Forests cover nearly one-third of the Earth’s surface and are key to combating climate change, protecting biodiversity, and food security and shelter. When we protect the forests, we strengthen natural resource management, increase land productivity and help to mitigate climate risk.

Despite the essential nature of forests, thirteen million hectares of trees are lost each year, and degradation of drylands has led to the desertification of 3.6 billion hectares. Biodiversity is at extreme risk, and deforestation and desertification of land caused by human activity pose major challenges to sustainable development. The lives and livelihoods of millions of people depend on the preservation of these key ecological spaces.

Efforts are being made to manage forests and prevent increased desertification, including international agreements to promote the equitable use of natural resources. But more financial investments in support of biodiversity need to be made.

Forest Loss & Biomass Stock Per Hectare

The net loss of forest continues to slow and forest biomass stock per hectare is stable. More forests are being protected and areas under long-term management plans and voluntary certification have increased. From 2010 to 2015, the annual net loss of forest area globally was less than half that of the 1990s. The proportion of land area covered by forest decreased from 31.6 per cent in 1990 to 30.8 per cent in 2010 and 30.6 per cent in 2015.

Protected Land & Biodiversity Hot-Spots

Fifteen per cent of land is currently under protection, but that does not cover all areas important for biodiversity. Protecting key biodiversity areas is necessary to strengthen natural resource management and biodiversity conservation. From 2000 to 2017, average worldwide coverage of terrestrial, freshwater and mountain key biodiversity areas by protected areas increased from 35 per cent to 47 per cent, from 32 per cent to 43 per cent and from 39 per cent to 49 per cent, respectively.

As of 2017, 76 per cent of the world’s mountain areas are covered by some form of green vegetation, including forests, shrubs, grasses and crops. Green cover on mountains is lowest in Central Asia (31 per cent) and highest in Oceania (excluding Australia and New Zealand) (98 per cent).

Agricultural Productivity Trends

From 1998 to 2013, about one fifth of the Earth’s land surface covered by vegetation showed persistent and declining trends in productivity. South America and Africa are most affected; in some cases, advanced stages of land degradation there are leading to desertification in dryland areas, particularly in the grasslands and rangelands. Land and soil degradation undermine the security and development of all countries. Reversing the effects of land degradation and desertification through sustainable land management is key to improving the lives and livelihoods of more than 1 billion people currently under threat.

Biodiversity Loss, Poaching & Extinction Risks

Biodiversity loss continues at an alarming rate according to the Red List Index. The extinction risk for corals is increasing most rapidly among all assessed species groups owing to the growing threat from climate change and local impacts. Chytrid fungal disease, another grave concern, is decimating many amphibian species and increasing their risk of extinction.

Wildlife poaching and trafficking continues to thwart conservation efforts. Illicit wildlife markets are complex and subject to rapid fluctuations. Demand for a given wildlife product can grow quickly, before the international community can react. In 2013, elephant ivory, rosewood and rhinoceros horn comprised over 60 per cent of total wildlife and timber product seizures.

The global community is committed to conserving biodiversity. Two international agreements aim at sharing the benefits from using genetic resources in a fair and equitable way. As of April 2017, 144 countries ratified the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and 96 countries ratified the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization.


The Land Is Our Foundation

Land is the foundation of our societies. It is the engine of economic growth. We build our homes on land, transport goods by rail across the land, we grow our food on it. It filters our water and brings it to our taps. Why then do we take land for granted? SDG 15 calls for the protection, restoration and sustainable management of land-based ecosystems.

The Amazing Potential Of Forests

Did you know that a single tree can remove over a ton of CO2 from the atmosphere in its lifetime?  1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihood, yet we still lose 140 football fields-worth of forest area every minute. Planting indigenous species of trees can transform ecosystems, building resilience against climate change and regenerate the land.

Technology To Protect Endangered Species

Information and communication technologies accelerate progress towards each SDG. Satellite tracking collars can help rangers with wildlife protection programs monitor critical species like the rhinoceros and patrol the areas they are in for dangers like poachers.


Business and ecosystems are linked. Companies affect and are affected by ecosystems because they rely on both the natural resources and regulatory services such as flood control that ecosystems provide.

The long-term consequences of land degradation is felt globally and on a scale that impacts business – presenting both risks and opportunities. In order to ensure long-term economic growth, the sustainable management of land is necessary. The private sector can measure and mitigate its impact and dependence on the land and ecosystems, and employ strategies to incentivize sustainable land use and responsible resource management. The restoration of degraded land will require a scale-up of research and innovation, and investments in policies and infrastructure. Retaining consumer loyalty while promoting sustainability is also key.

GRI, UNGC Release 'Practical Guide' for Companies to Report Their Impact on the SDGs

Many companies already act and report on climate change, water management and labor conditions. This guide can help companies take stock of their current actions and discover additional priorities to contribute to achieving the SDGs (read more).

KPMG: How to Report on the SDGs & Global Goals

4 in 10 of the world’s largest companies already reference the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in their corporate reporting, suggesting that business interest in the SDGs has grown quickly since their launch in September 2015 (read more).

Project Breakthrough: Growing The Businesses of Tomorrow

If we are going to achieve a sustainable future, as outlined by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the role of business will be critical. In fact, if viewed in the right way, achieving the SDGs presents huge market opportunities for businesses (read more).


1) Media Package

  1. Program Photographs & Illustrations (Max. 10 Images)
  2. Detailed Project Description (Max. 500 Words)
  3. Optional: URL/Link to Supporting Video

2) Financial & Strategic

In order to determine financial performance & potential for scalability, please answer the following questions:

  1. Please describe how the SDG business initiative is linked to your company’s core competency/competencies.
  2. Please provide an overview of the business case associated with your SDG business initiative.
  3. Please provide evidence of planned program expansion over the coming quarters and/or fiscal years.

3) Magnetism & Inspiration

How has your business initiative been a source of magnetism and inspiration? Please provide examples of your company’s  influence on each of the following:

  1. Industry Impact
  2. Corporate Culture
  3. Key Stakeholder Groups

SDG #15 - Life On Land - The Global SDG Awards

4) SDG Impact Metrics

What progress has your organization made towards achieving SDG #15? Please select and provide one (or more) supporting metrics to help evaluate your environmental impacts (see below for a list of possible options to select from).

Please describe how has your company has:

  • Increased forests under sustainable management via certification and/or the deployment of innovative technology (i.e. –increasing forest area/coverage, restoring degraded forests, and/or reforesting areas previously affected by deforestation). Please provide details regarding: approximate increase in the total # of trees, increases in forest area in km2, and/or observed increases in biodiversity, etc.
  • Reduced desertification and/or land degradation via the deployment of innovative technology (i.e. –halting desertification, improving soil quality for drought resilience, converting arid land into fertile soil, etc). Please provide details regarding: the type of land improvement & the total area affected in km2.
  • Reduced illegal logging via the deployment of innovative technology to increase forest product traceability (i.e. –RFID, blockchain, barcode, etc). Please provide details regarding: total # of unique items tracked, estimated % reduction in supply chain contamination, etc.
  • Addressed the principal drivers and impacts of terrestrial biodiversity loss (i.e. -habitat destruction, overharvesting, pollution, illegal poaching, etc).
  • Other KPI (please insert and describe).


OPTIONAL: Please provide a description/overview of 3rd party assurances relating to the verification of the metrics and figures provided above.


SDG #1 - No Poverty - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #2 - Zero Hunger - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #3 - Good Health & Well-Being - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #4 - Quality Education - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #5 - Gender Equality - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #6 - Clean Water & Sanitation - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #7 - Affordable & Clean Energy - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #8 - Decent Work & Economic Growth - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #9 - Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #10 - Reduced Inequalities - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #11 - Sustainable Cities & Communities - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #12 - Responsible Consumption & Production - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #13 - Climate Action - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #14 - Life Below Water - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #15 - Life On Land - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #16 - Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions - The Global SDG Awards
SDG #17 - Partnerships For The Goals - The Global SDG Awards