Environmental charity Trees That Count has partnered with native forestry experts Tane's Tree Trust to launch a CO2 calculator for Kiwi businesses looking to mitigate carbon emissions and give something back to Aotearoa's natural environment.
It complements the Trees That Count marketplace, which enables individuals and businesses to fund and gift native trees online. The native trees are then given free to schools, iwi, farmers and community planters across the country who are looking for more trees to grow their native planting projects.
Since 2016, more than 500,000 native trees have been funded through the marketplace from over 450 businesses and thousands of individuals. Their combined efforts have supported close to 500 planting projects in every region of the country.
The new native tree carbon calculator also adds evidence to the organisation’s wider campaign to get more Kiwi businesses moving away from cheap carbon credits to thinking long-term about supporting a more stable and sustainable environment.
Adele Fitzpatrick, CEO of Project Crimson and the Trees That Count programme, says protecting our native forests is about more than just carbon, it’s also key to the success of many of our country's biggest industries.
"Supporting native tree planting is a really visible way for businesses to do the right thing by the environment and to invest locally," Adele says.
"More native trees in the ground benefits everyone, you’re not only improving air and water quality, you’re contributing to local nurseries and so many of our industries that rely on New Zealand’s clean, green credentials."
New data from research company FOLKL, found 91 percent of people surveyed said they were likely or highly likely to change their purchasing behaviours based on the environmental actions taken by businesses.
"Consumers are absolutely pushing for businesses to make good choices about how they impact the environment, but we’re also working with hundreds of small and large businesses who support native tree planting because they simply want to do the right thing."
Since Kiwis went into lockdown, Adele says there's been a new wave of respect and appreciation for our environment, especially after seeing images from around the world of how different the world appeared in the absence of daily human pollution.
"Native trees can live for thousands of years. Unlike pine, they don't need to be clear-felled and replanted - they keep thriving. Eighty percent of our trees, ferns and flowering plants are endemic. Our unique species are something we're proud of and are part of our identity as New Zealanders," Adele says.
On top of playing a huge part in helping reduce the effects of climate change. the benefits of our native forests are vast. From providing shade for livestock or soil nutrients for food crops, to protecting communities from landslides and even reducing stress.
Adele says she hopes Trees That Count can play a significant part in sustaining our native forests, as well as planting the seed for a new long-term way of thinking when it comes to the future of Aotearoa's economy and environment.