At our American Snuff Company (ASC) facility in Clarksville, T.N., our employees planted 7,500 trees on five acres of ground, making a significant impact on the environment and community. The massive project led by the ASC Clarksville Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) and Sustainability Teams ensured all employees across all shifts had an opportunity to participate in the week-long planting activities.
Why is planting trees so important?
Planting a substantial number of trees on previously barren lands is one way to establish new forests, known as afforestation. This method has been known to increase carbon capture, meaning it prevents the release of CO2 (a greenhouse gas known to advance climate change), and contributes negative carbon emissions. On top of that, studies show that afforestation is known to increase soil quality and prevent desertification, making it an increasingly favorable approach to fighting climate concerns. Employees got their hands dirty planting a wide variety of mixed hardwood species, including Oak, Ash, Poplar, and some fast-growing pine species, to provide protection from the wind for the young hardwoods and add even more biological diversity to the forest. One of our scientists, Amy Fehrenbach, helped lead the initiative. “Through our research, we knew we wanted to plant trees with long lifespans and deep roots that will last far beyond our lifetime and be a valuable part of the ecology here in Clarksville.” She continued, “We also wanted to ensure that we promote a diverse forest ecosystem on the property and avoid the ‘monoculture that frequently occurs in new-growth forests.”
The Clarksville initiative
Lee Smith, one of our Environmental, Health, and Safety(EHS)managers, who helped to plan this venture, was overwhelmed by his fellow employees’ support of the project. “I fully expected the participation and engagement would be at a high level, but I didn’t expect that so many people would be on board with this in the way they were. It felt wonderful to see so many people engaged and positively impacting our environment.”Clarksville’s efforts further our progress on Environmental Excellence, a pillar of our ESG goals. The employees also displayed an inspiring embodiment of our company ethos, collectively acting as responsible stewards of our land.The Clarksville team hopes this planting creates a thriving forest ecosystem that will serve as erosion control and support future ESG initiatives such as habitats for bees, an employee garden, and composting initiatives.