AstraZeneca UK partners with Forestry England and Borders Forest Trust to plant and maintain over one million new trees by 2025

AstraZeneca UK is partnering with Forestry England and Borders Forest Trust (alongside their global partner One Tree Planted) to launch a multi-year programme to plant over one million trees across the country by 2025. This initiative is part of the global AZ Forest programme to plant and maintain 50 million trees worldwide by 2025.

Recognising the connection between a healthy planet and a healthy population, the AZ Forest programme is part of AstraZeneca’s Ambition Zero Carbon commitment to be zero carbon across its operations by the end of 2025 and carbon negative across its entire value chain by 2030. The £1.9 million investment into these partnerships will see over one million trees planted and maintained in locations across England and Southern Scotland.

 “As a company that puts the health of people and our communities at the forefront of everything we do, we are committed to ensuring we do right by the planet. We are proud to work in partnership to accelerate action against climate change, promote biodiversity, and raise awareness of the value reforestation brings to society and human health,” said Professor Jason Snape, Head of Environmental Protection, AstraZeneca. “This reforestation initiative in the UK is an important part of our commitment to plant 50 million trees worldwide by 2025, with planting already underway in Australia, Indonesia and France.”

 “Tree planting and woodland creation have a fundamental part to play in helping tackle the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss we are urgently facing. Resilient woodlands, well-adapted to the changing climate conditions we now expect, will help us capture carbon, improve air quality, alleviate flooding, and create beautiful places for wildlife to flourish and people to connect with the natural world,” said Mike Seddon, Chief Executive of Forestry England. “The commitment of businesses like AstraZeneca is vital in enabling us to plan for the long-term, designing, planting, and caring for woodlands now which will mature and flourish decades ahead. And thanks to this partnership funding, we’re able to focus not only on creating new woodlands but also on helping the recovery of forests affected by tree disease.”

Through Forestry England, planting efforts will initially be focused on Thetford Forest, 30 miles from AstraZeneca’s Cambridge Discovery Centre and global headquarters, and in Goyt Valley, ten miles from the company’s Macclesfield manufacturing site, as both areas have suffered in recent years from the impact of pests and disease. In addition, the partnership with AstraZeneca will support the creation of new forests throughout England as part of an ambitious woodland creation programme being led by Forestry England, which aims to plant at least 2,000 hectares of new, high-quality woodland over the next five years. Importantly, the initiative will deliver positive outcomes for local communities by providing additional green space that can support physical and mental wellbeing, as well as drive efforts to encourage biodiversity. In Scotland, Borders Forest Trust and One Tree Planted will focus on planting 221,000 native trees in two of their ‘wild heart’ sites. Reviving the Wild Heart of Southern Scotland is a restoration initiative to bring back lost habitats, such as native woodlands and montane scrub, to an area with one of the lowest amounts of native woodland in Scotland.

“We are delighted to be working with AstraZeneca UK on an exciting new phase of our native woodland restoration in the south of Scotland. Deforestation of our woodland happened centuries ago, leaving only small remnants of these valuable habitats. Native woodlands bring us environmental and societal benefits, it is therefore essential that we work to bring them back,” saidNicola Hunt, Head of Land Management at Borders Forest Trust. “The support from AstraZeneca plays an important part in making this become reality and will make a significant contribution to the BFT’s work to see native woodland once again clothe the hills and valleys of Southern Scotland.”

The AZ Forest programme will involve local volunteers and AstraZeneca UK employees to plant, monitor, and help maintain woodlands across the nation’s forests which Forestry England cares for. Employees and volunteers will replace dead or damaged trees to ensure optimum tree survival.

As England’s largest land manager, managing and maintaining 1,500 woods and forests, Forestry England is contributing their expertise and resources in creating and caring for woodlands to ensure they are resilient to a changing climate and able to resist pests and diseases. We need thriving future forests for wildlife, people, and a sustainable economy.

By the end of 2021, AstraZeneca UK, Forestry England and Borders Forest Trust will have planted over 400,000 trees, with the aim to plant a further 900,000 over the next three years, bringing the total to over 1.3 million trees by 2025.

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