Aviva Ireland provides €5 million funding to The Nature Trust

Two men in high grass, one with a shovel

Aviva Ireland has announced that it has provided €5 million in funding to the Nature Trust, a not-for-profit company backed by Coillte and Forestry Partners, to help accelerate its native afforestation project. The funding, the largest the Nature Trust has received to date, will result in the planting of approximately 1.2 million native tree saplings, creating 400 hectares (almost 1,000 acres) of new native woodlands across a number of sites throughout Ireland. To put this in context, this is equivalent to the size of over 560 Aviva Stadium pitches. The planting season for the new woodlands will begin this winter and continue over the coming years.

The native woodlands created will provide carbon sequestration – removing and storing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air and so helping to address climate change.  In addition to the carbon removal, it will enhance existing and degraded biodiversity and create new biodiverse habitats, as well as providing free access to all for improved wellbeing and recreational amenities.

The woodlands will be made up of a mix of native trees that are best suited to each location, with species such as oak, birch, holly, alder, rowan, hawthorn, guelder rose, blackthorn and hazel. The new woodlands as they grow will provide habitats for wildlife, for example, native mammals such as red squirrels, pine martens, foxes, and badgers. They will also benefit many species of insects and pollinators and provide food, shelter, and nesting sites for birds, enhancing the biodiversity required to thrive. These woodlands will have free open access and will provide a space for the public to connect with nature, exercise and enjoy outdoor activities

According to a Central Statistics Office’s report* issued last April, Ireland has currently one of the lowest levels of tree cover in all of Europe, with 11.6% forest cover but under 2% of our country’s land under native woodland. However, this initiative will contribute significantly to national afforestation targets, and to Ireland meeting its climate commitments.

Commenting Declan O’Rourke, CEO, Aviva Insurance Ireland said: "Sustainability is of strategic importance to us as a business, from purchasing renewable electricity for our offices in Ireland since 2011 to the funding we are providing today.  Climate change is a systemic risk impacting society, businesses, our business and our customers.  No single company can tackle climate change alone and so we are looking to work in partnership with others.  Funding afforestation is one of the many ways that we will positively impact communities and provide environmental and recreational benefits to the public, whilst creating a legacy for our customers, communities, and the environment. What better and more tangible way of doing this than investing in the planting of new native woodlands in communities across Ireland? There are 1.2 million families in Ireland**, the same amount of trees that this project will yield, so it’s wonderful to think that our children and grandchildren will be able to enjoy these woodlands in the future.

"Today’s announcement of our €5 million funding is also about removing carbon emissions from the atmosphere and taking another step towards our net zero goal which will be delivered in a clear and accountable way that contributes to tackling the related challenges in biodiversity and nature, ensuring that our focus is also targeting broader ecosystem resilience. We have a history of leadership in this space and were the first global insurer to become carbon neutral in our operations in 2006 and we know that offsetting is simply not enough. Avoiding adding more CO2 to the atmosphere is necessary, but we also need to start looking at further projects that start to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Nature-based removal projects take time to start absorbing carbon, so we are supporting projects now to help our net zero goals of 2030 in our operations and supply chain and our 2040 goal for underwriting and investments."

Virginia Lawlor, Chief Financial Officer, Aviva Life & Pensions added: "Last year Aviva announced its ambition to become a net zero business by 2040, ten years ahead of the Paris Agreement. This encompasses all areas of our business, including our operations and supply chains where we are targeting net zero by 2030, and our investments and underwriting, which have a target date of net zero by 2040. To achieve this ambitious goal, we are looking to have an all-electric company car fleet by 2025 as well as a cut of 25% in the carbon intensity of our investments by 2025 and of 60% by 2030 from a 2019 baseline."

Ciarán Fallon, Managing Director of the Nature Trust said: "The Nature Trust welcomes this major funding from Aviva as we are facing a twin climate and biodiversity crisis and this initiative responds to both. This is a significant step forward in our mission to increase the level of native woodland cover in Ireland on a large scale. We are delighted to work with Aviva, who have a strong track record in the area of sustainability. These new native woodlands will be managed for nature with public access in perpetuity, for the benefit of people, nature and climate."



* https://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/ep/p-aa/afforestationarea2021/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email&utm

** https://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/ep/p-cp4hf/cp4hf/fmls/#:~:text=Families%20and%20children,increase

Further information

  • The landcover of the Aviva afforestation project will be the equivalent to over 560 Aviva Stadium pitches.
  • Aviva Ireland employees will volunteer their time to this project and will embark upon tree planting during the planting season.
  • Local communities will have full public access to these newly developed forest locations with the positive impacts felt in communities across Ireland.

Media Enquiries

Anne Mathews, Communications & PR Manager
087 246 0358

Notes to editors:

  • We are the UK's leading diversified insurer and we operate in the UK, Ireland and Canada. We also have international investments in India and China.
  • We help our 19.2 million (as at 31 December 2023) customers make the most out of life, plan for the future, and have the confidence that if things go wrong we’ll be there to put it right.
  • We have been taking care of people for more than 325 years, in line with our purpose of being ‘with you today, for a better tomorrow’. In 2023, we paid £25.6 billion in claims and benefits to our customers.
  • In 2021, we announced our ambition to become Net Zero by 2040, the first major insurance company in the world to do so. We are aiming to have Net Zero carbon emissions from Aviva’s operations and supply chain by 2030. While we are working towards our sustainability ambitions, we recognise that while we have control over Aviva’s operations and influence on our supply chain, when it comes to decarbonising the economy in which we operate and invest, Aviva is one part of a far larger global ecosystem. There are also limits to our ability to influence other organisations and governments. Nevertheless, we remain focused on the task and are committed to playing our part in the collective effort to enable the global transition. Find out more about our climate goals at www.aviva.com/climate-goals and our sustainability ambition and action at www.aviva.com/sustainability
  • Aviva is a Living Wage, Living Pension and Living Hours employer and provides market-leading benefits for our people, including flexible working, paid carers leave and equal parental leave. Find out more at https://www.aviva.com/about-us/our-people/
  • As at 31 December 2023, total Group assets under management at Aviva Group were £376 billion and our estimated Solvency II shareholder capital surplus as at 31 March 2024 was £8.5 billion. Our shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange and we are a member of the FTSE 100 index.
  • For more details on what we do, our business and how we help our customers, visit www.aviva.com/about-us
  • The Aviva newsroom at www.aviva.com/newsroom includes links to our spokespeople images, podcasts, research reports and our news release archive. Sign up to get the latest news from Aviva by email.
  • You can follow us on:
  • For the latest corporate films from around our business, subscribe to our YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/aviva

      More from our Newsroom