Bristol businesses urged to plant a tree per employee to help city fight climate change

November 20, 2019

A campaign has been launched to encourage Bristol businesses to plant a tree for each member of their staff, linking to a wider ambition to double the city’s tree cover as a way of tackling air pollution and fighting climate change.

If all businesses in the city took part in the One Tree Per Employee campaign it would help grow a quarter of a million new trees. 

The campaign, which aims to achieve this target by 2030, has kicked off now to encourage Bristol firms to buy trees for the 250,000 employees in the city as Christmas presents.

It is the first initiative launched under the banner of Replant Bristol, which has brought together the Forest of Avon Trust, Bristol City Council, the Bristol Tree Forum and the Woodland Trust to build on the success of the city’s One Tree Per Child scheme. Since 2014 that campaign has resulted in 58,000 trees planted.

The new campaign will contribute towards achieving the target set in the council’s One City Plan of doubling the city’s 600,000-strong tree canopy cover by 2046.

Experts believe the canopy needs expand massively to help combat climate change and air pollution, protect and enhance biodiversity and promote health and wellbeing.

One Tree Per Employee builds on the Talking Trees campaign launched last year to raise awareness of the benefits of urban trees by inviting citizens and businesses to pledge their support for doubling the canopy cover.

Global architecture practice BDP, which employs 70 staff in its Bristol studio, is the first business to sign up to the One Tree Per Employee scheme.

Associate landscape architect and urban designer Daniel Stewart Smith said: “As landscape architects and urbanists, we understand the value of trees and the benefits they offer to our urban environment, so we’re excited to take part in the campaign.

“We’re proud to have a strong base in Bristol and wanted to do something a bit different to give back to our staff and the city, so buying One Tree Per Employee was the perfect opportunity for us to do that.”

Other businesses already backing the scheme include Bristol-headquartered international environmental consultancy Eunomia and Bristol-based ethical PR firm Greenhouse.

Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees has urged Bristol businesses to take part, pointing out that trees are key to the city tackling air pollution and fighting climate change.

“We’re calling on Bristol businesses great and small to get involved in the project this Christmas and help us achieve our bold ambition of planting a quarter of a million trees by 2030,” he said.

Deputy mayor for communities Asher Craig added: “Trees add colour and life to our urban spaces, improving health and wellbeing while creating natural wildlife corridors and reducing pollution.

“We want Bristol’s fantastic businesses, whether they employ one person or one thousand, to collaborate with us to help shape our beautiful green city. Imagine what it will look like if we all work together.”

Businesses can get involved in the scheme by:

  • Visiting and donating £10 to plant a tree for every employee.
  • Planting trees for employees on their own land.
  • Buying trees for staff to plant in their gardens.
  • Donating land to Replant Bristol for planting.
  • Volunteering.

A recent report showed that the city’s urban forest:

  • Stores 360,000 tonnes of CO2 each year (a major factor in climate change)
  • Removes 14,000 tonnes of CO2 each year, equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions of 9,000 cars.
  • Removes 100 tonnes of air pollution annually (worth £1.6m to the economy)
  • Soaks up 90,000 cubic metres of water, helping prevent flooding
  • Provides shade in the increasingly hot summers.

As well as pioneering the One Tree Per Employee scheme, Replant Bristol will enable Bristolians to adopt, plant or sponsor a tree, become tree champions, take part in volunteering opportunities and sign the tree charter.

Schools and community groups can apply for free tree packs from the Woodland Trust who also offer advice and support to landowners too.

One Tree Per Employee has been inspired by the One Tree Per Child campaign, which launched in 2014 and has since led to 57,000 trees being planted, with 6,000 trees continuing to be planted annually. 

The Woodland Trust owns and manages Bishops Knoll woodland on the outskirts of Sneed Park. The Forest of Avon Trust is part of a national programme of community forests across England and has helped plant more than a million trees in and around Bristol. It also runs a range of projects such as woodland wellbeing and forest school programmes and is training volunteers to survey Bristol’s trees.

The Bristol Tree Forum is a group of volunteers dedicated to increasing the tree canopy cover in Bristol.

Bristol City Council is responsible for protecting trees and managing trees on public land.

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