Q: How Does it All Work?
Our aim is to make it as straightforward as possible for businesses to understand the emissions that they are responsible for and to offset those emissions by committing to join the campaign to fund woodland creation:
- A simple online tool is used by the business to provide data on emissions/activity
- An emissions score is provided along with a cost to plant woodlands to offset those emissions
- Offsets are purchased and Forestry Partners certifies the offsets and details the specific woodland planted
- The member is free to use Irish Tech Goes Carbon Neutral co-branding to promote their participation
- Members can access educational resources and carbon reduction partner supplier offers
We are committed to achieving the highest international standards of forestry management and certification of our activity. In order to achieve these standards, all forest cover we plant must be:
- Permanent – we will use a forestry management practice known as Continuous Cover Forestry (CCF) – our forests will never be cut down.
- Verifiable – we will work with leading national experts as third-party auditors to verify what we are doing and the impact we are having.
- Additional – none of the activity we are doing would otherwise happen, so it can all be considered additional to what would otherwise be the case.
All planting will be audited by third party foresters and results will be published. In the coming months, our online platform will be made available so all members can track their emissions and access educational material. Together we want to not only offset emissions but work to reduce future emissions and minimise the offsets required.
Q: Why Forests in Ireland?
Our goal is not just to offset carbon, but to restore native woodland in Ireland, and foster biodiversity and natural habitats in these areas at the same time.
Ireland has the lowest level of forest cover in Europe – approximately 11% versus a 40% average (source: Teagasc, article.) Ireland also has excessive amounts of commercial forests that focus on planting trees as crops – these are usually Sitka spruce, which are planted because they grow quickly and give a better return for investors. These forests are clear felled (cut down) usually 25 years after being planted, destroying the limited natural forest habitat that has been built up.
We want to do things differently. By planting native woodland and managing it using an approach called Continuous Cover Forestry, we can maximise the growth in the forest while being committing to never cutting it down. This permanence will not only keep the carbon locked up in the trees that grow, it will also foster ecosystems to grow within the forests by providing permanent, safe habitats.
Ireland has committed to using forestry as a way to tackle climate change, but is failing badly in their efforts so far and things are actually getting worse (article).
We want the tech and business community, who are used to ambitious projects and being results-focused, to help get things moving in the right direction.
Q: What Will the Impact Be?
We want to see significant reforestation of Ireland, and the carbon that is generated by the tech sector in Ireland being largely offset by our combined efforts.
We believe we can achieve a commitment from 250 companies in our first year, and are targeting the offset of 25,000 tons of carbon, which would mean planting trees on approximately 200 acres of land in that first year. This will take an enormous amount of work from a lot of people, but we have a brilliant team and partners ready to make it happen. We believe this is a fight that must be fought, and we don’t have a choice – we must win for the sake of future generations on our planet.
Q: How Do We Know it’s Legitimate?
We have formed an expert group comprising some of the leading national forestry, climate change and biodiversity experts in Ireland. We will comply with the highest international standards for woodland creation, carbon sequestration and transparency & reporting. All our certifications, activity and data about our impact will be made available for public review and scrutiny in our annual report.
Irish Tech Goes Carbon Neutral is an initiative created by social enterprise Forestry Partners, with all woodlands that are created being placed in a trust-structure to ensure they will be protected for generations to come.
Q: What’s the Background?
John Beckett founded Forestry Partners in 2019 after researching how he could make ChannelSight carbon neutral, and seeing how many pitfalls and complexities there are in the process. He wanted to leverage his research to enable other companies to follow a similar path in mitigating some of the damage they’re doing to the environment, and buy time for longer-term solutions to the climate emergency to be realised.
John’s vision is to expand the reforestation projects to include other geographic areas outside Ireland, once the projects can be managed with the same level of scrutiny, and ultimately to help technological solutions to be tested and scaled in our ongoing pursuit of making how we live our lives sustainable for the planet.
Q: Why Us, Why Now?
According to the 2019 Climate Change Performance Index Ireland is the worst performer in Europe, and among the worst globally in making progress towards the commitments we made under the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit the worst effects of climate change. This is simply not acceptable to us. There is no reason Ireland cannot be a leader and inspire other nations to do more in the fight against climate change.
There is a saying that the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago and the second best time is today. We are in the midst of a climate emergency and we, as a society, are not doing enough to solve the problem. Everyone should be committed to playing their part in reducing their carbon emissions or offsetting what they can’t reduce, and we want to make it as easy as possible for people to do just that. Together, we can make a real difference and make Ireland an example for others to follow. No other industry has tried this, and no other tech community has come together in this way. Let’s lead the way and inspire others to follow our footsteps to make a real difference in the fight to protect our climate. We don’t have time to waste.
Q: What Next?
First, we need you to commit to getting involved. Appoint a representative from your company to engage with us to calculate your emissions and purchase the offsets from the trees that we plant for you, and we’ll look after everything else - from planting and managing the forests, to proactivity reporting on our activity.