December 5, 2016|By John Nelson

I am proud and excited that American Licorice Company is investing in the environmental health of California—where the company has operated and prospered since the 1920s—by conserving Northern California forests through The Conservation Fund. I strongly believe that corporations have a responsibility to offset their environmental impact, and by partnering with The Conservation Fund we are also getting to ensure that future generations of Californians and Americans will have beautiful, pristine forests to enjoy, like my family and I have throughout the years.

JNelson PreservationRanch BuckeyeForest California StephenJoseph009Through its Working Forest Fund, The Conservation Fund purchased the 20,000-acre Buckeye Forest (formerly known as Preservation Ranch) and will sustainably manage the land for timber, carbon sequestration and restoration of coho salmon habitat. Photo by Stephen Joseph.

As a California kid I spent a lot of time outdoors, with the bay and surrounding forests as a backdrop to a large part of my life. My dad was an avid sailor and he loved camping, which meant I spent a lot of time in the forests surrounding the bay area. To this day, every year, I take my four sons camping in the woods to disconnect from our hectic lives, and get back in touch with nature.

JNelson familyJohn Nelson and his family enjoying the outdoors. Photo courtesy John Nelson.

Growing up near the San Francisco Bay area of California also means that I have witnessed how important conservation and stewardship are to the community. I saw the bay go from a dump full of garbage and waste, to a much healthier ecosystem. Over time, as environmental programs and awareness became more prevalent, the bay made an amazing transformation. It is great to see how much good the environmental movement has done for the San Francisco Bay, and many other places in our society as well. Transformations like this would not be possible without organizations like The Conservation Fund, which are instrumental in protecting and nurturing our Earth’s green spaces.

The recent commitment from American Licorice Company will support conservation and restoration of the Fund’s Garcia River Forest, which spans 24,000 acres in Mendocino County, California. In addition to trapping carbon, these forests are safeguarding important biodiversity and wildlife, like the endangered northern spotted owl. The forests also protect the surrounding watershed, including streams and rivers that are home to endangered species such as coho salmon and steelhead trout. 

JNelson GarciaRiverForest California WhitneyFlanagan147A northern spotted owl in the Garcia River Forest. Photo by Whitney Flanagan.

We are proud to support The Conservation Fund’s carbon programs and to help the Fund protect these forests. This is important for the air we all breathe, the water we drink, and the economy the local community depends on.

JNelson GarciaRiverForest California MatthewGerhart007The Garcia River Forest is a working forest. The Conservation Fund bought it to protect it from conversion to vineyards or other development and timber is sustainably harvested to support the local economy while at the same time restoring the forest and protecting animal habitats. Photo by Matthew Gerhart.

As I looked over a list of other companies also partnering with The Conservation Fund, I was excited to recognize the name of C&S Wholesale Grocers—a company within the supply chain that delivers our products to consumers. As COO of the American Licorice Company I have seen firsthand that investing in sustainability matters through every facet of our business practices and helps to strengthen the relationships with have with all of our stakeholders – from employees to customers and from the retail store all the way through the manufacturing supply chain. Our vision for the sustainability aspect of our business is to make every effort to reduce our footprint when and where possible – and when it is not possible to seek conservation solutions that will offset the remaining impact. As a company we want to find solutions that can provide lasting and positive impacts. Little does a customer know that when he or she purchases a tray of Red Vines candy, that both the manufacturer and a wholesaler like C&S are investing in our shared environment and reducing their carbon footprint. It is great to be joining partners like C&S in supporting The Conservation Fund’s efforts to offset our carbon footprint.

Hopefully, as time goes by, all companies will take up the cause of conservation within their businesses, and join us in protecting the environment. I believe that, together, leaders in their industry and in their trades will be a significant piece of the solution in solving some most urgent and challenging issues we face for our planet.