Sponsorship: support nature’s comeback in the UK

Sponsorship is a way of directing funding to nature without transacting carbon. This option is for organisations that don’t need to purchase carbon credits to support their sustainability strategy but still want to play a role in nature’s comeback. 

In the UK specifically, it has the potential to have a big impact. CONTACT US to discuss your organisation's specific needs, or read on to learn why!

Unlocking the UK’s mini woodlands through sponsorship

The most established way of attracting private funding for woodlands in the UK is through the voluntary carbon market. To do this, a land manager typically obtains Woodland Carbon Code certification for their woodland. This is because the Code is highly trusted by buyers which makes it more likely that they will invest in the project. 

The Woodland Carbon Code (WCC) is endorsed by the Government, woodland managers, carbon market specialists (including Forest Carbon - we helped to develop it!) and the ICROA, the international body representing carbon reduction and offset providers in the voluntary market. 

However, certification costs can be prohibitive for smaller woodlands because they are fixed irrespective of project size, meaning that costs can outweigh any potential revenue. Additionally, some land managers are hesitant to sell their carbon because they are unsure whether they’ll need it for supply chain requirements in the future. 

These blockers are preventing woodlands (typically smaller ones under 10 ha) from being planted. And in the UK, there are a lot of smaller plots of land in areas that would be ideal for woodland. This doesn’t sit right with us, and we know it won’t sit right with you either! 

Our back-of-the-envelope calculations estimate that in the past year, we could have facilitated the planting of well over 53,000 extra UK trees (48 ha) if we had a well-funded offering in place.

A young Rowan tree grows safely inside its tree guard.

Why should businesses choose sponsorship?

Sponsorship is a fantastic way for organisations to support nature’s comeback, not least because of the impact it will have, but also because of the fantastic story it allows them to tell their stakeholders. 

Make sponsorship claims

While you won’t be able to make net zero or neutrality claims, you could communicate that you have helped to “fund a 4ha riparian woodland in The Scottish Borders which is improving water quality to critically endangered freshwater pearl mussels and Atlantic salmon populations, and helping local communities by mitigating the effects of flooding.”

Take responsibility for turning an amber project green

If you sponsor a woodland, you can tell your audience that you have supported an innovative nature project that wouldn’t otherwise have gone ahead without you. You will be performing a crucial role in helping these particular types of woodlands go ahead; woodlands which were specifically chosen by Forest Carbon for the co-benefits they will provide.

You see, woodlands aren’t just about increasing the number of trees in our landscape. It’s also about all of the amazing co-benefits that thriving nature delivers. We only pick projects that will deliver one or more of the following: 

What quality assurance measures are in place?

Quality assurance is essential in our field; no organisation wants to be caught in a greenwashing scandal, and we certainly don’t want to waste valuable nature funding. Drawing on the team's combined 55 years of experience, we have developed a set of guidelines to ensure these projects meet their impact objectives.

Site visits to determine the health of woodland and stocking densities

Forest Carbon will periodically visit these woodlands during the establishment years to ensure proper management practices are followed and the correct number of trees are planted. If we find the woodland's development unsatisfactory, we will collaborate with the land manager to address the issue and get the project back on track.

Collaboration with trusted partners

We know what it takes to create a woodland of the highest integrity. The most crucial factor is a dedicated and passionate team committed to excellence. Over the years, we have established an extensive network of farmers, tenants, land managers, and foresters, and we collaborate with those who have a proven track record of cultivating thriving woodlands.

Incentivisation through staggered payments

In addition to partnering with individuals who understand the vision and are dedicated to maintaining high standards, we will financially incentivize effective woodland management by staggering payments. The initial payment will be made only after the planting is complete and proof is provided. A second payment may be issued following a successful site visit and survey in year 5, contingent on our ability to sell the sponsorship rights.

Now that you understand what sponsorship is, and why it’s important, it’s a good time to reach out to us to talk specifics. We can discuss whether sponsorship is right for your organisation, what your objectives are, and what projects we have that would align with them. Get in touch now.