Identifying ways in which Chamber businesses of all sizes and types can easily engage on a ‘green’ level is part of our organisation’s focus. Appreciating our natural environment and supporting work to preserve and future- proof it are all part of that awareness. Andy McCutcheon from Guernsey Trees for Life explains more.

Walk through the trees on the meandering paths around Fermain or the Val des Terres and it becomes instantly clear how much of a feel good aspect they contribute to our island life.

Enjoying the green, car-free headland at Pleinmont or exploring the walking trials in the Talbot Valley are all popular with residents and visitors (when they are able to travel) so the importance of the natural environment is high in Chamber’s mind.

As part of that focus, we are working with Guernsey Trees for Life to identify ways in which our members can easily support their work and be a tangible part of local sustainability efforts. Chamber has its own Sustainable Business Initiative and also adheres to a strong sustainability ethos in its everyday working and business framework.

We reached out to Andy McCutcheon at Guernsey Trees for Life to investigate whether corporate tree planting could provide a valid platform through which Chamber could add to its sustainability efforts. It is also good for the health of our residents as data has shown that being surrounded by trees and green space leads to blood pressure and heart rate dropping and stress levels reduce.

Guernsey’s willingness to take a ‘broad brush’ approach to nature and the environment, as well as sustainability, has resulted in it being aligned with UN goals in particular areas. The benefits that trees bring have been helping some locations to meet 15 of the 17 internationally support UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Guernsey Trees for Life is a registered charity which aims to plant 500 native and naturalised species of trees yearly on our island on well-considered sites.

‘We’re passionate about preserving our local environment, so everyone benefits from more woodland. Seeing trees planted by the local community is a wonderful scene too,’ said Andy.

The organisation is mindful that we live in an era in which influence from people have altered Earth’s fundamental systems. Trees are
a foil for some of those effects. They have been shown to promote health and social wellbeing by removing air pollution and are also useful in combatting some of the effects of climate change. They

are also invaluable habitat areas for wildlife, stabilise soil and the canopies can provide a physical filter, trapping dust and absorbing air borne pollutants. More than 20 species of British trees and shrubs are also know to have medical properties.

Mature oak trees have been found to be home to 500 different species, including insects and fungi.

On a sustainability level, they are part of a UK plan to reach net zero emissions. While technological solutions are still at an early stage, trees are a readily available way to contribute toward achieving net zero emissions and come with the added benefits of supporting wildlife, flood management, health to name but a few.

England has recently committed to creating a new forest “the size of Birmingham” having recognised their value for society as a whole and to reverse deforestation, coupled with removing carbon from the atmosphere.

Guernsey Trees for Life plays an active role in our island community, organising tree plantings, including for schools and by promoting the benefits of trees and how we can maximise them. Chamber will be working closely with the charity going forward to enable a ‘value added’ sustainability aspect for our membership.

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