Aviva becomes a Carbon Partner of the Woodland Trust with a £10m donation

Yellow Hammer Bird
Photo credit: Yellow Hammer - John Bridges
  • Aviva announces a £10 million donation to the Woodland Trust to support its Woodland Carbon Scheme as it celebrates its 50th anniversary
  • The funding aims to deliver carbon removal, boost air quality and improve biodiversity through woodland creation and peat restoration
  • Donation will fund projects that will remove approximately 330,000 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere - equivalent to the emissions created by one person taking over 300,000 transatlantic flights*

Aviva announces a £10 million donation to the Woodland Trust to support their Woodland Carbon Scheme which will deliver carbon removal and biodiversity improvements through woodland creation and peatland restoration.

The projects will occur across the UK at a number of Woodland Trust sites including three ‘Hero’ sites:

  • Green Farm, Norfolk – a site close to Aviva’s Norwich offices that will be transformed into a mosaic of broadleaf woodland, wood pasture, grassland and hedgerows. The project will preserve pingo ponds providing habitat for the super-rare northern pool frog. Pingo ponds are a very rare type of pool created by glacial movement. They are specific to Norfolk, home to the largest density in the UK.
  • Snaizeholme – one of the boldest projects in the Yorkshire Dales – creating one of England’s biggest new native woodlands as part of a large habitat restoration project in the Yorkshire Dales, to include upland blanket bogs, limestone pavement and riverside meadows. It will improve ecological connectivity by establishing natural corridors which link habitats together, support the local population of red squirrels, as well as delivering multiple benefits for water quality, reducing flooding and storing carbon.
  • Smithills, Lancashire – restoration work on the edge of Bolton, the largest site the Woodland Trust has ever acquired in England, which will rewet the peat bogs that lie across the highest points of the estate. This will not only remove further carbon over time – an estimated 8,885 tonnes of carbon by 2040 – but also help prevent the spread of wildfires, an increasing risk as a result of climate change.

The project sees Aviva partner with the Woodland Trust, the UK’s largest woodland conservation charity which manages over 1,000 sites across 29,000 hectares. The Trust focuses on three key aims: to protect woods and trees, preventing the loss of habitat and carbon stores; to restore ancient woodland, re-establishing ecosystems to improve landscape resilience; and to create quality native woods by planting native trees to benefit nature, climate and people.

The donation - part of Aviva’s £100 million commitment to remove carbon from the atmosphere using nature-based solutions - builds on the donations Aviva made in the last six months to the Wildlife Trusts in the UK and The Nature Trust in the Republic of Ireland. It also supports Aviva’s ambition to make the UK the most climate-ready large economy.

Over the next 100 years, the projects funded by the donation are expected to store at least 330,000 tonnes of carbon, the equivalent to the emissions created by one person taking over 300,000 transatlantic flights1. The sites will begin removing carbon as early as 2026 and will help contribute to the mitigation of residual emissions associated with Aviva’s carbon footprint and forms part of Aviva’s ambition to be Net Zero by 2040.

Claudine Blamey, Aviva Group Sustainability Director, said:

Climate change and biodiversity loss are interdependent issues and crucial to the long-term sustainability of our planet. That is why we are delighted to partner with the Woodland Trust on this project, helping make the UK the most climate-ready large economy

“Both Aviva and the Woodland Trust are focused on a better future for our planet, people and biodiversity. Climate change and biodiversity loss are interdependent issues and crucial to the long-term sustainability of our planet. That is why we are delighted to partner with the Woodland Trust on this project, helping make the UK the most climate-ready large economy.”

“Our £10 million donation over the next five years will not only help to remove carbon from the atmosphere but will also improve biodiversity. Our woodland creation projects will improve nature corridors, support red squirrels which are under threat, improve water quality and slow the flow of ground water in periods of flooding. The peatland work will rewet and restore bogs so that they can switch from emitting carbon to removing it and help prevent wildfires which we are seeing more of in the UK as a result of climate change. The sites will also deliver improvements in the local community by helping to improve local air quality and create new reserves that people can enjoy for free.”

Darren Moorcroft, CEO at the Woodland Trust, said:

We are sure this will raise the stakes across the sector and encourage more businesses to consider their responsibility to future generations

“Aviva's investment in nature-based solutions in the UK is a very welcome and significant act which will deliver for people and wildlife, contributing to tackling the nature and climate crisis in parallel. We are delighted that Aviva shares our philosophy of the right tree in the right place which is a vital component in ensuring we build landscape resilience, as well as protecting our woodland species which are tragically in decline.

“Aviva could have opted to offset its emissions abroad for as little as £5 per tonne, but we price our carbon credits at around six times that, reflecting the true cost of acquiring land, establishing a resilient native habitat and managing it effectively for the long-term. We are sure this will raise the stakes across the sector and encourage more businesses to consider their responsibility to future generations.”

All Aviva employees can take three days paid volunteering leave every year and they will have the opportunity to use their volunteering leave at Woodland Trust venues including the hero sites that are part of this project.

-ENDS-

Sources:

* Calculated using BEIS GHG conversion factors of 0.19kg/CO2e per passenger km

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