Springer Nature Group to fund the planting of 10,000 trees in support of sustainable development goals after reaching one million OA milestone
London | New York | Berlin, 7 December 2021
To celebrate becoming the first to publish one million Open Access (OR) articles, research and education publisher Springer Nature has announced it will fund the planting of 10,000 trees – one for every employee - over the next year, in the Khasi Hills in Northeast India.
The commitment, which was chosen to reflect the importance of sustainability to Springer Nature, will be delivered in partnership with C Level and the Synjuk (federation) of ten indigenous Khasi communities. The Synjuk has already engaged 84 villages within a successful project certified by Plan Vivo, the leading standard for community projects that seek to restore and protect ecosystems.
OA and open research are key to Springer Nature’s objectives: to facilitate greater access to knowledge and learning, which are essential in tackling global challenges and achieving the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs). In recognition of reaching the important OA milestone, the company has chosen to invest directly in a project working to improve biodiversity, address localised impacts of climate change and build sustainable communities.
The cloud forests of Meghalaya, home to the Khasi people, are under threat from rapid deforestation, consequently endangering tree species, household livelihoods and releasing substantial quantities of carbon.
The project will address deforestation and biodiversity loss but also the poverty facing rural families by working with the ten indigenous Khasi governments in villages across the region. Indigenous tree species, grown in community tree-seedling nurseries run by local women, will be planted as a special initiative within the larger project in the Khasi Hills, India’s first community-based REDD+ programme (the UN’s programme to guide sustainable forestry).
Commenting on the commitment, Frank Vrancken Peeters, CEO of Springer Nature said:
“Reaching the important milestone of one million open access articles is testament to the hard work of everyone across our business who has put in so much effort to bring us this far and so we are delighted to plant a tree for each of our approximately 10,000 staff in recognition of their work and our collective ambition to create a more sustainable future. Around 20% of our workforce are based in India, so we are delighted to support a project in such a beautiful part of the country.
"We are committed to supporting the SDGs through our publishing activity. More than half of our published content related to the goals is open access and we expect that proportion to grow. We also want to learn from the research we publish and act on it. In this project our aim is to support climate action, biodiversity and the Khasi communities.”
Tambor Lyngdoh, Conservation Director, Khasi Hills, REDD+ programme commented:
“Planting trees helps restore our traditional community forests for the Khasi people and contributes to slowing climate change. The birds and wildlife return, our streams run clear, and the trees and forest brings us new hope for the future.
“The Khasi Hills are a unique place in North East India where ancient beliefs of the value of nature and wildlife are woven into the communities that live here. We are hopeful that this new partnership will develop and bring renewed support, energy and passion for protecting this special place and preventing further consequences of climate change.”
Note to Editors:
1. You can find out more about the Khasi Hills project, including how it relates to the sustainable development goals here. You can also watch a short introductory film about the whole Khasi Hills project here.
Further project details are as follows:
- 10,000 saplings will be planted as future ‘mother trees’ as seed sources to contribute to a sustainable, long-term reforested habitat. The trees will be endemic varieties (localised) keystone species such as Chestnut, Oak, and Champaka which have high value for biodiversity and wildlife.
- Specific techniques will be used to enhance sustainability and longevity. The project benefits from high quality monitoring on biodiversity and community benefits.
- Implementation of the planting will be through women’s microfinance groups over the course of 2022.
2. The project has been developed in partnership with C Level and their Wild Aligned programme. Springer Nature has worked with C Level since 2019 to identify projects that support its aim to be carbon balanced. Via C Level, the Khasi Hill community project will report on planting and related community activities. You can find out more about C Level here.
Daren Howarth, C Level Founder commented:
“If you want to plant trees, to restore forest, there is no better way to do this than with communities who are already restoring forests through the Plan Vivo pro-nature pro-people system. The Khasi Hills project is inspirational. Living in the mountainous state of Meghalaya, meaning ‘abode of the clouds’, the Khasi people have one of the strongest matrilineal cultures remaining and a network of sacred forest groves.”
3. Key statistics related to Springer Nature’s Open Access:
- The research has collectively been downloaded 2.6 billion times since 2016.
- The articles have been downloaded in virtually every country in the world, and even in Antarctica.
- Over half of content (54%) related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is published OA compared to 25% of all content. SDG research published OA is also downloaded and cited more than non-SDG content published OA.
4. Springer Nature has made significant progress since 2017 when the company first started reporting on its environmental and social performance. This includes:
- Becoming carbon neutral in its direct operations in 2020.
- Reducing energy use and purchasing green electricity for offices around the world.
- Minimising plastic wrapping of its products.
- Establishing an internal ‘Green Office Network’ of more than 120 colleagues in 12 countries.
- First publisher to sign up to The Climate Pledge, and committed to setting Science Based Targets as part of the Business Ambition for 1.5oC.
More on Springer Nature’s approach to climate action and the development of the group-wide sustainability team can be found here.
About Springer Nature Group
For over 175 years Springer Nature has been advancing discovery by providing the best possible service to the whole research community. We help researchers uncover new ideas, make sure all the research we publish is significant, robust and stands up to objective scrutiny, that it reaches all relevant audiences in the best possible format, and can be discovered, accessed, used, re-used and shared. We support librarians and institutions with innovations in technology and data; and provide quality publishing support to societies.
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Maeve Dunne | Senior Communications Officer, Sustainability | Springer Nature