STAFF from Aldi have planted 16,000 trees in Limerick as part the German retailer's pledge to reduce its carbon footprint.
The workers were joined by Minister of State for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform Patrick O’Donovan at the new plantation which is located at Rockfield, Crecora.
The initiative is the latest step in Aldi’s Carbon Reduction Pledge, which saw Aldi achieve Carbon Neutral status at the beginning of 2019.
The new plantation of native Irish woodland will help to encourage local flora and fauna while aligning with the Government’s aim to plant 22 million trees a year until 2040.
It is estimated the 16,000 trees will remove as much as 150 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over a 15-year period.
A further 84,000 will be planted over the remainder of the five-year initiative, with the next planting phase to take place within the next 12 months.
Speaking at the event, Deputy O'Donovan said he was delighted to be invited to plant one of the trees.
"The Government has recently laid out our priorities under the Climate Change Agenda. This includes a major emphasis on planting millions of trees across the country. It is important that companies and individuals play their part to help reduce the amount of carbon we emit, so this initiative by Aldi is very welcome."
John O'Reilly, CEO of Green Belt, which coordinated the event added: "Aldi’s co-funding of the establishment of native woodland sites is an extremely innovative step and is one of the first of its kind in Ireland. This could herald a new chapter for Irish forestry, with corporate Ireland helping Ireland to establishment new native woodlands by recognising, valuing and compensating land owners for the Ecosystem Services provided by these woodlands.”
Commenting on the initiative, Aldi Group Buying Director John Curtin said the launch of the plantation is an important initiative for the retailer
"This particular project supports our Carbon Reduction Pledge - we can look to what we are creating here today and how it will grow as we plant 100,000 trees over the next five years. When we return here in twenty years’ time, we will find a natural woodland, bursting with wildlife,” he said.
Earlier this year Aldi signed up to the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, taking on a number of initiatives to help Ireland’s native flora, fauna and bees. Aldi has already begun educating staff and encouraging suppliers to join them in promoting biodiversity, and this new woodland plantation is the next major step in fulfilling the goals set out by the plan.
Aldi has signed up to the Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI) Low Carbon Pledge, committing to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by the year 2030.