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Sainsbury’s hits 3 millionth tree milestone

Sainsbury’s Group chief executive Mike Coupe unveils a plaque to mark the occasion.
Sainsbury’s Group chief executive Mike Coupe unveils a plaque to mark the occasion.

Our partnership with Sainsbury’s has reached an historic milestone, as the three millionth tree planted through the relationship was put in the ground.

The tree was planted at a special event on 20 December at Langley Vale Wood, Surrey, with Mike Coupe, Sainsbury’s Group chief executive and Judith Batchelar, Director of Sainsbury’s Brand, in attendance, as well the Woodland Trust’s chair Baroness Young of Old Scone.

Langley Vale is England's First World War Centenary Wood and a fitting location for the three millionth tree, as Sainsbury’s is the lead funder of the Centenary Woods project, which is creating a living woodland memorial to the conflict in each UK country.

Commenting on the achievement, Mr Coupe said: "We’re really proud to have reached such a huge milestone in our partnership with the Woodland Trust. As the charity’s largest corporate partner, we’re committed to raising awareness of the importance of the UK’s woods and trees, and contributing to their conservation. I’m delighted that we’ve been able to invite colleagues from across our business along to Langley Vale to see how the money raised helps to benefit the Woodland Trust."

Over 440,000 local volunteers have been involved in planting the trees across the UK, undertaking nearly 17 million hours of planting. Take a look at the video below to see what happened at the three millionth tree planting event:

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A regiment of trees

As well as the three millionth tree, Sainsbury’s helped us to plant a unique ‘regiment of trees’ at Langley Vale. 68 trees have been planted in total, with battalions of beech, silver birch, field maple and white beam planted in rows to represent the 20,000 soldiers who were inspected by Lord Kitchener, Secretary of State for War, close to the site in January 1915. Interspersed among the trees are stone soldiers standing ready for inspection and paying silent tribute to all those affected by the war.

A number of Sainsbury’s colleagues attended the event, including Epsom store colleague Charlie Sonnex, who dedicated one of the three million trees to his great grandfather, who served in the Battle of the Somme.

"I am proud that Sainsbury's is supporting the Woodland Trust and I will come back and visit my tree in 50 years,” Charlie said.

What can three million trees do?

Three million trees can do an awful lot, including:

• Cover the equivalent of roughly 3,000 football pitches or 48,000 tennis courts.
• Provide enough space for up to 300 hedgehog territories.
• Mitigate more than 750,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
• Stretch more than 1,700 miles if planted in a line – greater than the distance from London to Moscow.

Charlie Sonnex, Baroness Young, Mike Coupe and Judith Batchelar with the special tree.
Charlie Sonnex, Baroness Young, Mike Coupe and Judith Batchelar with the special tree.

A growing partnership

Our largest corporate partner, Sainsbury’s has raised a staggering £7 million for our work and the relationship has gone from strength to strength. Take a look at the special video Sainsbury's has produced to celebrate the three millionth tree:

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The Trust and Sainsbury's first joined forces back in 2004, with the launch of Woodland Eggs. These are laid by hens that are free to roam under the shelter of trees, where they feel safer and produce better quality eggs as a result.

For every 12 eggs sold, Sainsbury’s donates 1p to the Trust. 13 years on, they’ve sold 3.8 billion eggs and counting. Such was the success of the partnership, Woodland Chicken and Turkey were launched a few years later and the retailer also gives donations from the sale of several other products.

As well as Centenary Woods, Sainsbury’s took the lead on our award-winning Jubilee Woods project, donating £1.5 million for the creation of 60 new woods to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

Sainsbury’s support has allowed us to achieve a lot. As well as planting three million trees, we have:

• Provided 25,000 Free Tree Packs for schools, helping children connect with nature.
• Demonstrated the benefits of trees on farms and provided over 400 of Sainsbury’s farmers with planting help and advice.
• Raised awareness of the importance of the UK’s woods and trees.

Commenting on the partnership, Baroness Young said: “We would like to thank Sainsbury’s for their dedicated support of the Woodland Trust. The UK desperately needs more trees, so to have planted three million through this partnership is a phenomenal feat. That many of those trees will serve to commemorate those affected by the First World War makes the achievement all the more special.”

Thank you Sainsbury’s

The Trust is extremely proud of our partnership with Sainsbury’s and to have reached such a significant milestone as the three millionth tree. Thank you to everyone at Sainsbury’s and its customers for making this possible.

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