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A tree-mendous campaign: planting 10,000 new trees across the UK

01 May 2019


Being determined to make the world a better place to live means sometimes getting your hands dirty. Just ask the team at Octopus Energy, who are mucking in on a mission to plant 10,000 trees around the UK.

We know renewable energy plays a vital role in combating climate change, promoting cleaner air and improving lives. That’s why Octopus Investments is the UK’s largest investor in solar power, and why all of Octopus Energy’s tariffs use 100% green electricity.

Investing in renewable energy infrastructure is a crucial part of the solution. But local, grassroots efforts can make a big difference, too – especially when it comes to improving the air we breathe in the short term.

Nature’s air fresheners

The positive effect that trees have on the air we breathe is pretty incredible. Trees clean carbon dioxide from the air, and can even soak up traffic smog. If that sounds like an abstract benefit, it’s not: poor air quality is responsible for over 40,000 premature deaths in the UK each year. There’s never been a better time to protect our trees – and plant more of them.

An ambitious challenge

Octopus Energy has taken on the challenge to plant 10,000 native trees – from wild cherries to weeping willows – in towns, cities and villages across Britain.

The trees Octopus Energy are planting will absorb on average 2kg of carbon once they’re fully grown. When all 10,000 are planted, our atmosphere will be cleaner by more than 20 tonnes of CO2 every year.

The team asked Octopus Energy customers to nominate schools, charities, and community organisations who would benefit from a bundle of native saplings – and the nominations flooded in. From Cornwall to the Shetland Islands, 600 groups have been nominated and are now planting their own mini-woodlands.

Now, Octopus Energy team members are hitting the road to help some of these local groups get started, joined by former Blue Peter gardener, Chris Collins, and Jess French, host of CBeebies’ Minibeast Adventure.

Tree-planting heroes

The campaign kicked off in Southampton, where pupils from Sarisbury Infant School got digging in their school grounds. With help from the Octopus Energy team and Jess, they planted a fantastic mix of native trees including aspen, crabapple and rowan. On top of making their air cleaner, the junior tree planters are hoping to attract minibeasts to their new woodland.

Meanwhile, in Walsall, the team headed to the Society for the Blind, which is situated on a main road. The centre’s staff and users spent a day planting trees chosen by gardener Chris specifically for their multi-sensory appeal, such as those with interesting scents or textured leaves and bark.

So, as well as having cleaner air to breathe, the centre’s users now have a mini-woodland designed specifically for their sensory needs.

The roots of change

The campaign’s impact goes way beyond improving air quality. The ambition is to help inspire new generations to care for their local environment and take action on climate change. The new trees promote biodiversity and create spaces for children to play and connect with nature.

In fact, trees give us all a calmer, healthier environment that makes being outdoors even more enjoyable.

This project is just one example of the ambitious steps we’re taking at Octopus to help make the world a better place for generations to come. We’ll continue to set the bar high, aiming to do everything we can to help create a healthier, greener planet, 10,000 trees at a time.