Bank of Ireland develops first nature-based funding instrument for carbon sequestration, biodiversity and public amenities across Ireland

Pippa Hackett, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Spokesperson for Land Use & Biodiversity. Paul Flynn, Chief Operating Officer Markets, Bank of Ireland. Imelda Hurley, Coillte Chief Executive. John Beckett, Founder, Forestry Partners

  • Woodland Nature Credit provides funding solution for large-scale afforestation projects
  • Connects corporate investment with creation of new, non-commercial native woodlands
  • Robust metrics and verification features align with sustainability reporting standards
  • AXA Ireland finances planting of 600,000 native trees via purchase of €2m of credits

Bank of Ireland has developed a nature-based funding instrument that allows companies to fund large-scale afforestation in Ireland and record the environmental and social benefits of the new woodlands as part of their new sustainability reporting requirements.

The Woodland Nature Credit was developed for Coillte and Forestry Partners to plant native woodlands across Ireland. The first tranche of the new product was announced yesterday with AXA Ireland financing the planting of 600,000 native trees through the purchase of €2 million of credits.

The new native woodlands will provide recreational amenities for local communities while sequestering and storing carbon and creating biodiverse new habitats. The new forests will be planted and managed by a new entity being established by Coillte and Forestry Partners, a carbon offsetting social enterprise. Purchasers of the credits can transparently report on these benefits under the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive. The credit has been designed to be EU Taxonomy compliant and meet the upcoming EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive which will be an auditable requirement for corporates.

Paul Flynn, Chief Operating Officer Markets, Bank of Ireland, said: “We’re proud to have worked with Coillte and Forestry Partners to develop and bring to market this solution, the first of its kind in Ireland, and we’re delighted that AXA Ireland is the inaugural funder. The Woodland Nature Credit will finance the establishment of large-scale new native woodlands in Ireland. In return, the funders will receive an environmental coupon in the form of carbon sequestration, biodiversity uplift and amenity value. The scaling up of nature-based solutions will be critical in the fight to arrest climate change and biodiversity loss. Bank of Ireland has pledged to support the green transition and our determination to bring this innovative funding instrument to market is a clear demonstration of our commitment”.

Coillte Chief Executive Imelda Hurley said: “Coillte is pleased to collaborate with Bank of Ireland in the development of this new funding instrument which will facilitate the business community to play a key role in increasing the native tree cover in Ireland. By financing the planting of new woodlands, there is great potential for businesses of all sizes to play their part in addressing the climate emergency while enhancing biodiversity and providing valuable public amenities.”

Note to editors

The EU Taxonomy Regulation (“EU Taxonomy”) is a classification system designed to help foster greater investment in sustainable projects and investments by providing companies, investors and policymakers with appropriate definitions for which economic activities can be considered environmentally sustainable.