We’ve been planting trees up and down Britain since 2015, all thanks to our customers who enjoy 100% renewable electricity with us and have 5 new trees planted for each year they’re green. Last year we hit a massive milestone, with over 500,000 trees planted in the three years since the scheme began, and winning an award for the Best Tree Planting Partnership 2018. I Dig Trees isn’t some corporate-tickbox tree planting scheme held in a faraway place – it’s designed to make a real difference to where you live.
Every year, we enable thousands of volunteers and community groups, to get their hands dirty and breathe fresh, new life into your cities, parks and schools. The new trees mean a reduction in CO2, improving local green spaces and encouraging wildlife to set up home.
Here’s a summary of what went down last tree planting season 2017-2018...
Not a Greener customer? Add on some green!
Do your bit for the planet with 100% renewable electricity, available through our flexible Green Electricity upgrade. For every year you’re green, we’ll plant 5 trees in the UK on your behalf.
Since May this year, we’ve been offering our customers the chance to make their gas supply greener with our Green Gas upgrade.
For just £5 a month (fixed fee), we’ll make sure that 50% of your gas usage is from renewable sources while the remaining 50% is offset through projects protecting 500,000 hectares of threatened CO2-absorbing forests around the world.
What a great year it’s been for us and our green customers – not only hitting our 500,000 trees milestone but being recognised with our first award win for the scheme.
See it in action
Friendly competition, high fives, and forests in the making… watch this group of volunteers get muddy planting 1,000 trees on one chilly day in 2016.
Our inspiring partners
We're proud to be working with The Conservation Volunteers (TCV). Every day TCV works across the UK to create healthier and happier communities for everyone – communities where their activities have a lasting impact on people’s health, prospects and outdoor places.
The leafy lowdown
Year on year, we’ve certainly had a lot to shout about! Download our I Dig Trees reports to get to the root of our achievements.
Ofgem won’t let any energy company call its plan ‘green’ unless it’s making a positive environmental impact. That’s something beyond buying renewable electricity certificates – the paperwork that proves we buy the equivalent amount of renewable electricity for every unit you use.
Instead of looking at this as an obligation, we see it as an opportunity to do something new and exciting. Something that adds value and impact for our customers who choose 100% renewables.
There are many ways to meet what the energy industry calls ‘the additionality requirement’. Some companies choose to plant trees overseas – but our customers have already helped us protect 100,000 acres of at-risk rainforest through our partnership with Cool Earth. So when we asked them what else they’d like as part of their ‘green’ plan, they said they want positive impacts on people and the environment, right here in the UK.
We then got to work designing a programme and finding partners to help support local organisations and local volunteers improve their local green spaces. The result? I Dig Trees.
The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) helps people reclaim local green places through environmental projects. And we’re working with them to deliver I Dig Trees.
TCV tells us that right now, one third of the UK's green places are in danger of being lost or degraded. And they’re on a mission to safeguard and improve theses spaces – that’s your local parks, school grounds, river banks and community areas.
So far, this brilliant organisation has helped hundreds of thousands of people each year to reclaim local green spaces. Through their own environmental projects and a network of over 2,000 community groups, TCV puts people back in the driving seat, taking responsibility for their own local environments right across the UK.
The green spaces we use and enjoy day-to-day are vulnerable. In fact, an estimated 10,000 playing fields were sold off between 1979 and 1997.
Places like these don’t have any kind of special protection – and the bad news is that they’re all under threat right now. Why? Because local councils are having to do more with less – which means cutting budgets for ‘non-essentials’ like caring for green spaces.
TCV believe that neglecting green spaces is a false economy. And we agree with them – it doesn't take long for a once-much-loved park, or other open space to change. By neglecting our green spaces, we risk letting them become magnets for anti-social behaviour and a cost to society and the environment. So spending a little on safeguarding, protecting and looking after these places now, might save our stretched councils much-needed ££££s in the longer term.
I Dig Trees, and the work of TCV in general, is about much more than just caring for nature. A looked-after green space is not only a ‘home for wild things’, including critical pollinators like bees; it’s also a sponge for CO2, an asset to local communities and an impactful project for local volunteers.
It depends on the tree, its location and its lifespan. UK native deciduous broadleaf trees – the varieties we’re planting – do a particularly good job. The carbon-counting professionals at Carbon Footprint say:
"The amount of CO2 a tree will offset depends on many factors, such as the type of tree, where it is planted and the amount of room it has to grow. On average, one broad leaf tree will absorb in the region of 1 tonne of carbon dioxide during its full life-time (approximately 100 years)."
We hope I Dig Trees will make a hugely positive impact, both in terms of society and CO2. But quantifying CO2 impact isn’t a simple equation, because trees make a positive difference over their entire lifetime and existing methodologies are designed for large forests.
The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) are experts when it comes to finding green spaces to plant in the UK – and urban spots are top of the list. That’s because these places make the greatest difference to local communities.
TCV put down roots in places like:
Local primary schools.
Old people’s homes.
Housing association land.
Local secondary school or adult education colleges.
Parks, in partnership with local authorities and parish councils.
Private land with public access (like popular footpaths, with the landowner's consent).
Absolutely. Volunteering is at the very heart of I Dig Trees because:
Local organisations know what’s best for their green spaces.
Doing good for others is also good for us.
In fact, a research review published in BMC Public Health showed that people who volunteer have a 22% lower mortality rate than those who don’t. So it’s good news that we’re planning to create 37,000 volunteering hours this year.
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