I had the opportunity to attend a unique event last week, in the timber-growing region of our state mid-way between Columbus and Macon. There, just outside the town of Buena Vista in Marion County, are a couple thousand acres of loblolly and sand pines being preserved as part of the Keeping Forests in Forests program. The event was to celebrate that program’s first year and the 7,816 metric tons of carbon those trees have sequestered.
Living in the overly-paved environs of Atlanta, it can be easy to forget that Georgia ranks second only to the state of Oregon in forested acreage. Paper and pulp and timber are leading state industries – and in fact, more than 300 acres of forest are cleared each day in Georgia to support those industries and for development.
But trees, and especially pines, are also very good at cleaning the air. Unfortunately, there has been little incentive historically for tree growers not to cut or sell their trees. Keeping Forests in Forests is working to change that. Last year, as the program launched, the six EMCs in the Power4Georgians coalition provided $250,000 to participating forest managers to keep their forests as forests. This year, an independent environmental sciences consultant confirmed that those trees had sequestered more than 7,800 tons of carbon.
So what does not cutting down trees have to do with public relations? Quite a bit actually. Almost every business and organization our agency works with is working to do something besides their “core business.” And most of those non-core business endeavors are focused on doing good – helping the community, local schools, the environment. Our job is to help our clients tell those stories too – of assistance provided, scholarships funded or, in this case, carbon sequestered.
The fact is, every organization has a lot of good stories to tell. The business story has to be a priority of course, but it is often the side stories – the quiet philanthropy or employee volunteer program – that are compelling for customers. Just as a good biography reveals details about a person you might not otherwise have known, good public relations helps people learn important aspects of your organization – and we are always proud to help raise awareness of the good work our clients do.