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Novartis marks its eighth year in Sichuan

By Huang Zhiling | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-12-20 21:51
View of a signboard of Novartis Pharmaceuticals (China) in Shanghai, July 9, 2014. [Photo / IC]

Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis on Tuesday held a seminar to review progress of its ongoing carbon-sink forestry project in Sichuan province.

The seminar highlighted how businesses can contribute to sustainable development by tackling climate change.

Present at the meeting were Frank Eggmann, Swiss consul-general in Chengdu; Liu Hongbao, director-general of the Sichuan Forestry and Grassland Administration; Yang Chunping, a researcher with the Institute of Economic System and Management of the National Development and Reform Commission, and Chen Xiaojing, vice president of Novartis Group (China).

Following similar carbon-sink projects in Argentina and Mali, Novartis in 2010 brought the carbon offset project to the Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture in Sichuan.

The project is located at the heart of biodiversity hotspots of the region, home to habitats of the giant panda and other endangered species.

When the project was launched, the area comprised mostly degraded land, the result of indiscriminate logging that took place between the 1950s and 1980s, and had yet to be reforested.

With the implementation of the project, between 2011 and 2018, 21 million trees, including fir, spruce, and pinus armandii, have been planted on 4,095 hectares of deforested mountainsides.

The project, designed to absorb 1.2 million tons of carbon dioxide over the next 30 years, has already paid dividends since launch.

The trees planted are flourishing, the vegetative cover has been gradually restored, and biodiversity has been significantly restored.

"The Novartis carbon-sink forestry project in Sichuan is the first carbon-sink forestry project carried out in direct collaboration with a multinational company in  China," said Liu Hongbao, director-general of the Sichuan Forestry and Grassland Administration.

"It is also the biggest carbon-sink forestry project in Sichuan. The project has offered us innovative ways of using targeted, poverty-relief measures to help people lift themselves out of poverty and improve their standard of living. Related technical integration and demonstration projects have also been launched this year in the context of the Novartis carbon-sink Project, which are expected to serve as templates for the development of the green and low carbon economy," he said.

"A further 30-50 years of careful forest management is needed for the Novartis carbon-sink forestry project in Sichuan to make its full impact," said Chen Xiaojing, vice president of Novartis Group (China).

"It therefore requires the concerted efforts of everyone involved to see this project through to a successful completion. Novartis is willing to join hands with the government and society in contributing to sound environmental stewardship. This is a part of the Novartis' environment sustainability agenda and its long-standing commitment to China," she said.

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