Carbon sequestration – an accessible option to help reach net zero
If you’re looking for a cost effective way to play your part in helping the UK reach its carbon neutral target, what could be simpler than planting some trees as part of a global carbon sequestration programme.
The international Committee on Climate Change has estimated that the UK needs to plant 1.5 billion trees to reach its net zero target.
Planting trees is the biggest and cheapest way to tackle the climate crisis. Trees store pollutants such as carbon and release oxygen into the atmosphere.
Forest carbon sequestration is the process of increasing the carbon content of the wooded area through processes that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere such as photosynthesis. Once sequestered the carbon is stored in the forest within living biomass, soil and litter.
Reforestation adds to the planet’s net carbon storage and helps temper global warming by slowing the growth of carbon emissions in the atmosphere.
In a carbon market, each ton of carbon sequestered is called a carbon credit. Using sequestration, companies can buy or generate these credits, which are then sold or traded by companies to offset their own carbon dioxide (CO2 ) emissions.
Scientists say the effects trees have is far reaching – carbon sequestration can negate the emissions that are pumped into the air by human activities.
So responsible companies seeking to offset their carbon emissions, improve their carbon footprint and overall ethical reputation could do worse than plant trees (and, indeed some plants with similar qualities) on their sites. And if that’s not practical, why not consider investing in reforestation projects elsewhere in the world (where trees might actually grow quicker with more sunlight and speed up the environmental improvement process)?
When we embark on new construction projects with companies or offer consultative advice on sustainable new build or retrofit projects, one of the first things we recommend is tree planting. Our work with developers now always features the inclusion of green space – including trees – at the heart of the project.
Syntegra MD Alan King explained: ‘It’s a quick win – cheap and easy to implement and an obvious environmental bonus before a company even thinks about the broader picture, technicalities and costs of their overall improvement project.
‘Sometimes companies come to us worried about how they can make their organisations more sustainable, how they can improve their carbon footprint. Naturally, there are some big ticket options which might or might not be available to them depending on their turnover and budget. But the environmental value of planting trees for just a few pounds really should not be underestimated.
‘To many people, carbon sequestration sounds like a complex procedure, off limits to small companies in the UK, but when we explain the natural process conducted by the trees themselves, it can be appealing to SME owners as well as corporate entities.’