Dove Plans to Restore 20,000 Hectares of Forest in North Sumatra

The project will protect endangered species and reduce carbon emissions.

farmer in north Sumatra
A farmer in North Sumatra.


In honor of World Environment Day on June 5, beauty brand Dove has just announced a partnership with Conservation International to protect and restore 20,000 hectares of forest in North Sumatra, Indonesia, over the next five years. This is an area of land twice the size of Paris, and it is home to some of the world's richest biodiversity.

The Dove Forest Restoration Project is expected to capture more than 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the air and prevent the release of over 200,000 tons of CO2e emissions. The habitats of many endangered species, including the Sumatran Tiger, Sunda Pangolin, Sumatran Clouded Leopard, Malayan Tapir, Black Sumatran Langur, and Sambar Deer will be better protected as a result of this project. Reforestation efforts will reduce the number of floods and landslides that harm the region.

It will improve the quality of life of 16,000 residents of the South Tapanuli and Mandailing Natal districts in North Sumatra, and, as explained in a press release, strives to "promote the sustainable management of natural resources in ways that improve the livelihoods of the local communities."

The Sunda pangolin that lives in the region Dove will be reforesting.


The reforestation project will be implemented in accordance with carbon mitigation strategies set out by Indonesia. In the words of M. Sanjayan, CEO of Conservation International, 

"When a brand like Dove puts climate change and nature at the heart of its purpose, the impact is game-changing. Together, Dove, Conservation International and Indonesia’s leadership will build on the work we have started with Unilever to protect and restore this region, its wildlife, and support its communities. I look forward to continuing to create conservation success together in Indonesia. Investments like the Dove Forest Restoration Project are essential to changing the trajectory of the planet for the next generation."

This project is the first step in Dove's parent company Unilever's broader promise, made in June 2020, to protect and regenerate 1.5 million hectares of land, forest, and oceans within a decade. It has allocated an impressive $1.2 billion to these efforts in the form of a Climate & Nature Fund that aligns with the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

Rice fields in Sumatra
These rice fields on the banks of Marancar river in Batang Toru watershed in Tapanuli Selatan, North Sumatra, still get plenty of water, but villagers have had to convert many other rice fields to dry crops due to reduced supplies of fresh water resulting from upstream deforestation.

Conservation International

This, said Sunny Jain, president of Beauty & Personal Care at Unilever, is "more land than is required to grow the renewable ingredients in our beauty and personal care products." The company's long-term goal is to have a deforestation-free supply chain by 2023 and net zero emissions from its products by 2039, eleven years ahead of the Paris Accord deadline.

"Can we really celebrate beauty if it comes at the cost of the planet?" asked Alessandro Manfredi, global executive VP of Dove. "The answer is no. We must demand action and care that goes further, both from ourselves and from the beauty industry at large... The Dove Forest Restoration Project builds on our commitments to caring for our planet and caring about how we make our products and what goes into them."

As a major player in the beauty industry, if Dove can do it, so can others big and small.