Springer Nature Group to fund the planting of 10,000 trees in support of sustainable development goals after reaching one million Open Access articles milestone

To celebrate becoming the first to publish one million Open Access (OR) articles, research and education publisher Springer Nature has announced it will fund the planting of 10,000 trees – one for every employee – over the next year, in the Khasi Hills in Northeast India.

The commitment, which was chosen to reflect the importance of sustainability to Springer Nature, will be delivered in partnership with C Leveland the Synjuk (federation) of ten indigenous Khasi communities. The Synjuk has already engaged 84 villages within a successful project certified by Plan Vivo, the leading standard for community projects that seek to restore and protect ecosystems.

OA and open research are key to Springer Nature’s objectives: to facilitate greater access to knowledge and learning, which are essential in tackling global challenges and achieving the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs). In recognition of reaching the important OA milestone, the company has chosen to invest directly in a project working to improve biodiversity, address localised impacts of climate change and build sustainable communities. 

The cloud forests of Meghalaya, home to the Khasi people, are under threat from rapid deforestation, consequently endangering tree species, household livelihoods and releasing substantial quantities of carbon. 

The project will address deforestation and biodiversity loss but also the poverty facing rural families by working with the ten indigenous Khasi governments in villages across the region. Indigenous tree species, grown in community tree-seedling nurseries run by local women, will be planted as a special initiative within the larger project in the Khasi Hills, India’s first community-based REDD+ programme (the UN’s programme to guide sustainable forestry).

Commenting on the commitment, Frank Vrancken Peeters, CEO of Springer Nature said:

“Reaching the important milestone of one million open access articles is testament to the hard work of everyone across our business who has put in so much effort to bring us this far and so we are delighted to plant a tree for each of our approximately 10,000 staff in recognition of their work and our collective ambition to create a more sustainable future. Around 20% of our workforce are based in India, so we are delighted to support a project in such a beautiful part of the country.

We are committed to supporting the SDGs through our publishing activity. More than half of our published content related to the goals is open access and we expect that proportion to grow. We also want to learn from the research we publish and act on it. In this project our aim is to support climate action, biodiversity and the Khasi communities.” 

Tambor Lyngdoh, Conservation Director, Khasi Hills, REDD+ programme commented: 

“Planting trees helps restore our traditional community forests for the Khasi people and contributes to slowing climate change. The birds and wildlife return, our streams run clear, and the trees and forest brings us new hope for the future.

“The Khasi Hills are a unique place in North East India where ancient beliefs of the value of nature and wildlife are woven into the communities that live here. We are hopeful that this new partnership will develop and bring renewed support, energy and passion for protecting this special place and preventing further consequences of climate change.”