In recent years, it has become increasingly common to find companies committed to caring for the environment. Few of them, however, show the level of commitment shown by Novartis, which for more than 10 years has been working on a forestry project aimed at capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Santo Domingo is the first and only forestry project in Argentina to certify the capture of carbon dioxide under the clean development mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol. And together with the other three sustainable forestry projects of the Novartis Group in the world – located in Colombia, Mali and China – it represents the main axis of the company’s environmental and social responsibility policy.
Since the beginning of the afforestation program in Santo Domingo, Novartis planted more than 3.5 million trees of more than 20 different species that managed to reduce 500 thousand tons of carbon dioxide. This is equivalent to that produced by 140,000 cars on average in a year.
In 2017 alone, Novartis allocated $8.4 million to the thinning activities of the plantation to leave the best specimens of each area. Thanks to projects of this type, Novartis was the second most sustainable company in the world according to the UN Commitment to Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 100 Report.
Santo Domingo, located in the town of Ituzaingó, Corrientes, has 3400 hectares. Of these, 2340 form the forest plantation, designed to respond to the problem of climate change, caused mainly by deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels.
Germán Rossi, Regional Manager of Health, Safety and Environment for the Commercial Operations area of the company, explains that the environmental commitment adopted by Novartis has escalated to become part of the company’s DNA globally. “There is a real commitment to be a sustainable company in the long term, and concrete actions have been taken to comply with it,” he says. And exemplifies: “In the United States an agreement was signed a few years ago so that all the energy they use within the company comes from sustainable sources.”
That is why Rossi says that, for a professional in the care of the environment, health and safety, as is his case, “more than peace of mind, it is an honor to work in a company like Novartis, which takes care of people and the environment in which it is immersed.”
For Sebastián Fragni, president of GMF Latinoamericana, “Santo Domingo is a constant challenge”. And he explains: “In these more than 10 years we have managed to develop know-how and forestry techniques without precedents in our country, that allowed us to value resources that until recently were not taken into account, such as carbon sequestration and its benefits for the environment and especially for the mitigation of climate change “.
“At GMF Latinoamericana, as a B Company, we are convinced that projects like Santo Domingo are the computers of the new world economy that demands sustainable business models economically, socially and environmentally. Therefore, projects like Novartis, which a decade ago were presented as disruptive, are today examples of how the way of doing business is changing in the world, where shareholders not only measure the economic benefits, but also report the benefits in social and environmental issues in the same way, “adds Fragni.
Finally, the president of GMF Latin America says that “for its commitment to this type of long-term projects, Novartis is at the forefront of sustainable development in Argentina, where sometimes the long term is difficult to conceive.”