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Unilever takes on the desert in Tibet

By Zhu Wenqian and Zheng Yiran | China Daily | Updated: 2017-10-12 07:10

A major consumer goods powerhouse has spent seven years planting more than 10,000 mu (667 hectares) of grassland in Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region. This is a world record for a company involved in cultivating grasslands.

Ever since 2011, Lux - a brand under Unilever PLC, the world's second-largest consumer goods maker by capitalization - has been conducting a charity program to plant grassland in the Tibet autonomous region, in an effort to combat land desertification.

Dr Wu Junxi, with the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, who is in charge of the program, said that "with its 2,150 mu planted in Bailang village this year, the pasture area contributed by Lux surpassed 10,000 mu, which benefited a lot to the building and recovery of the ecosystem in the Tibet autonomous region."

Official statistics have shown that there is up to 88.2 million hectares of grassland in the Tibet autonomous region, among which 23.5 million hectares are degraded, taking up 26.7 percent of the total area.

To tackle the problem, Lux joined hands with China Environmental Protection Foundation, making its own commitments to protect the local environment.

"The artificial grassland donated by the company adds up to 300 to 600 kilograms of hay every year, which saves the carbon emission by 11,100 to 22,200 metric tons, greatly benefiting the ecosystem in the local area.

Besides, the pasture offers herdsmen with abundant nutrition-rich forage. Incomplete statistics demonstrated that the charity project ... (aids) 2,655 farmers," Wu said.

Xu Guang, secretary-general of China Environmental Protection Foundation, said the ecology of the Tibet autonomous region has been catching the attention of governments at all levels for years.

"The grassland planting project launched by Lux has gathered all social forces, pushing the Tibet autonomous region a giant step toward ecological balance. We hope that through the project, more and more enterprises could get involved, to promote the charity project in a broader and deeper span," Xu said.

"Commercial enterprises can take a lead in charity undertakings," said Zhao Wenfeng, marketing director of personal-cleansing products at Unilever PLC.

"Through this charity project in the Tibet autonomous region, we have discovered an optimized pattern for conducting public welfare. Commercial power, as the 'third pole' of charity, will reinforce cooperation with all works of life to build an open charity platform, integrating all types of resources to contribute to charity."

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