Lisburn and Castlereagh businesses urged to offset their carbon footprints - plant trees in Africa

September 14, 2021

A cost effective way to becoming carbon neutral in business.

Small and medium sized companies across Lisburn and Castlereagh are being urged to join Northern Ireland development charity, Self Help Africa, in planting a million new trees both here in Northern Ireland and in Africa, while offsetting their carbon footprint.

Self Help Africa NI is seeking support from retailers, small manufacturers and other businesses in the Lisburn and Castlereagh area for the scheme, which provides companies with the opportunity to offset the carbon they generate by planting trees.

The initiative will see trees being planted that could remove more than 20 million tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere every year, for decades to come.

Mayor of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, Alderman Stephen Martin, speaking about this charitable project, said: “Climate change is here and we now all need to work together to slow down the effect of elevated carbon levels on agriculture and food production. We all enjoy sunny weather but our homes and businesses may not be able to cope with predicted high temperatures on a regular basis. We can’t continue to burn fossil fuels and fail to recycle all that we should without speeding up climate change.

“I would encourage our local businesses to work with Self Help Africa NI and offset their annual carbon emissions through the planting of trees in Northern Ireland and rural Africa. We all have a part to play to protect our world for future generations.”

This carbon offsetting campaign follows the hugely successful One Million Trees campaign that saw the Northern Ireland charity plant a million trees in Africa and a further 100,000 new native trees at home in Ireland last year, supported by premium yogurt brand Glenisk.

In this new initiative, Self Help Africa NI will work with businesses to calculate carbon consumption, based on utility bills and other information provided. The organisation will then provide firms with an estimate of the number of trees needed to plant for offsetting purposes, and a plan to meet these carbon targets by planting trees in Ireland and in Africa.  

Tree planting as a means of carbon sequestration isn’t expensive. Self Help Africa NI calculates that each tree planted, once mature, will remove approximately 25kg of carbon from the atmosphere every year, and the total cost for a small business of offsetting its total carbon footprint can be as little as a few hundred pounds a year.

“The campaign will provide local businesses in Lisburn and Castlereagh with the opportunity to not just offset their carbon footprint, as their investment in trees will also benefit rural poor households in Africa,” says Self Help Africa’s Head of Northern Ireland, Denny Elliott.

“For a development charity working in agriculture, tree planting has always played an important part in the work, as trees are a key part of the mix of activities on small-farms, where they provide a source of food, income and much more,” he added.

Trees in Africa are also being planted in large-scale land rehabilitation projects, to arrest soil erosion, and as sources of shade and shelter. Recent planting activities have taken place in Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Malawi and Burkina Faso.

“A tree that is planted anywhere will benefit people everywhere. The fact that we’re planting trees in sub-Saharan Africa, where rural communities who are least responsible for climate change are feeling some of its worst effects, makes this proposition even more attractive to business owners,” Denny Elliott said.

While businesses were already doing a huge amount to reduce carbon production, by reducing waste and recycling, by choosing green energy options, and more, planting trees can allow companies to go that final step.

The organisation has partnered with startup GreenFeet, who provide consultancy services to businesses seeking to devise more comprehensive sustainability strategies. GreenFeet’s easy to use app allows corporate clients to quickly calculate their carbon usage, and reduce their carbon emissions. 

Companies that participate in Self Help Africa’s One Million Trees initiative receive certificates and other collateral to promote the partnership, and will also receive GPS coordinates allowing them to track where their trees have been planted in Africa and share the information with their customers and clients online.

If you are interested in finding out more about offsetting the carbon footprint of your business with Self Help Africa NI, please contact Denny Elliott on tel 07799 346997, by email at denny.elliott@selfhelpafrica.net or visit: https://selfhelpafrica.org/onemilliontrees/carbon-offset/