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Ireland, together with the Netherlands, is the joint least forested country in Europe. Microsoft’s forest creation programme, which has been created by Natural Capital Partners working with forestry specialist partners, will lead to 137 hectares of new native forest over the next two years. The planting will make a significant contribution to Ireland’s goal of generating new native woodland in line with the country’s 2014-2020 Forestry Programme.
The programme is the largest corporate commitment to new forest creation in Ireland in a decade, funded through Microsoft’s carbon fee. The launch of the programme generated interest amongst a number of Irish publications. Here is a review of the headlines.
Microsoft pays €1,000/ha top-up for trees: Farmers who enrol in the programme will receive a €1,000 per hectare supplementary payment from Microsoft, on top of the existing government grant of roughly €5,000 per hectare.
Tech giant Microsoft gets into the Irish native trees business: The programme will concentrate on native trees, such as Pedunculate Oak, Downy Birch, Common Alder and Scots Pine, and will help Ireland meet its national greenhouse gas emission reduction targets by sequestering 35,600 tonnes of carbon over 40 years. That’s equivalent to removing 7,500 passenger cars from the road for one year.
Microsoft to subsidise tree planting: Planting will begin on sites in Cork, Kerry and Galway during April and May, with the remainder taking place in 2018. In total, trees will be planted across 137 hectares of land - an area approximately the size of 200 football pitches.
Microsoft tree project: Stephen Killeen, Natural Capital Partners CEO, said: “This programme is a powerful example of the continual evolution in business climate leadership and the types of intervention that will become increasingly critical to delivering long-term positive impact on both emissions and the world’s natural capital.”
Published in the Irish Examiner on 12th May (print only)
You can view Microsoft’s original press release on our website here.