Sustainable Investment in Natural Resources
HMC’s natural resources investment philosophy is to improve all our properties with the aim of leaving them in better condition when we sell them than when we acquired them. Our dedicated approach to environmental stewardship and social responsibility has a tangible and favorable impact on the condition and value of our assets, as well as the communities in which the properties are located.
Harvard's commitment to best practices is reflected in its stewardship of forests—a natural resource that benefits from our careful, professional management. This commitment is reflected in more living trees, longer rotation lengths between harvests, diligent replanting or regeneration of seedlings, richer and healthier ecosystems supporting a wide array of native plants and animals, and safe and rewarding jobs for local people.
When assessing forestry-related ESG risks, HMC reviews country risk reports, obtains tailored information on each country, including analysis of rule of law, and carries out on-site environmental and social due diligence. We also require our timberland properties to come into compliance with and be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the leading global social and environmental certification standard for forestry. The FSC requires members to undergo independent audits to obtain FSC certification, and we view its annual audit system as an important opportunity for continuous improvement in our approach and operations.
100 Million Trees
Since 2005, HMC has been responsible for planting over 100 million trees, in multiple countries, covering a combined area of approximately 300,000 acres. We have also set aside an additional 300,000 acres of land for conservation purposes. We believe this is the largest afforestation project done by a single institutional investor worldwide.
Trees are an effective way to capture and store carbon. New plantations absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and hold it for as long as they persist, which may be in perpetuity. Our 100+ million trees are biologically capable of sequestering approximately 2.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year.
HMC's long-term investment horizon provides numerous benefits to the farmland in which we invest. We expect our farmland investments to work toward and meet certification standards set by GlobalG.A.P. and Sustainability in Practice, non-governmental organizations for certifications in agriculture and vineyards. HMC also works with its managers to implement best-in-class management practices, including progressive labor practices, innovative waste/recycling programs, erosion control measures, comprehensive biological and environmental screening mechanisms, water conservation, and maintaining wildlife habitat and ecosystem diversity.