We’ve concluded the reforestation works in Sierra Bermeja, Málaga, as part of our Green Helmets project with CIFAL Málaga-UNITAR (the United Nations Institute for Training and Research). This is an educational initiative designed to teach young people in Spain how to develop and implement sustainability projects that contribute to the recovery and protection of nature.
Since November 2023, more than 2,500 volunteers have planted 20,000 trees and distributed more than 26,000 seeds following the Japanese method “Nendo Dango”, which consists of seeds rolled within a ball of clay to assist germination, and is described as one of the most effective techniques to restore nature in fire-devastated areas. Additionally, more than 400,000 seeds were distributed with drones in difficult-to-access areas. The reforestation works have taken place in a 500-hectare area that had been devastated by fire in 2021, with local species such as the cork oak, the melojo, the gall oak, and the black pine.
The Green Helmets project, financed by Amazon’s Right Now Climate Fund - Amazon’s commitment to conserve, restore and improve nature and biodiversity in communities where Amazon operates – is the first of its kind in Spain.
Ten nature-based projects to be developed in Andalusia over the next three months
In addition to the reforestation project in Sierra Bermeja, the Green Helmets initiative includes an online learning platform developed by CIFAL Málaga-UNITAR, focusing on skills and environmental practices linked to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The course offers specific content for students from the fifth year of primary school to the second year of their baccalaureates, enabling them to learn about the creation, implementation, running and reporting of nature-based projects.
Since the launch of the project in April 2023, over 4,000 students from 60 schools in Andalusia have completed the training and submitted their ideas to implement nature-based projects in collaboration with local NGOs. A total of ten projects have been selected by an expert committee formed by members of CIFAL Málaga – UNITAR, Amazon, and the Andalusian Government. The projects include creating nests for birds in urban areas, cleaning works on beaches and rivers, creating seed banks and pollinator plants, reforesting burned areas, and launching a rainwater collection system, among others. The schools will receive financing from Amazon’s Right Now Climate Fund to develop the projects in the region in the first quarter of 2024.
The projects were recognised at an event attended by Minister of Economy, Finance and European Funds of the Regional Government of Andalusia, Carolina España; the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Nikhil Seth; the Mayor of Malaga, Francisco de la Torre; and VP and Country Manager of Amazon for Spain and Italy, Mariangela Marseglia.
“Through our collaboration with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, we are committing resources to empower future generations, transforming young individuals into proactive contributors equipped with the skills to combat the climate crisis, and building a more promising future for everyone,” said Mariangela Marseglia, Amazon Country Manager for Spain and Italy. “We are thrilled to see the results of the Green Helmets programme and will keep on working and innovating to address the environmental and social challenges that our customers and communities face.”
For the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Nikhil Seth, the Green Helmets initiative is a practical example of the implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, as is Amazon’s commitment to training, environmental protection, regeneration of degraded areas and community involvement. "We’re at a critical time to care for the environment. We are seeing the adverse effects of climate change, so initiatives like this fill us with hope," he said.
Déborah Salafranca, Manager of CIFAL Málaga, emphasised that this project is a clear example of the need for public-private collaboration to continue advancing in sustainability: "For CIFAL Málaga it is an honour to have had the collaboration of Amazon and the Junta de Andalucía to develop a project of this magnitude, both in training and reforestation activities, in which more than 2,800 volunteers have participated," she said.
Carolina España, Minister of Economy, Finance and European Funds of the Regional Government of Andalusia, congratulated the selected schools and highlighted the Green Helmets project: "Today we’re congratulating Málaga and Andalusia with the first stage of Green Helmets. An initiative that has managed to unite thousands of people in our region for the noble cause of sustainability. I’m grateful to the ten Andalusian schools and congratulate them on their outstanding microprojects, which are the essence of this action.”
In September 2021, Amazon announced that we will invest €20 million from our $100m Right Now Climate Fund to nature-based projects across Europe, in addition to the work the company is doing to decarbonise our business. To date, these projects include a nature and wildlife restoration fund in France, a reforestation programme in Italy, an urban greening programme in Germany, a rewilding and tree planting project in the UK, the world’s first commercial-scale seaweed farm located between offshore wind turbines off the coast of the Netherlands, and a blanket bog restoration project in Ireland.
Additionally, Amazon has funded forest conservation and restoration in the Appalachian Mountains in the United States, the Agroforestry and Restoration Accelerator programme in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest, and Amazon is a key member of the LEAF Coalition, a new global public-private initiative to mobilise at least $1 billion to protect the world's tropical rainforests. Amazon has also allocated $15 million for nature-based projects in the Asia-Pacific region, with $3 million dedicated to India-based projects, including planting 300,000 trees in the Western Ghats.
Amazon is the co-founder of and the first signatory to The Climate Pledge, a commitment to reach net-zero carbon by 2040. More than 460 signatories in 58 sectors and 41 countries – 25 of which are in Spain - are working together on initiatives to preserve nature and invest in decarbonisation technologies. As part of our commitment, Amazon is on a path to reaching 100% renewable energy across our operations by 2025. We also continue to transform our transportation network, by adding alternative modes of transportation such as electric vans, cargo bikes, and scooters; and we continue to innovate and invest in technologies, processes, and materials to reduce packaging waste – which have helped reduce the weight of outbound packaging per shipment by 41% and avoided more than 2 million tons of packaging material since 2015.
Read more about Amazon’s support for nature-based solutions here.