Over the next year AXA has said it will offset more than its entire annual carbon production caused by the company’s insured private motorists in Ireland.
It will spend €6m on the plan across the Republic and Northern Ireland.
The investment will provide €2m to finance the planting of 600,000 trees across 200ha around the country.
It will allocate €4m in funding for wind, hydro- and solar-based projects designed for carbon offsetting.
Tree planting will commence in October of this yea and it has been calculated that the programme will offset the equivalent of 1m tonnes of CO2.
AXA will not buy land for the purpose of this project, but will be providing the finance for the programme, an AXA spokesperson said.
These new native woodlands will be developed over the coming years as public amenities
It will partner with the carbon offsetting social enterprise, Forestry Partners and Coillte to create a new non-profit entity for the native woodland planting programme.
The programme will be managed by Ecologi which supports carbon offsetting projects across the world, and which works with partners like the Eden Reforestation Project.
Pippa Hackett, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture said the plan “demonstrates the seriousness with which the corporate world is now beginning to address the climate and biodiversity crisis, and shows the ability of large companies such as AXA to make a difference”.
These new native woodlands will be developed over the coming years as public amenities for the benefit of communities, public health, and the environment for generations to come.
The funding for the planting programme will come via Woodland Nature Credits, which was developed by Bank of Ireland for this project.