An innovative reforestation and rewilding programme will enable UK SMEs to purchase affordable woodland as part of their efforts to offset carbon and tackle climate change.
Scottish-headquartered holiday rentals business ClearWater Retreats has launched the new offering following the acquisition of disused farm land in Stirlingshire, which the company plans to transform into an eco-friendly, net zero rural retreat.
Through the ClearWater Reforestation and Rewilding Programme, 50 acres of non-arable land on the site will also be replanted with trees and divided into small holdings which companies can purchase as a means of offsetting carbon emissions. Wildflower meadows and ponds will also be created to attract bees, insects and other indigenous forms of wildlife, further contributing to carbon sequestration.
The new initiative is aligned to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimate that 20% of agricultural land will need to be released before 2050 to support emissions reduction and carbon sequestering objectives.
Through ClearWater’s partnership with Scottish Woodlands, carbon capture on the site will be independently registered, validated and verified under the UK Woodland Carbon Code.
With minimum-sized Reforestation Plots of 2,500 square feet available for purchase, this innovative use of the redundant farmland is designed to make it viable for smaller SMEs or individuals to contribute towards net zero. Buyers are also granted legal ownership and access to their holdings under a protective Deed of Conditions that effectively enshrines the land as forestry in perpetuity and safeguards it from any future commercial development whatsoever.
ADP Architecture, an employee-owned practice founded more than 50 years ago, is among the first SMEs to acquire one of the new ClearWater Reforestation and Rewilding holdings. With a local studio in Edinburgh, ADP is a thriving global architectural firm focused on creating positive places for people, communities and the environment. The practice has eight locations across the UK, Cyprus and India, and chose to get involved in the scheme to actively support their values of sustainability, belonging and engagement.
Stephen Miles, ADP’s Managing Director, said: “Our engagement in the ClearWater Reforestation & Rewilding Programme is part of ADP’s ambition to implement meaningful action to contribute towards net zero. We were struck by this innovative carbon offsetting programme and its credentials, which aligned with our wider framework of establishing a tangible ESG strategy across our business. It reflects an acknowledgement of the need to address carbon emissions across the UK construction sector.”
ClearWater has also announced it will further expand the Reforestation and Rewilding Programme across its property portfolio, with plans to acquire up to 5,000 acres on suitable residential farm sites that have ceased productive farming, across the UK over the next three years.
Andrew Montague, CEO of ClearWater Retreats said: “Our new Reforestation and Rewilding Programme will return abandoned, non-arable farmland to its natural habitat. By parcelling this into smaller, affordable packages we are creating an ideal opportunity for SMEs to make a tangible contribution to net zero.
“Our alignment with IPCC goals to return once intensively farmed lands back to native woodland is key in addressing ‘greenwashing’ concerns as it reassures purchasers that the carbon offset from their holding is making a difference exactly where it is needed.
“Following today’s launch in Scotland, we aim to significantly develop our Reforestation and Rewilding Programme across the UK as we expand our property portfolio. This will support the requirements of small businesses across the UK as they increasingly look to adopt impactful green measures and offset their environmental impact. The programme also further promotes ClearWater Retreats’ ethos of combining our offering of luxury breaks with a strong commitment towards environmental stewardship and sustainability.”