dozens of other forests here at home and around the globe.”
10M Trees = $27B in Environmental Benefits
Producing enough oxygen for up to 40 million people per day, 10 million trees can absorb more than 10 million pounds of carbon and provide an estimated $27 billion worth of environmental benefits in only ten years. Biodiversity is also a special focus, with over 50 different species of trees planted in over 15 states.
With over 80 reforestation projects supported through the 50 Million Tree Pledge, Enterprise will have cumulatively planted 10 million trees in forests across Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wyoming, Canada, Germany, the U.K., and Scotland by the end of 2015. An interactive map of the plantings is on Enterprise’s sustainability website, DrivingFutures.com.
One Million Trees For 2015
The Enterprise Rent-A-Car 50 Million Tree Pledge planting projects for 2015 include one million trees to be planted in the following locations:
• 250,000 trees in Bastrop State Park, Texas
• 200,000 trees in Huron-Manistee National Forests, Michigan
• 150,000 trees in Indian Lake State Forest, Florida
• 100,000 trees in Modoc National Forest, California
• 100,000 trees in Webb Wildlife Center, South Carolina
• 30,000 trees in Flight 93 Memorial, Pennsylvania
• 20,000 trees in Pike National Forest, Colorado
• 100,000 trees to the Woodland Trust in the United Kingdom, specifically in Pentlands, Edinburgh & Lothians, North Yorkshire, Northern Ireland and Wiltshire
• 40,000 trees in District of 100 Mile House, Canada
• 10,000 trees to Schutzgemeinschaft Deutscher Wald in Germany, specifically in Nordaschsen
2015 is the third year in a row that Enterprise employees have volunteered their time to help plant donated trees at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. A permanent, living tribute, the 2,200-acre Flight 93 National Memorial Park includes 40 groves of trees to commemorate the 40 men and women who lost their lives there on Sept. 11, 2001.
Named After the USS Enterprise
The 50 Million Tree Pledge CSR initiative was launched specifically to thank customers for their loyalty and long-term support for the Enterprise Rent-A-Car brand. Enterprise Rent-A-Car is named after the USS Enterprise, one of the most decorated warships in U.S. military history. It is one of the aircraft carriers on which Enterprise Rent-A-Car Founder Jack Taylor served as a U.S. Navy pilot during World War II.
Founded in 1957, Enterprise Rent-A-Car brand is now owned and operated by Enterprise Holdings, the world’s largest car rental company. The J.D. Power 2014 North American Rental Car Satisfaction StudySM named Enterprise the Highest-Ranked Car Rental Brand, and the company was ranked on BusinessWeek magazine’s annual list of “Customer Service Champs” for four years in a row.
With over 8,600 offices and 1.5 million vehicles throughout more than 70 countries and territories, Enterprise Rent-A-Car not only offers “short-term vehicle rentals for insurance replacement, weekend getaways, and special occasions, but also provides local transportation alternatives and Virtual Car® options. In addition, when severe weather strikes, the Enterprise neighborhood network plays an integral role in mobilizing local disaster recovery efforts of insurance providers, emergency response organizations and repair shops.”
Serving Generations to Come
Speaking of its CSR reforestation initiative, Enterprise President and CEO Pam Nicholson said, “We are proud to be part of a strategic international initiative like this, especially since it expresses our gratitude and appreciation for many years to come.” Nicholson also pointed out, “In addition, we’re maximizing the overall investment because Arbor Day Foundation’s reforestation plantings are professionally managed and thus have a higher-than-average survival rate.”
Approximately 20% of Arbor Day Foundation’s annual reforestation plantings for 2015 will come directly from funding provided by the Enterprise 50 Million Tree Pledge. “Through the next 40 years,” said Dan Lambe, president of Arbor Day Foundation, “thanks to the vision and commitment of Enterprise, the next 40 million trees will be planted wherever they will best serve people, our environment and water resources for generations to come.”
(Picture credits – Top: 10-year-old trees from Enterprise csr reforestation initiative. Bottom: Enterprise volunteers plant trees at Flight 93 Memorial Park in PA. Courtesy of Enterprise Holdings.)