Description/achievement of initiative
Under the name of Hyundai Green Zone project, Hyundai Motor Company volunteered to halt the desertification and protect the ecosystem in Inner Mongolia, China. Since 2008, Hyundai Motor has been continued the restoration effort and turned 90 km2 of infertile desert into grassland in China, making it the largest restoration for a single area in the world. The company takes a social responsibility for desertification as a result of human impact, making efforts to achieve SDGs goals which are aimed at taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts and promoting sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems.
The desertification of Asia is worsening every year. In Asia, especially China and Mongolia, land becomes a desert each year. The vicious cycle of grasslands and forests disappearing due to excessive grazing, cultivation, picking of medical plants, climate change, and so on is leading to the drying of water, which in turn causes desertification. The Hyundai Green Zone project is conducted in the region of Qagan Nor, Neimenggu, which is a representative region of China desertification. Qagan Nor, which was once a giant lake that was divided into the east and the west, has almost dried up completely, becoming a dry desert.
In order to make this into green grassland, Hyundai Motor Company has planted Suaeda, an annual halophyte that grows well even in alkaline soils. It grows in highly alkaline soil with PH 9-11 at the source of alkali yellow dust. Suaeda plant cannot only block sand and yellow dust after certain growth but also change soil quality, allowing other plant species to take root. Like the acacia or pine tree, the Suaeda grass takes root in a barren land, turning the soil condition more favourable for plant growth. Afterward, when other species have propagated and the alkali concentration has fallen, then it undergoes natural extinction.
Therefore, the team decided to proceed with the restoration efforts using the Suaeda grass and have conducted research on its effects with the researchers at Inner Mongolia Normal University. Planting grass instead of trees will protect the soils, preserve the grasslands from desertification, and restore the grassland ecosystem. Also, Hyundai Motor Company has conducted a sand-protecting barrier task by making walls with tree branches so that the grass seeds will not fly off in the wind. After successfully planting grass, Hyundai Motor Company is now in the phase of planting perennial plants. This area is a great example of grassland ecosystem restoration and the success of this project is a new milestone in preventing desertification in China.
Arrangements for Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer
In order to stop desertification and protect the grasslands, a good understanding of the local ecosystem and the participation of local people are required. Although a pastoralists understanding of the grasslands is based on their tradition, it can be difficult for pastoralists to fully grasp what is happening in the area, how to address the root cause of desertification, and how to restore and preserve the grasslands. Hyundai Motor Company is actively encouraging local farmers to participate in the project for sustainability. In the first year of sowing, the local people did not participate much, but the ratio is increasing each year. The effective area is over 4.46281 km2. After sowing, local cultivators were educated to spread sowing techniques and were helped to sow in small lakes nearby. In addition, seedlings were harvested and planting experiments were conducted to make better planting experiments. The experiences gained by pastoralists for many years of sowing, observing, and harvesting seeds have been reflected in the improvement of sowing technology and improvement of machinery. Even if the official project support is terminated, it will become the foundation of knowledge and skills that can be continued by the locals. In addition, some of the funds needed for the sustainability of the local people can be covered by the sales of Suaeda grown in the large area and the use of seed medicine. For global cooperation, an important element of achieving the SDGs goal, Hyundai Motor Company has also created a venue for cooperation with local farmers by providing projects such as conversation with local farmers, livelihood experience.
Coordination mechanisms/governance structure
Hyundai Motor CompanyGreen Move is intended to work by fostering eco-leaders, promoting environmental education and supporting conservation campaigns both inside and outside of Korea. In particular, the Hyundai Green Zone project considered a big part contributing to the global society. Hyundai works in close partnership with Ecopeace Asia, which specializes in eco-peace making and nature conservation movement for a sustainable Asia. Ecopeace Asia is participated in international governance groups and officially registered with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
Hyundai Green Zone cultivated Suaeda grass in the Qagan Nor region by harvesting an indigenous plant that is found locally prospers in barren desert soils. As a result, Inner Mongolia of the highly alkaline desert was transformed into a vast green grassland. This project was especially meaningful because a high multitude of people participated as volunteers. (Total 3,318 people, average 370 people per year) Students of the Happy Move Global Youth volunteer team visited every year and to participate until the projectcompletion, and the employees of the Chinese corporate body, as well as Chinese citizens and college volunteers, chose to volunteer as well. As the hearts and goodwill of the volunteers joined together by silently planting grass seed in the sweltering heat and rough sandstorms, the desert gradually began to turn into a flourishing grassland.
Hyundai Motor Company has been carrying out the first project from 2008 to 2012, provided a total of 950,000 USD and planted a grass which grows well on the alkaline soil in Qagan Nor-Lake. With the efforts of the Hyundai Motor Company, 50 km2 of dry land, equivalent to 60% of the western lake area transformed into green grasslands. Hyundai Motor Company constantly use drones to conduct on-site inspections to measure changes and impacts.
Hyundai Motor Company was selected as No.1 CSR company in China in 2017 by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Hyundai Green Zone has been recognized as the "BEST 50 Public Benefit Brand (3rd place)" by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences for the third consecutive year and has been recognized for its value. This is a result of highly evaluating fundamental natural ecological restoration efforts by the desertification prevention project which is different from other companies
Hyundai motor company, Beijing Hyundai Motor Company, Eco peace Asia , Abaga Qi People Government, China Youth Center for International Exchange