HSBC UK has donated £4 million to the National Trust to fund the planting of two million trees.
It is the largest environmental donation of its kind made to the National Trust. The four-year project is part of the fight against climate heating. It will provide homes for nature and, by planting the right trees in the right places, will offer those living in urban areas access to new, nature-rich woodland.
The new woodlands will cover an area equal roughly to the size of the town of Worcester. They will lock the carbon equivalent of removing 15,000 cars from the road each year.
The gift is part of HSBC’s new Climate Solutions Partnership, which aims “to unlock barriers to finance for companies and projects that tackle climate change”.
Planting in England, Northern Ireland and Wales
The funding will enable the creation of woodland and carbon-rich habitat in Wales and Northern Ireland, with sites currently being identified, as well as areas in England that include Killerton in Devon, Wallington in Northumberland, Dunham Massey in Cheshire, on the Buscot and Coleshill Estate in Oxfordshire, and at Wimpole, Cambridgeshire.
20 million tree target
The National Trust plans to become net zero by 2030 in terms of carbon. It has committed to planting and establishing 20 million trees, which will cover an area the size of Birmingham.
The mass tree planting projects will engage local communities and offer HSBC staff the opportunity to contribute alongside National Trust staff and volunteers.
Michaela Wright, Head of Corporate Sustainability, HSBC UK, said:
“We believe nature-based solutions can provide a third of the global climate mitigation needed by 2030, protecting nature as well as meeting people’s needs.
“Our ambition is to leverage our financial expertise with the knowledge and experience in scaling solutions of our global partners, to open the door for National Trust to explore new areas of agroforestry management and how nature-based solutions are being implemented to tackle the climate crisis internationally.”
National Trust Director-General Hilary McGrady added:
“This donation offers so much more than just tree planting. By creating these woodlands, we hope to see further benefits by allowing the landscape to regenerate naturally and without the need for so much intervention by way of tree planting in the future. Nature has a way of healing if we can just give it a chance.”
To establish 20 million trees by 2030 will cost £90 million in total, so the Trust is appealing for more donations to help it achieve that.
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