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Public-private partnerships essential in the fight against climate change

Public-private partnerships are one of the best ways to ensure the success of projects that aim to combat climate change and, at the same time, guarantee the sustainability of economic activity.

The strength of this union is evident in reforestations such as the one carried out on land belonging to the Portuguese state-owned company Companhia das Lezírias (CL) in collaboration with the Dutch textile distribution group C&A and organised by the Life Terra Foundation, which promotes the planting of 500 million trees in the European Union, one for every inhabitant.

  • With the participation of fifty C&A employees from Portugal and Spain, led by the company's general manager in Iberia, William Laufs, 1,350 native species were planted in the metropolitan area of Lisbon to make the forest more resilient to climate change and reinforce the biodiversity of the area.

Being able to remain the guardians of the forest

"Sustainability is part of our DNA, it is a value that has always been with us and on which our actions are based (...). Hosting this type of event makes perfect sense for us", said the financial director and co-administrator of CL, Georgete Felix, who explained that they manage 20,000 hectares, most of which are dedicated to agriculture and forestry production.

Promoting forests and their capacity as carbon sinks is of the utmost importance in times of emissions compensation, according to Felix, who pointed out that doing so while preserving biodiversity and generating economic returns allows them to ensure that they will continue to be the "guardians" of this natural wealth, according to the director.

This maxim is part of CL's mission as a company and as a public service, which also involves the development of research on environmental conservation, Félix stressed during the planting.

Giving back to the environment and teamwork

"Sustainability is part of our core values. Thirty years ago, very close to here in Cascais, we opened our first shop in Portugal and we believe that the best way to celebrate is to do something for the environment in a sustainable way," said Laufs.

And, in his opinion, there is no better way to do it than with their own hands, in direct contact with nature and involving office and shop workers who "interact with our customers every day".

"It's very comforting to do something like this. I'd love to do this again and I'm going to involve more people because it's not only a wonderful way to give back to the environment, but it's also a way to build team spirit," said the executive, hoe in hand.

For Carla, a C&A office worker in Portugal, taking part in the planting was a fantastic experience that she hopes to repeat.

"I really enjoyed being able to contribute with my colleagues to help the planet. All companies should do a little bit in this direction because together we can all make a difference," she said

"After 36 years in the company, I am still excited to come to all these events. Coming to Portugal to share this experience with my shop colleagues (...) was wonderful and I would undoubtedly repeat it a thousand times", said Menchu, from C&A's financial department in Madrid.

Among those attending the planting, the Dutch ambassador to Portugal, Nienke Trooster, stressed the importance of public, private and civil collaboration to meet the challenge of protecting the environment, combating pollution and generating income and business in a responsible manner.

The reforestation, carried out on the Charneca do Infantado estate with cork oaks, pines, brakes and white and black willows, is part of the objective of CL, one of Portugal's largest landowners, to increase the resilience of native species to the effects of climate change and to boost local biodiversity.

Life Terra, co-financed with European funds under the Life programme, is one of the largest climate action projects in the European Union. 

Read original article (in Spanish)

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