Royal Mail Group Employee Tree Planting Scheme

21 January 2008

Already 130 employees from Royal Mail, Post Office Ltd and Parcelforce Worldwide have signed up to the newly launched scheme to give money direct from their wage packets to the Woodland Trust, which will enable the charity to plant and look after 2,500 trees in its 1,000 UK woods.


To find out how many trees the employees would have to plant to offset their annual carbon footprint and to get tips about how to reduce their emissions they used a new carbon calculator called Ollie.


This calculator, developed by Royal Mail, asks employees about their home energy usage, as well as car and air travel before estimating how many trees will need to be planted to help offset their carbon footprints.


This is the first time a company’s employees have ever been given the opportunity to offset their residual carbon emissions tax free through their wage packets to a charity which specialises in UK woodland creation.


Now Royal Mail has launched the scheme internally the company has gifted the carbon calculator to the Woodland Trust, which is challenging other businesses to follow Royal Mail’s example and offer their employees the opportunity to help offset their carbon footprints.


Clare Allen, Head of Corporate Partnerships at the Woodland Trust, said: “The excellent start this scheme has had with Royal Mail shows its employees are eager to do their bit to help the environment and reduce their carbon emissions. The Woodland Trust would like to thank them for their support and Royal Mail for gifting this carbon calculator to the charity. We further would like to challenge other businesses to offer this carbon offsetting opportunity to their staff. “


“Planting trees creates vital habitats for more species than any other, it also traps pollution, generates oxygen, stabilises soil and forms a stunning part of our landscape.


And yet woods are scarce, with only 12% of the UK wooded, compared to 46% on average in Europe . While it will take decades for the trees to absorb and so offset carbon emission created today, the fact that you get a multiple package of environmental benefits makes our offset product worth buying on many grounds. We are aware tree planting is not the solution to climate change. But we do believe it can play a role once people have reduced and continued to reduce their carbon footprints.”


The scheme is the brainchild of Dr Martin Blake, Head of Sustainability at Royal Mail Group, who sees it as a way employees can make a difference by reducing their carbon emissions.


He said: “With some 185,000 employees we have a great opportunity to raise awareness in our workplace and through our people and more widely into their homes and communities. This unique product provides our people with the opportunity to ethically and appropriately offset their residual carbon emissions in what is the final step in a process of reduction. What we’re doing is spreading the word about a sustainable environment, not just giving people a way to offset. This new scheme clearly demonstrates the relationship between the amount of carbon you’re creating, and what it costs to offset it. The result: people have an interest in reducing. We are particularly keen to partner the Woodland Trust because woodland creation is more than just trees, It’s about creating habitats for wildlife and green spaces for people which will, ultimately, be self-sustaining.”


Royal Mail staff are no strangers to giving to charity though their wage packets, which is called Payroll Giving. Royal Mail was among the first organisations to set up payroll giving in 1989 and its scheme is one of the largest in the UK . The calculator is being promoted directly in the workplace by representatives from Payroll Giving in Action, who help employees to do calculations and fill out pledge forms.


About 50,000 staff are currently signed up to payroll giving and during the last financial year gave more than £2.6 million to charitable causes.

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